. . . Chanticleer Cheep stood high upon his toes,
Stretching his neck, and both his eyes did close,
And so did crow right loudly, for the nonce;
And Russel Fox, he started up at once,
And by the gorget grabbed our
Flung him on back, and toward the wood did steer . . .
heard these hens cry and make so great ado,
And out of doors they started on the run
And saw the fox into the grove just gone,
Bearing upon his back the cock away.
And then they cried, "Alas, and weladay!
Oh, oh, the fox!" and after him they ran.
This cock, which lay across the fox's back,
In all his fear unto the fox did clack
And say: "Sir, were I you, as I should be,
Then would I say (as God may now help me!),
'Turn back again, presumptuous peasants all!
A very pestilence upon you fall!
Now that I've gained here to this dark wood's side,
In spite of you this cock shall here abide.
I'll eat him, by my faith, and that anon!'"
The fox replied: "In faith, it shall be done!"
And as he spoke that word, all suddenly
This cock broke from his mouth, full cleverly.
And that (with apologies to Geoffrey Chaucer) is more or less what happened on Monday evening when Cheep was grabbed by a fox and miraculously escaped with a scratch and rather less feathers than he had earlier in the day.
Unfortunately our relief at Cheep's miraculous escape from the jaws of death, turned to sadness when, on Wednesday, I discovered that Bryony was missing . . . presumed taken to be Russel Fox's supper.
Of the three new pullets we got last October, I think Bryony was my favourite. She was bossy and annoying (especially when she spent three weeks insisting she was broody!)
We will miss her, I think Cheep misses her, and this weekend for the last time we will enjoy her final beautiful dark brown egg.