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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 March 20, 2019

He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure lo...

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March 20

 

He alone loves the Creator perfectly
who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.

St. Bede the Venerable


SATAN V. the Immaculate Conception  SIGN!

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

Orphaned early in life, Cuthbert was brought up by a widow w...

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St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

Orphaned early in life, Cuthbert was brought up by a widow who loved him like a son. According to St. Bede, he was a Briton. One night, while working as a shepherd, he had a marvelous vision of angels carrying the soul of St. Aidan to heaven. This occurrence seems to have impressed him deeply, though he went on to soldiering and possibly fought against the Mercians.

It was as a soldier that he knocked at the gate of Melrose Abbey. As a monk, he went on to become prior of the abbeys of Melrose and Lindisfarne. After some years at Lindisfarne, wishing to grow even closer to God, he retired as a hermit first to Holy Island, today named after him, and then to an even more remote location among the Farne Islands. Still, people persisted in following him even to this isolated place, and he graciously built a guest house near the landing stage of the isle to accommodate them.

Illustrations taken from the Venerable St. Bede’s Life of Cuthbert

Later, at the insistence of the Abbess St. Elfleda, a daughter of King Oswiu, he reluctantly accepted a bishopric and was consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne. The two years of his episcopate were spent visiting his diocese preaching, teaching, distributing alms and working so many miraculous cures that during his lifetime he was known as the Wonderworker of Britain.

Weakened by his labors and austerities, Cuthbert sensed death approaching and again retired to his beloved retreat in the Farne Islands. He received the last sacraments and died peacefully, seated, his hands uplifted and his eyes raised heavenward. The Venerable St. Bede also records in his life of the saint that when Cuthbert's sarcophagus was opened nine years after his death, his body was found to have been perfectly preserved or incorrupt.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

A Bargain with Our Lady

From his sick bed, Ansaldo implored the Mother of God to hea...

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A Bargain with Our Lady


In the city of Doul, in France, lived a young cavalier named Ansaldo. This gentleman was trained in the arts of horsemanship and battle. As was common for those in Ansaldo’s line of work, he received a battle wound from an arrow, which entered so deep into the jaw-bone, that it was not possible to extract the iron.

After four years of suffering in this way, the afflicted man could endure the pain no longer. His affliction had made him very ill, a shadow of his former robust self. He thought he would again try to have the iron extracted. But before doing so, this time he decided to make a bargain with the Blessed Virgin.

From his sick bed, Ansaldo implored the Mother of God to heal his jaw and restore his health to him. In exchange for this great grace, he vowed to visit a sacred image of her in the city of Doul every year, and make an offering of a certain sum of money upon her altar if she granted this request.

He had no sooner made the vow than the iron, without being touched, fell out of his jaw and into his mouth.

The next day, ill as he was, he went to visit the sacred image. With a great deal of effort, the weakened, but hopeful man placed the promised gift upon the altar.

Immediately, he felt himself entirely restored to health.

Amazed by the quick maternal response of Mary Most Holy, Andsaldo never forgot his vow and returned every year to honor his part of their bargain.

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

From his sick bed, Ansaldo implored the Mother of God to heal him and restore his health to him. In exchange for this great grace,

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