Chanticleer and the fox


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Chanticleer and the fox

  1. 1. Chanticleer and the Fox<br />An Adaptation<br />Geoffrey Chaucer<br />There was once a poor widow who lived in a little cottage by the trees against the sun and gale. She led a very simple life with her two daughters making the best of what the Lord could give. They had three cows and a sheep and enough room for them to cook and sleep but she had no money for fancy food. Milk, brown bread, fried bacon, and egg were enough for them. They need no doctor, for their medicine was thrift and peace and quiet.<br />The widow ran her household with good sense. She had a fenced yard for poultry and there she kept a rooster called Chanticleer who had no equal everywhere. He could cheerfully crow so loud and strong that you could set your watch to its perfect timing.<br />His ruddy comb was like a coral in hue, his bill, jet black and his legs and toes were blue. His nails were white as lilies and his burnished body flashed in its perfect mold.<br />This noble cock was lord to seven hens who followed and adored him. The fairest of all the hens was named Pertelote. She was courteous, discreet, and companionable that from the day she was seven nights old, she had totally smitten Chanticleer’s heart.<br />As each morning came to bring another day, Chanticleer and Pertelote would sing in sweetest tunes, for those days animals could talk:<br />“My love... don’t ever leave me!”<br />One early morning, at dawn, the rooster who was sleeping on his perch next to his wife, began to shift and lurch. Upon hearing him shift and moan, Dame Pertelote was upset and said, “My dearest heart, what’s wrong with you?”<br />And he replied, “I just dreamed as I walked around the yard, a hungry hound pounced on me. It was red and yellow with black-tipped tail and ears. Its pointed snout backed up by two glowing eyes made me groan with fright.”<br />To this Dame Pertelote answered, “ I swear from God above, now you have lost my heart and love. I cannot love a coward for no matter how we act, we women want our husbands hardy, wise, confident, tactful and sensible. What good’s a beard if a man’s heart is lacking? Don’t be afraid of dreams for nothing in a dream is what it seems. Most dreams are the result of overeating.”<br />The excited Chanticleer beat his wings and bowed, then said, “I beg to disagree, Madam. I can site many cases where my dreams come true. Just the other day, I read about a traveller who dreamed he saw a close friend stabbed and killed, and his belongings nabbed. This dream proved true and helped the law men catch and hang the killers.”<br />“I also know about two men who were about to board a ship. The night before, one dreamed of drowning. So, he decided to stay behind while the other one sailed just the same. The ship was lost at sea with all aboard.”<br />“These stories, sweetheart, tell us not to make fun of other people’s dreams. Andromache, the mighty Hector’s wife, told him a dream that might have saved his life. She pleaded with him not to join the Trojan army but he went forth to battle and was slain.”<br />“In short, I know that this vision I saw last night will bring me grief. But let us forget all the omens and bad dreams for when I see the beauty of your face, your lovely eyes rimmed with scarlet red, suddenly all my dread is gone for certainly, a woman is a man’s delight and all his bliss. Such a joy to me your eyes beam that I defy the warning of the dream.”<br />With this, he flew down from the beam and pecked for grains with the others. How he crowed with merry voice for it was spring, the blissful season which causes birds to sing.<br />While Chanticleer was singing, a coal-black fox who had recently lived in the grove for three years saw a chance to do his worst. Upon seeing the hidden fox, Chanticleer cut short his cheerful song and raised a ruckus to alert his wife. He turned to go but the fox said, “Gentle Sir, good day! I am your loyal friend. I have no wish to harm you. I simply came to hear you sing. Your father was often in my house as an honoured guest. And truly, I would like to please the son, who, I know is his father’s equal in singing.”<br />Chanticleer was intrigued by the flattery. He stood on tiptoe, beat his wings, stretched his neck closed both eyes and crowed, “Cockadoodledoo!”<br />Without much ado, the fox pounced upon the bird and dragged him off to the adjoining wood. The lady hens, however, were not mute. There was loud crying and lamentation from Pertelote and all the hens that saw Chanticleer dragged by the fox.<br />“Stop! Thief! Catch the fox!” they screamed.<br />Armed with stick and rocks, the neighbours joined them. Boys, girls, ducks, dogs, hogs, geese, left what they were to follow the big noise. It seemed the heavens were about to fall.<br />For all his fright, the rooster did not lose his voice. He said, “If I were you, I’d tell them off. Tell them, turn back, you bullies- go away from this rooster, he’s mine!”<br />The fox replied, “You’re absolutely right!”<br />But as he opened his mouth, his grip on the rooster came loose and gave the bird a chance to fly and settle upon the nearest tree.<br />When the fox saw that the bird was free, he said, “O. Chanticleer, please pardon me. I say no harm was meant. If you come down, I will tell you my real intention.”<br />The rooster answered, “I’d truly be a dunce if I would let you fool me more than once. Your flattering talk and honeyed look cannot serve as a bait to catch me on your hook. Surely, he that closes both his eyes instead of watching what before him lies deserved his fate.”<br />“True.”, said the fox., “it’s my belief that he who babbles on when he should guard his tounge, deserved to see his fortune marred.”<br />