The power of old wisdom

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The power of old wisdom
The power of old wisdom

Africa-Press – Lesotho. Muckraker has told this story before but she will tell it again so that those who have not heard it be told will not say they have not been told. The timing is right for the retelling of such tales.

Here it goes. A Qaqatu farmer decided it was time to replace his old cock (a rooster). The cock had sired generations of chicks but it was now time for it to join its ancestors.

Its bones too old, the cock could not keep up with the young hens that persistently demanded conjugal rights but always wanted to be chased around the yard before the deed was done.

The old cock had neither the energy nor the patience for elaborate foreplay. The farmer brought a young cock to replace the old-timer. He spared the old guy’s life for a few days in the hope that he would teach the young cock a few tricks before he is sent to meet its maker.

On the second day, the old-timer walked up to the young cock who was slouched under a tree after a long day of chasing the insatiable hens. “I know I am old and about to die but I can bet you my last penny that you can never outrun me in a race,” said the old-timer.

The young cock rolled with laughter before asking why the old time wanted to embarrass himself just before he kicked the bucket. But the old-timer insisted that they race to the gumtree near the gate.

The young lad eventually relented and granted what he thought was the old timer’s last wish. And so the hens cleared the track and chicks cheered. But just as they are about to start, the old-timer had another request.

“Since you will embarrass me I was wondering if you could give me a ten-metre head-start?”
“And why would I do that old papa,” asked the young lad scornfully.

“Just so you can defeat me with some dignity, son. This is my last race and I don’t want to be humiliated.
The young lad agreed and the race started with the old cock ten metres ahead. With the chicks and hens singing his name, the young lad was snapping in the old timer‘s heels but could not catch him.

Just as they were about to reach the tree, with the old-timer still leading, there was a thundering sound. Boom! The old-timer looked back to find the young lad’s lifeless body in a pool of blood.

The farmers, who had been watching the race from the barn, had shot the young cock dead. Over the next few years the farmer would bring more young cocks he would shoot in the same races instigated by the old-timer.

No young cock survived that race. Then as the old-timer was lying on his death bed some years later, one hen asked him why the farmer kept killing all the young cocks that raced him.

“Well, Mogelie, the farmer thought those young cocks were chasing me because they were gay.

He had no use for young cocks that coveted an old cock like me. He had brought them here for you girls,” said the old-timer. He winked and died. By appealing to the young lads’ egos he had lured them into a death race.

The farmer too had been hoodwinked. In the end the old-timer retired on his own terms and time. The lesson: never underestimate old wisdom. You don’t need to have the wisdom of Solomon to understand why Muckraker is repeating this tale. Whisper it to the one who has been waiting for Mr Softie to leave office.

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