Knickerless In Greece

“Do you want to house-sit while I’m away? You can bring the kids” my friend Sue inquired tentatively.
Are you crazy - who wouldn’t want a free holiday in a Greek-island cottage in June?
“But you will have to look after the chickens for me. …”
And that’s how I met Tassouli, a splendid specimen of manhood with a dainty toe and a macho strut that only a Hellenic male can combine graciously - and bright blue tail feathers.
The hens, however, never seemed to take much notice of him as he proudly stalked the boundaries of his domain. When it dawned on him that he hadn’t quite engaged his audience, he would lift his head and crow exultantly. The chickens merely scratched the dry soil even faster before he resorted to more dominant male tactics to gain their attention.
Tasso studiously ignored me. I was a mere interloper in normal farmyard routine. He would stare past me contemptuously as if to say:
“I’m actually perfectly capable of looking after myself if only you hadn’t got me trapped in here. I’ll eat your food and co-operate for now – but don’t push me too far.”
When the patriachal power structure wobbled, however, old Tasso didn’t shy away from using the Famous Male Secret Weapon. Make a woman feel sorry for you and she’ll do anything to make you smile again.
And so it was that at two o’clock one morning I was awoken by my daughter shouting: “Mum. I can hear the fox in the chicken run!”
Grabbing a teeshirt to cover my nudity and instructing my daughters to make as much noise as possible to frighten off the intruder, I ran knickerless into the moonlight to discover Tassouli catatonic in the corner of the chicken run.
The hens eventually allowed us to shoo them back through the hole in the wire but Tassouli didn’t move. He just stood, staring wild-eyed into the night. My heart broke for him. He was terrified and obviously utterly humiliated by his failure to protect his harem.
So I sang to him. Crouching in scratchy grass with moonbeams reflecting off my bare backside, I crooned through a fence to a speechless cockerel in the early hours of the morning. Now nurturing
is not one of my strong points as my daughters can tell you but I sang to that animal for ten whole minutes until his muscles relaxed, his eyes focused and his feathers straightened out.

I led him, slowly and uncertainly, back to the henhouse where he snuggled down between Mary and Rebecca. He was safe – finding solace in the soft comfort of females. They, in turn, didn’t turn a feather, not wanting to draw attention to his damaged ego.

Next morning, minus his bright blue badges of authority but as cocky as ever, Tassouli was once again ruling the roost. Mary and Rebecca, scratching away, were never going to tell.

L Stolls

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