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Chanticleer, by P. Sanders. Adapted from "The Story of Chanticleer" by Edmund Rostand

Once upon a time in France lived a rooster. He was a modest rooster, gold in color, with a fine comb on his head. Known through­out the region as “Chanticleer,” he was the king and protector of his farmyard.

Every morning, Chanticleer mounted the rooftop and her­alded the morning with his clear crow.

He lived to see the sun rise. Quite naturally, he thought the sun would not rise if he were not there to call it. He had doubts at times but never failed to get up ahead of the sun and crow.

drawing of the rooster, Chanticleer, raising the sun; The guinea hen, the Blackbird, The 2 ducks, the turkey, the 3 hens, the pheasant, the 4 owls, and Patou the old watchdog  Chanticleer never told anyone about raising the sun. Patou, the old watchdog, was the only one who guessed his secret. Patou’s favorite occupation was bask­ing in the sun and watching it light up the farmyard. Because of their mutual admiration for the light, the old dog and the rooster were best friends.

One day, a frightened pheasant collapsed into the chicken coop in a heap of exhaustion. “Oh!” she cried, “please hide me from the hunters who are seeking to hunt me!” Chanticleer gal­lantly hid her in Patou’s doghouse until the hunters passed.

Chanticleer was much taken with the beautiful pheasant. She certainly was much more interest­ing than the hens that only cared about pecking at grain.

However, there were some, within the farmyard and outside, that did not like Chanticleer. The owls especially disliked him, for they disliked the light and dreaded the sun that Chanticleer raised. The cat, the ducks, the turkey and the blackbird all envied him for one reason or another.

And so one starless night, while Chanticleer, Patou, and the golden pheasant slept, a secret meeting was held. Deep in a nearby thicket, the discontented farmyard animals met, and after singly giving their reasons for hating Chanticleer, it was decided that he must die. In the darkness, they hatched a plan.

In the farm over the hill lived a man who raised exotic cocks. Among these, there was an ugly, featherless rooster who was known as the champion of the fighting ring. It was arranged that he would challenge Chanticleer to a fight. “Of course,” the animals sneered, “we know who will win.”

But, the blackbird objected, “The cock won’t come!”

“Oh, yes he will!” responded the cat. “If the pheasant comes, he will come, and she will never miss such a chance to show off her beauty.”

And so, everything was set.

As time approached for the guests to arrive, the black­bird waited at the gate, watching the horizon. Finally, a line of fancy cocks was seen approaching in the dis­tance.

The blackbird began announcing the strange cocks:

“The Cock of Braekel!”

“The Wyandotte Cock!”

“The Cock of India!”

And one after the other, they strutted into the garden with all their airs of great importance.

Finally, Chanticleer appeared.

“But how should I introduce you?” asked the bewildered blackbird.

“Simply as the ‘Cock,’” replied Chanticleer.

“The Cock!” announced the blackbird.

At this, everyone fell silent.

“So, you are the Cock,” the fighting rooster said, push­ing his way through the crowd. “I am the great champion of the fighting ring that has defeated many and all.”

“And I am the Cock, the one who protects many and all,” replied Chanticleer.

“Pfuff!!” the gamecock jeered. “I live to kill and trample on those that don’t deserve to live!”

“And I . . .,” hesitated Chanticleer for a moment. Then, in an act of faith, he continued in his clear loud voice, “I live to raise the sun so that its rays may fill the world with its glorious light!”

“Ha, ha, ha, ha!” the gamecock laughed, with every­one joining in. “You think you make the sun rise? That’s too much!”

While all the animals laughed, the gamecock suddenly lunged and struck Chanticleer. A roar went up from the crowd. Chanticleer looked around and saw all the animals gathered with eager faces, their necks stretched out and their eyes gleaming in anticipation. They were hideous.

It was a terrible moment for poor Chanticleer. Sadly he bowed his head. He understood. For the first time, he knew all of them for what they were. He felt entirely alone and deserted.

Savagely, the gamecock struck again, throwing Chanticleer to the ground. A terrible struggle for life and death began but Chanticleer’s disappoint­ment and sadness sapped his spirit. The gamecock attacked harder, quickly drawing blood.

Drawing of the gamecocks arriving, with the old dog watching themChanticleer defended himself as best as he could while all around the animals screamed, “Kill him! Kill him!”

At a certain moment, Chanticleer looked up, and saw the rays of the setting sun glistening on the trumpet-like shape of the cock of France atop the cathedral spire. At this sight, his whole being rejoiced, and with renewed strength he flung himself at the gamecock.

At the tremendous impact, the gamecock was hurled into the air and fell upon his own spurs. He fell back, shook, cackled and died.

