Then one summer afternoon I walked towards the woods on my way to pick elderberries. Butterflies flew above the daises, buttercups, and black-eyed susans on both sides of the path. My long dress brushed over the tall grass as I walked through the meadow behind the chicken coop with a peck basket under my arm.
I had just passed the chicken coop when I heard a sound that made me turn around. What I saw made my head prickle from the back of my neck all the way to my forehead. From four separate directions came four bantam roosters all running towards me. They had their heads down and their bodies wiggled back and forth with their wings and feathers puffed out so they looked twice their size and they made their warning guck-guck! Guck-guck! Guck-guck! sounds in their throats. As they came at me I saw their sharp spurs, beaks, and toenails. Hatred glared at me through their beady eyes. I screamed a bloodcurdling scream.
The roosters kept coming.
Mem came running from the house when she heard my scream. She stopped in her tracks right outside the kitchen door, and laughed when she saw my predicament. She nodded her head and said, “Ahh-huhh, ahh-huhh! You deserved this one!” Her large stomach and hefty bosom bounced with each ahh-huhh!
“Helf mich!” (Help me!) I begged. I imagined the roosters’ claws and beaks on my bare legs and feet. I knew that if I tried hitting them with my hands, they would fly at my eyes and peck them.
Mem called for Lizzie to grab a stick and help me out. As soon as the roosters saw her coming they stopped in their tracks and pecked in the dirt and looked at me sideways. Then the biggest one crowed. They all went underneath the chicken coop when Lizzie came closer with her stick.
I had the shakes and my teeth chattered as I walked towards the house. I knew I wouldn’t be chasing roosters anymore. I stayed home and helped Mem can pears instead of picking elderberries that afternoon.
When I think back to the fright those roosters gave me, I realize I learned so much from that experience. Mem was right — I did have that coming to me. This was a natural consequence of me gaining power over the roosters. I learned that it is not only humans who have a desire to seek revenge against cruelty — even creatures with bird-brains have it. It took bird brains to teach me that having power over can shift without warning from one side to the other.
The roosters and I respected one another after that. I left the clothesline props where they belonged and the roosters seemed to know that my lesson had been learned because they left me alone, too.
Next week I plan to post an interview with Ira Wagler, author of Growing up Amish. Ira has kindly offered to provide a copy of his book for a giveaway. So I’ll see you next week…
11 thoughts on “Bantum Roosters, Part III”
That was a tough lesson learned. you poor little thing, I can’t imagine how scared you must have been!
Thanks, Joanne. One way to look at it is that I was as scared as I needed to be to learn my lesson.
Your rooster stories reminds me of my wasp nest under the porch rail. I lived at peace with the wasps around my door and porch as long as I ignored them and went my own way. But they always made me very uncomfortable when callers come around. So last summer I messed with them and ever after that whenever I opened my door to go outside the wasps were ready for me with intentions of getting even. I finally had to get my landlord to destroy the nest. So this summer I ignore them and get along just fine.
Katie, that is very interesting. I love what you said “with intentions of getting even.” We often think humans are the only beings with intention, but experiences like these bring all that into question.
I don’t like wasps one bit. You are braver than I am to live at peace with them on your porch. But then again, you are braver than I am in a lot of ways.
Thanks for the story.
This made me laugh out loud! The Revenge of the Bantam Roosters! I admit I did feel sorry for them after the gleeful pole-wielding of the last post, and I see valuable lessons learned on both sides. Thanks for sharing this story.
Great Story, Saloma! I’m not so sure about the “getting even” part, but I do know that animals are a lot smarter than some people give them credit for being. Many of them DO notice and remember acts of aggression toward them and will be on guard and aggressive in response. From their perspective, it is all a part of self preservaion I guess. The U of WA had done research with crows and face recognition, so we now know that crows can remember individuals and act accordingly – even a year or so later and, so it seems, their offspring retain the same information! So, perhaps the fact that the roosters picked you out to attack, relates to that. Once again, there is much we can learn from the animals – they, too, are a part of God’s creation & therefore pretty amazing!!
Botanist, thank you for your comments. I chuckled at the “lessons learned on both sides” remark. I hadn’t thought of that way, but you’re probably right.
Ladybug, I heard about that research at the U of WA, and it really did remind me of the rooster incident. I have no doubt they were seeking revenge. I didn’t know about the part about the offspring… that is amazing. It makes you wonder if they communicate with one another.
Interesting thoughts, all.
I had one of my dad’s roosters flog me and peck me on the top of my eye! I was so scared.
I remember chickens from my young girlhood, but never had a rooster encounter. We mostly raised hens though, so perhaps that’s the reason.
Later we had a pet parakeet. My sister inadvertently stepped on his leg when he was on the floor under the card table where we were working a jigsaw puzzle. He’s hopped down to play with dropped pieces, and perhaps he was a bit tipsy from sips of Daddy’s beer. When he pulled back from my sister’s foot, his leg snapped. The leg did mend just fine after six weeks of preening and staying off it, but he never forgot who injured him. Every chance he got, he’d fly at her and peck her viciously. We had to get rid of him, much to my distress.
Lissa, isn’t that a horrible feeling? It’s interesting how much fear roosters can invoke in people.
Sharon, what a story! Hearing these stories about birds, perhaps we need to place more value on the concept of “bird brain” don’t you think?
Thanks all, for contributing to this interesting discussion.
That is a good story!
I wish I had a rooster to keep the neighborhood cats out of my yard!