Hen that Stole the Corn, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Hen that Stole the Corn, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 840109.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): story.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): unavailable.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 07/11/1983.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): evening class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

A king required his subjects to tell him stories – and if they couldn’t, he took their heads off. This man told the king that his father had had a field of corn, and one day a hen came and took a mouthful of corn, took it to the far end of the field and ate it, and then came back to where the corn was being harvested, took another mouthful, took it to the far end of the field and ate it… and so on for four days on end. The king asked him if he was ever going to come to the point, and the fellow said to him, ‘Look how much more corn there is for the hen to eat!’ – whereupon the king told him to stop already, enough with the hen and the corn.


This story clearly operates from the same premise as the Scheherezade legend, and represents an international tale-type, AT 2301, ‘Corn carried away a grain at a time.’