The Vain Cockerel, an Allegory

welsummer_cockerelThe sun was hardly a stain on the horizon when a handsome leghorn woke to discover that he was not the only rooster in the chicken coop.

He quickly surmised what had happened because things like this had happened before.

The farmer had been out drinking and playing cards all night – and apparently won a cockerel – which he tossed over the fence in the dark.

‘Well,” he thought out loud as he kicked dust across the chicken coop, “it’s time to show who is who and what is what.”

The cockerel had the same idea and the two met in the middle.  There they circled and sized the other up. The leghorn was larger. He noticed the difference immediately.  He was also older and thereby more experienced. The newcomer on the other hand was nothing but flash, although he did possess a certain appeal.

As the two swaggered about, the cockerel flipped his orange comb forward over one eye and squawked to the hens watching from the sidelines, “Ain’t I beautiful?”

The hens merely rolled their eyes and clucked their disapproval.

“Vain is a better word for it,” the leghorn sneered.

The cockerel then commenced to crow:

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“I AM BEAUTIFUL!”

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DOWNRIGHT GORGEOUS!”

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“AIN’T I ABOUT AS GORGEOUS AS A BIRD CAN GET?”

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This bragging went on until an upstairs window in the farm house slowly creaked open and the twin barrels of a shotgun poked over the sill. “If you roosters know what is good for you,” the bleary-eyed farmer shouted, “you’ll shut up!”

But the cockerel ignored him.

Instead he directed his attention toward the smallest and most hen-pecked of chickens. “Just look at these feathers,” he blustered, “did you ever see such color?”

She hadn’t.

Not only that but she hadn’t been so flattered in years and the attention almost brought her to vapors. When she recovered, she preened her feathers and fluttered her eye lids in time with the rapid beat of her heart.

The leghorn was incensed. “Can you honestly believe this guy?” he mumbled.

The barnyard chickens could not – though they thoroughly enjoyed the show.

The cockerel continued to work on the little hen by mostly crowing about himself. “Check out the length of these wings,” he cried, stretching himself out to his fullest.

Another hen-pecked chicken, who was a friend of the first, checked him out and concluded that he was the dreamiest thing she ever saw. This hen appreciated confidence in her beaus and was more than willing to overlook over confidence.

The leghorn was beside himself. He could not believe that something so tawdry and ridiculous could be so appealing – and the hens, the ones he knew his entire life, were falling for it.

“He’s not all that special,” he crowed, “he’s a cad and a braggart and just no good.”

“I concede he is correct,” the cockerel admitted, with false modesty, “I am no good….” Then he spread his wings and lifting himself onto the tip of his claws, threw back his back head and let loose an ear-splitting cry.

I..AM..THE..GREA-A-A-A-A-TEST!”

The bedroom window banged open.

Shut up,” the farmer yelled, cupping his ears and rocking his head back and forth in agony, “and this is your last warning.”

After the farmer flopped back onto his bed, the leghorn suggested. “You might want to consider humility, you’ll live longer.”

“Nobody is more humble than I,” the cockerel insisted “and of all my virtues, that’s got to be my best – but as for living longer, I’m not scared of the farmer, he’s just a shaky little man with an old shotgun.”

“Not scared!” one of the hens exclaimed.

“Not in the least,” the cockerel bragged.

“Will you protect us when he comes with his hatchet?”

“You betchya, I will,” the cockerel blustered. “You have nothing to fear.”

“You’re lying,” the leghorn cried.

“Humph,” declared an old hen, “Where were you, Mister leghorn, when the farmer was stealing our eggs?”

“And where were you?” clucked another, “when he was selling our chicks?”

“Ladies,” the leghorn cried, “be reasonable.  We’re chickens, it’s just the way it is.  He gets the eggs and chicks and we get ground corn. That’s how it works.”

“Maybe, that’s how it works for you,” the old hens scolded.

The cockerel stepped into the squabble. “You got a pretty good deal going here…but tell me, how did a chicken as old as you get feathers so white?”

The question flabbergasted the leghorn.

“I am thinking bleach,” the cockerel said.

“I never….”

“Girls,” the cockerel jeered, “can you smell what I smell?  Gotta be bleach.”

YOU ARE A LIAR!” the leghorn cried.

The cockerel merely wiggled his tail feathers to the delight of the crowd.

“Bleachy, bleachy, bleach,” he taunted.

YOU ARE LYING!

“Everything I say is the truth,” the cockerel stated with absolute confidence.

YOU ARE A LYING LIAR, WHO LIES!” crowed the leghorn.

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BAMMM!

The leghorn vanished into a cloud of feathers and buckshot.

A moment later, the bedroom window slammed shut.

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“Gosh, that was easy,” the cockerel cackled, “Now girls, what were we talking about?”

** There is a lesson somewhere in this or at least I think there is.