The Gist: A rooster and a hen travel to the hill that has the best nuts but are too tired to walk all the way home so they bully a duck into pulling them home in a nut carriage. Along the way they meet a needle and pin and give them a ride. The group stops for the night at a tavern where they torment the innkeeper.
I feel that when you read something you should have some kind of reaction. You love it, hate it, it made you think, laugh, etc. I have no idea how to react to this tale except to be puzzled by it. It raises so many questions for me, the biggest one being: Why are a needle and a pin traveling?! Someone explain this to me, please. Are they there for any other reason than the rooster and hen use them to inflict pain on the innkeeper?
And what is this story supposed to convey? As far as I can tell the point of this tale is to warn against associating with traveling roosters and hens. Or to warn against late night travelers. Because apparently either one will cause you trouble.
I would love to hear your reactions to this tale. Share your thoughts in comments.
For more information about this feature, check out the “A Grimm Year” main page.
- The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, 3rd Edition translated by Jack Zipes (Bantam, 2003)