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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 May 30, 2020

I would rather die than do a thing which I know to be a sin....

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May 30

 

I would rather die
than do a thing
which I know to be a sin.

St. Joan of Arc


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Joan of Arc

When Joan was thirteen she began to receive visions of St. M...

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St. Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc’s story is nothing but extraordinary. Born in Domremy, Champagne, in 1412, she was a peasant girl who received from on high the mission of leading France militarily against the invading English.

Joan’s father was Jacques D’Arc, a farmer of some means, and her mother a kind, caring woman. One of five children, Joan was a pious, prayerful and charitable girl.

In 1415, when Joan was three, the English king, Henry V, taking advantage of a civil war between the Dukes of Orleans and Burgundy, invaded Normandy and claimed several cities. Things were going from bad to worse for France when, in the village of Domremy, God began to put in motion a most unexpected solution.

At age thirteen, Joan began to receive visions of St. Michael and Sts. Catherine and Margaret who gently prepared her for her mission.

By 1428, when she was about sixteen, the saints insisted that Joan go to Charles VII, the ineffectual heir to the throne and offer him to lead an army with the objective of repelling the English, and crowning him king. The frightened girl resisted but finally took action on being assured that her extraordinary calling “was God’s will”.

Joan persuaded an uncle to take her to the nearby town of Vaucouleurs to the commander, Robert de Baudricourt. At first Baudricourt and his entourage laughed at the maiden, but when Joan announced that the city of Orleans had just fallen to the English, and the fact was later verified, hilarity turned to respect.

Accompanied by respectful soldiers, and dressed in a man’s clothing for her personal protection, Joan traveled to the court of Charles VII who, wishing to test the visionary maiden, hid himself among his courtiers. But Joan promptly picked him out, and set at rest for him an intimate doubt he had secretly prayed about as to his legitimacy as true son of the king of France, Charles VI.

Ultimately, after extensive debriefing and debate, Joan was outfitted with armor, sword and a white-gold standard bearing the names of Jesus and Mary, and an image of God the Father and angels offering Him a Fleur-des-Lys, the symbol of France.

In the company of the Duke of Orleans, other French nobles, and their armies she freed the besieged city of Orleans. To everyone’s amazement, Joan proved an effective general and strategist, though she never personally killed a man.

After other victories, she and her army accompanied the reluctant prince to Rheims where he was triumphantly crowned. But after his coronation the weak king began to haggle with Joan, and ultimately failed and abandoned her.

In a skirmish outside the city of Compiegne, she was taken prisoner and led to Rouen where she underwent an infamous “trial” conducted by a bishop, Pierre Cauchon, who courted English favor. She suffered a long, painful imprisonment, was finally branded a heretic and a sorceress and condemned to burned at the stake. She was nineteen years old.

To the very end she sustained that her “voices” had not deceived her. Her last gasping word was “Jesus!” Although the flames consumed her virginal body, her heart never burned.

What Joan had begun others picked up and France was ultimately freed.

Twenty-three years after her death, Joan’s mother and brothers appealed to Pope Callistus III for a re-trial. This new trial completely vindicated the “Maid of Orleans”on July 7, 1456.

Joan was canonized on May 16, 1920.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion t...

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Mary and the Simple Country Wife

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

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

 

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There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier.

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