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THE FARM-YARD COCK AND WEATHERCOCK

 

THERE were two Cocksone on the dunghillthe other on the roofBoth were conceited but which of the two effected mostTell us your opinionbut we shall keep our own nevertheless

The poultryyard was divided by a wooden fence from another yardin which lay a manure-heap whereon grew a great Cucumberwhich was fully conscious of being a forcingbed plant

That's a privilege of birth,” the Cucumber said to herself.“Not all can be born cucumbersthere must be other kinds tooThe fowls the ducksand all the cattle in the neighbouring yard are creatures too I now look up to the Yard Cook on the fenceHe certainly is of much greater consequence than the Weathercockwho is so highly placedand who can't even creakmuch less crowand he has neither hens nor chickensand thinks only of himself and perspires verdigris But the Yard Cockhe's something like a cockHis gait is like a dancehis crowing is music and wherever he comes one hears directly what a trumpeter he is If he would only come in hereEven if he were to eat me upstalk and all it would be quite a blissful death,” said the Cucumber

In the night the weather became very badHenschickensand even the Cock himself sought shelterThe wind blew down the fence between the two yards with a crashthe tiles came tumbling downbut the Weather-cock sat firm He did not even turn round he could not turn round and yet he was young and newly cast but steady and sedate He had been born old”,and did not at all resemble the fluttering birds of heavensuch as the sparrows and the swallows He despised those considering them piping birds of trifling statureordinary song birdsThe pigeonshe allowedwere big and shiningand gleamed like mother-o-pearland looked like a kind of weathercocksbut then they were fat and stupid and their whole endeavour was to fill themselves with food

Moreoverthey are tedious things to converse with,”said the Weathercock

The birds of passage had also paid a visit to the Weathercockand told him tales of foreign landsof airy caravansand exciting robber storiesof encounters with birds of preyand that was interesting for the first timebut the Weathercock knew that afterwards they always repeated themselves and that was tedious

They are tediousand all is tedious,”he said.“No one is fit to associate withand one and all of them are wearisome and stupidThe world is worth nothing,”he cried.“The whole thing is a stupidity.”

The Weathercock was what is called used up”;and that quality would certainly have made him interesting in the eyes of the Cucumber if she had known it but she had only eyes for the Yard Cock who had now actually come into her own yard

The wind had blown down the fence but the storm had passed over

What do you think of that crowing?” the Yard Cook inquired of his hens and chickens.“It was a little roughthe elegance was wanting.”

And hens and chickens stepped upon the muckheapand the Cock came along like a knight

Garden plant!”he cried out to the Cucumberand in this one word she perceived all his extensive breedingand forgot that he was pecking at her and eating her up-a happy death

And the hens came and the chickens came and when one of them runs the rest run alsoand they clucked and chirped and looked at the Cock and were proud that he was of their kind

Cockadoodledoo!” he crowed.“The chickens will grow up large fowls if I make a noise in the poultryyard of the world.”

And hens and chickens clucked and chirped and the Cock told them a great piece of news

A cock can lay an eggand do you know what there is in that egg In that egg lies a basilisk

No one can stand the sight of a basiliskMen know thatand now you know it too——you know what is in meand what a Cock of the world I am.”

And with this the Yard Cook flapped his wingsand made his comb swell upand crowed againand all of them shuddered——all the hens and the chickensbut they were proud that one of their people should be such a cock of the worldThey clucked and chirpedso that the Weathercock might hear it and he heard itbut he never stirred

It's all stupid stuff!”said a voice within the Weathercock.“The Yard Cock does not lay eggsand I am too lazy to lay anyIf I likedI could lay a windeggbut the world is not worth a wind-eggAnd now I don't like even to sit here any longer.”

And with this the Weathercock broke offbut he did not kill the Yard Cookthough he intended to do soas the hens declared And what does the moral say?—“Better to crow than to beused up and break off.”

 


 

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