We had a dozen or so laying hens in a coop. These were all standard-size laying hens…several Aracaunas, a few Plymouth Barred Rocks, one Buff Orpington and a couple of Rhode Island Reds. The chicken coop was situated in such a way as to allow our vigilant Australian Cattle Dog to patrol all the way around the chicken yard.
One morning, a rooster showed up. He was the smallest bantam rooster I’ve ever seen. I don’t think he was much more than a quarter of the size of the hens. We called him Napoleon. The poor little guy ran laps around the chicken yard, looking for a way in.
It reminded of an old movie I had seen, where the explorer peers into the valley and sees a tribe of Amazon women. Half the movie was about this explorer guy trying to get to the women. He was certain that a man would be very welcome.
Napoleon spent several days anxiously trying to get to the Amazon Chickens. Back and forth in front of the fence he ran, only to roost in a tree each night, alone and unloved.
And then one day, he was inside the fence. Oh, what a happy rooster was he. He focused his attention on the Buff Orpington. She stood out in that crowd. She was a blonde, don’t you know.
He was on top of her back, riding her around the yard. She was feeding and scratching as hens will do. Napoleon was on her back having a mighty fine time, tail wiggling, as roosters will do.
Except he was nowhere near where he needed to be to accomplish anything. He was just getting a piggy-back ride and taking care of himself at the same time. Buff couldn’t have cared less.
Being a normal rooster, he visited all the hens this way. If he ever …ah… succeeded, we never saw it. He just hopped on and did his thing without interrupting what the hen was doing at all.
I’m pretty sure there is a lesson of some profundity in this story. I can’t figure out what it is, though. I think it has something to do with not being equal to the task at hand? Rising to the level of one’s incompetence? Or just that if you’re going to dream, dream big? I don’t know.
Happily, one day several weeks later, a bantam hen showed up. She was still larger than our little Napoleon, but a much more manageable size. Their chicks were adorable. There’s a lesson in that somewhere, too.