Chanticleer turned away from the fake applause and walked off. Only the pheasant followed him.

“Come with me to the woods, dear Chanticleer,” she said, “there you can forget the farmyard and we can live happily together.” Chanticleer nodded and followed the beau­tiful pheasant.

But, as time went on, Chanticleer began to feel restless. The pheasant began to worry. Was not her love enough? Could Chanticleer love the sun and his duty at the farmyard more than he loved her? She had to prove to him that the sun could rise by itself. But how?

One early morning, when the stars could still be seen in their lofty dome, Chanticleer felt especially sad. At the pheasant’s insinuations, his old doubt had returned. Was it really he who raised the sun?

Realizing his state of mind, the pheasant approached him and covered him with her wing. “Dear Chanticleer, you must not be so sad. You have me!” While speaking in these sweet tones, she watched the rising sun.

For Chanticleer, everything was still dark under her warm mantle of feathers.

Slowly the sun rose higher.

Suddenly the pheasant withdrew her wing. “See?” she cried cruelly. “The sun has risen without you!”

At that, Chanticleer started violently. “Oh, no! No! Wait! Not without me!” he cried, rushing toward the light. But the horizon grew ever more golden, and he staggered backward.

She watched him closely. “You see, Chanticleer, loving one another is more than raising a sun that can’t feel or think!”

Chanticleer the rooster on the peak of the roof. There was a moment of ­silence. Then, raising himself, he turned to her with a distant look. “No,” he said, “love is only true love in the light of a greater Light. The sun may rise without me but it will never rise with­out being heralded by my voice. I see now. I am the servant of the light. I am the one who calls the others to see the light. I am the herald of the light and so I have become a symbol of this great valley, this great France, which has placed me at the top of her cathedrals! May I remain as simple and lofty as that cock! Goodbye, Pheasant.”

With this, he turned and made his way back to his farmyard.

To this day, following his example, every barnyard cock announces the glorious rays of the rising sun.

 


* Edmund Rostand, The Story of Chanticleer (n.p., n.d.), adapted by P. Sanders.

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 23, 2019

Behold Jesus Christ crucified, Who is the only foundation of...

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July 23

 

Behold Jesus Christ crucified, Who is the only foundation of our hope;
He is our Mediator and Advocate; the victim and sacrifice for our sins.
He is goodness and patience itself;
His mercy is moved by the tears of sinners, and
He never refuses pardon and grace to those who ask it
with a truly contrite and humbled heart.

St. Charles Borromeo


PLEDGE REPARATION TO OUR LADY HERE!

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Bridget of Sweden

Her favorite son became entangled with Queen Joanna I who wa...

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St. Bridget of Sweden

Bridget was nobly born, her father was Birger, the governor of Upland in Sweden, and her mother, Ingeborg, was the daughter of the governor of East Gothland.

At fourteen she was married to young Ulf Gudmarsson, to whom she was happily married for twenty-eight years and had eight children, four boys and four girls, one of whom was St. Catherine of Sweden.

In 1335, she was appointed lady-in-waiting to King Magnus II’s bride, Blanche of Namur, and she spent years at court trying to reform Magnus’ weak, and at times, wicked ways, and the queen’s often well-meaning, but irresponsible, bend.

Though Bridget’s famous visions were already under way at this time, spanning subjects from personal hygiene to politics, she did not have great success with her royal “charges”, and was often seen as a “dreamer.”

After her husband’s death in 1344, she founded an order of women and another of men to support them spiritually. When her order was established, she traveled to Rome accompanied by her daughter Catherine and some disciples, to seek approval of her Rule. But she was never to return to her native Sweden.

In Rome, she worked to bring back the Papacy, then in the French city of Avignon, to the Eternal City. Her visions and prophecies, dealing with the burning political and religious issues of her time, continued and so increased that, alarmed, she submitted them to the direction of Canon Matthias of Linkoping who pronounced them to be of God. Peter, Prior of Alvastra, recorded these visions in Latin.

Her order was only approved by Pope Urban V in 1370.

In 1373 she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with Catherine and three of her sons. At Naples, Charles, her favorite son, became entangled with Queen Joanna I who wanted to marry him despite both being already married (Joana thrice). Anguished, Bridget stormed heaven, and Charles, struck by a fever, after two weeks died in his mother’s arms.

Returning from Jerusalem, Bridget, already ailing, received the last rites from her faithful friend, Peter of Alvastra, and died on July 23 at the age of seventy-one.

Bridget was canonized in 1391, and is the patron saint of the Kingdom of Sweden. She is also considered one of the patron saints of Europe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.

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