A Woman and Her Hen

A Woman wanted two rather than one egg a day from her Hen. She overfed the Hen which caused the Hen to stop laying eggs entirely.

Set bounds to our desires and content ourselves when we are well.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A woman possessed a Hen that gave her an egg every day. She often pondered how she might obtain two eggs daily instead of one, and at last, to gain her purpose, determined to give the Hen a double allowance of barley. From that day the Hen became fat and sleek, and never once laid another egg.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection (The Woman and The Fat Hen)

A Woman had a Hen that laid an egg every day. The Fowl was of a superior breed, and the eggs were very fine, and sold for a good price. The Woman thought that by giving the Hen double as much food as she had been in the habit of giving, the bird might be brought to lay two eggs a day instead of one. So the quantity of food was doubled accordingly, and the Hen grew very fat, and gave over laying altogether.

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

A good woman had a hen that laid her every day an egg. Now she fancy’d to her selfe, that upon a larger allowance of corn, this hen might be brought in time to lay twice a day. She try’d the experiment; but the hen grew fat upon’t, and gave quite over laying.


He that has a great deal already, and would have more, will never think he has enough ’till he has all; and that’s impossible: wherefore we should set bounds to our desires, and content our selves when we are well, for fear of losing what we had.

1001Avara et Gallina

Vidua habebat avem, quae ei quotidie unum pareret ovum. Largius ergo istam incepit alere, existimans fore ut, abundantius nutrita, duo pareret ova. Avis contra, nimiis alimentis facta obesior, ne unum quidem, ut antea, eniti potuit ovum.


Qui maiora concupiscunt, parva quae possident saepissime solent amittere.

Perry #058