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Added on 29th June 2020

Oral tradition English folktale

Also known as Chicken Licken or Chicken Little, this story follows a worried little chicken and a band of friends who are in for a very bad day indeed.


One day Henny Penny is pecking corn in the farmyard when – whack! An acorn falls on her head. She believes that the sky is falling and decides to go and tell the King. On her way to the King she meets many animal friends like Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Lucky, Goosey-Loosey and Turkey-Lurkey. Then Foxy-Loxy offers to show them a short route to the King and one-by-one they head underground…

Why we chose it

Henny Penny was one of the stories chosen for our World Stories project with St Ebbes School in 2016. It is a great story to tell with small children with lots of repetition and opportunities to join in.

Where it came from

This English version of the famous story started as an oral folktale. The earliest example of the basic story is twenty-five centuries old and found in India in the Jataka Tales where a hare spreads panic after a fruit falls on him, teaching that everyone needs to think for themselves.

Where it went next

The story has been told in a number of picture book versions including the Ladybird Well Loved Tales.

In 2005 Disney released the loosely adapted science fiction animated film Chicken Little where this end-of-the-world fear is more justified.

The fable is also mentioned by band Aerosmith in their song “Livin’ on the Edge.” (1993)

Associated stories

The ending of this fairy tale, and the characters’ names, change from country to country. The story is just as popular in America and Australia where the main character is called Chicken Little.

Added on 29th June 2020

Oral tradition English folktale