How to fetch a Pail of Fowl

Anticipation hung in the air on that bright and sunny afternoon. It was warm, yet pleasant. School was out for summer vacation and I was quite impressed with the two months that stretched out before me – Two months of pure, unbridled freedom which basically translated to late nights and late mornings with no schoolwork whatsoever. I was looking forward to blissful relaxation. Lost in my thoughts in front of the TV, oblivious to the world, I almost nodded off till I heard a minor fiasco outside in the garden.

Curious to see what all the fuss was about, I walked with surprising briskness out the house and into the backyard. I scanned the scene to see if anything was out of place but there seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary. The chicken coop sat at the left corner of the area – Of course, it was empty now as all the chickens and roosters were out and about in the neighbourhood foraging for their delicacies – Even though there was plenty of grain strewn all over the yard. I could not imagine why they would go around scouting for food to eat when there was plenty of delicious grains (to a chicken) in the yard offered to them on a plate, quite literally.

The well was where it always was – In the right side of the yard. A gravelly, almost invisible path led from the house to the well. A few clothes were hanging out to dry on the several clotheslines and the trees stood where they had stood all these years. Nothing was out of place.

But what was the sound I had heard?
Ah. I heard it again. A muffled cluck.
Now where could that have come from? There was no chicken as far as the eye could see.
Cluck. Cluck. Scratch. Scratch. Cluck.
That was weird. Letting my ears lead the way, I moved closer to the sound. It seemed to be coming from the well. Having reached the well, I pulled away the tarpaulin that partially covered it and peered through the metal net that covered the opening of the well. And lo and behold, the source of the sound was unmistakably identified – A Rooster had somehow managed to fall into the well. He looked up at me and crowed again.
Finally, took you long enough to get here, he seemed to say.
There seemed to be a slightly large opening in the metal net and it was the probable cause of the current predicament. I ran inside to get my grandma.

Our neighbour, a young gentleman, was out watering his plants when he noticed us peering into the well. “Hello there, looking for something, are we?”
I explained that the rooster had fallen into the well. His interest piqued – It’s not everyday you get to rescue a rooster from a well – and he made his way into our backyard. He brought a pail with a thick rope attached to it and surveyed the situation. The rooster who was named Cocky looked up at the visitor. There wasn’t a lot of water in the well (being summertime) which was vital to the survival of Cocky and he seemed to be comfortable at the bottom of the well. He flapped his wings, probably wishing he could fly.

My neighbour who was fondly called ‘Cheta’ proceeded to thread the rope into the pulley at the top of the well – He and grandma were well acquainted with how wells work and I had watched enough TV to know how to draw water from a well, even though I had no firsthand experience which was soon about to change. We slowly let the pail down into the well and watched as it descended into the depths. Cocky watched as his ticket out of the well arrived. The empty pail finally hit the bottom of the well with a gentle thud which echoed all the way up to us.
Cocky seemed to get the idea of what we were trying to do and he jumped into his escape pod, the lowly pail. We fished him out the well carefully without startling him.
Finally out of his cylindrical prison, I took Cocky in my arms – He seemed to be cold.
We thanked Cheta for his help and he went back to his backyard chuckling to himself – A chicken in a well. Who knew?
Grandma and I took Cocky into the kitchen and turned on the stove to generate some heat so he could warm himself and dry his feathers.
Cock a doodle doo. Cluck. Cluck. He said with feathers trembling.

What an interesting start to the summer vacation, I thought to myself as I covered Cocky with a warm towel. Rescuing a chicken from a well – Now how many people in the world have had the opportunity to do that?

P.S: Cocky lived healthily for quite a few years after his rendezvous with the well’s bottom and he still lives in our tales narrated over the years.

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