When I was a child my mother used to drive by one of our cousin’s barns in West Brome every month. She wasn’t close to the cousin, and she just hated his round barn. No one had a round barn for miles, and his reasoning for building it infuriated her. You see, her cousin hated how his farmhands used to relieve themselves in the corners of his old barn and thought the new structure might stop them dead in their tracks if there was no corner to hide in.
We never found out if that solved his issues, but in constructing a round barn he created new problems as some of the animals treated that barn like their own personal racetrack. He not only had his dairy cattle in there, but also his prize chickens and a couple of grumpy old pigs. Every year he entered a few of his fowl in the much anticipated Christmas Poultry Fair. He was used to winning, and when one of his flock mysteriously died– well, he investigated the matter promptly.
As the story goes he just couldn’t figure out how that chicken had perished, so he assigned his top right hand man to literally watch those chickens. It was that important to him, because there was something special about the way he showed those poultry at the fair. Each one of them was named after Santa’s reindeer because it seemed to give his entry some added charm. Now he had lost Dancer and she could not be replaced.
For three nights the farm hand watched those chickens and nothing seemed out of the ordinary until the next night around 3 am. It seemed Vixen the chicken was quite a vixen in her own way and began to taunt one of the old pigs. It wasn’t only with squawks, but also with a few pecks on the old sow’s back. The pig rolled over a few times hoping to shake her tormentor, but finally she had enough and began to chase that chicken circling the round barn. After a few laps the chicken dropped dead out of either fright or exhaustion. Two down, eight left, and the farmer threatened his farmhand with the possible loss of his job.
The next night it happened again, but this time the farmhand was ready and shot a few rounds in the air hoping to stop the pig. The pig still kept chasing the chicken, so his next aim purposely just nicked the pig. That old sow stopped dead in her tracks and wondered what had happened. Instead of blaming the farmhand she looked straight into the catatonic chicken’s eyes and squealed so loud the whole county heard her.
What happened next was one for the books. The chicken scratched her feet into the dirt like she was getting ready for an Olympic marathon. She began to chase that pig all around that barn until the pig lay down almost waving a white flag. The farmer didn’t win many ribbons that year, but he didn’t lose any more chickens.
What happened to that old pig? That year the menu was changed, and a fine pork roast sat in the middle of the table with all the trimmings. The farmer reminded his family that money couldn’t buy happiness, but that joyful smile on that roast of pig should remind everyone that there was still lots for everyone to be happy about—except for the pig that was sitting on that New Year’s table.
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