None’s beast’s tale?

With reference to Lynne Banker’s letter dated 28 Feb. regarding the irritating rooster keeping her awake at all hours and Ms. Banker’s desire to throttle it: Not all roosters are irritating; indeed, some are magnificent in ways perhaps not fully appreciated by Ms. Banker.

Take Chaunticleer, for example. Chaunticleer is the magnificent cock of the Nun’s Priest’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Here we have an all-seeing, all-dancing, all-knowing cock. He’s also something of a prophet who believes that dreams foreshadow the joys and tribulations of life.

Chaunticleer is a character who depends on no one else for his life: a sort of cocky cock. His wife, Pertelote, mocks her husband’s queer ideas about the prophetic importance of dreams; her mockery supposedly reflecting wifely behaviour.

Like most thinking roosters, however, while Chaunticleer is aware that traditionally women are seen as the source of evil — Eve having been denounced for causing the fall of mankjnd — this ever-sensitive cock eventually dismisses this view as a joke.

Ms. Banker should remember that, like her target rooster, Chaunticleer’s plight is that he is stalked, then carried away, by a fox, to be eaten as a meal.

Chaunticleer escapes by a reversal of fortune. The fox had tricked Chauntic;leer through flattery. Chaunticleer, in turn, tricks the fox.

By the end of the tale, both learn survival strategies. The fox realises that God sends ill luck to those who talk when they should keep quiet; Chaunticleer realises that fortune doesn’t favour those who shut their eyes when they are required to look.

I wonder if, like the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, Ms. Banker’s tale will also end with a moral: Perhaps ‘KYC’ – Know Your Cock.

Name withheld by request

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