Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Tale of Two Guineas

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times............

Wait. Wrong tale. Let's start again.

Once upon a time there lived a woman with idealistic notions of farm life, and who, against her husband's better judgment and infinite wisdom, purchased a few guinea fowl.

Make that several guinea fowl.

Life became quite noisy, at times unbearably so. The woman realized the error of her ways and began a study on the women of the Bible in which submission was a prominent theme. But that is a story for another time.

One by one the guinea fowl made themselves unwelcome. One by one they were mortally wounded by passing motorists, served as the main course at dinner parties, or sold to other unsuspecting idealists.

Except for two special guineas..........

This is the tale of Boris and Olga.

You must first realize, dear reader, that guineas are not of Russian origin, but somehow the names seemed to fit this quaint couple who would really have been more at home on an African plain than in a back yard in New Hampshire. However, they lacked nothing in the way of comforts, and seemed content to spend their days together with eyes for each other alone. This, as you know, is normal for guineas who are generally monogamous birds. They roamed the yard in unison, side by side, quietly pecking at bugs and stripping the weeds of their ripe seeds. Each night they roosted together on the same beam in the coop in the old barn. Life was good for Boris and Olga.
The days of summer passed quickly, and it became known that Olga was making herself scarce. She would disappear for hours at a time, and refused to enter the coop at night. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that she was laboring under the burden that she had a mission to repopulate the would-be farm with guineas. Olga had turned broody.
Oh dear.

A bit of detective work revealed the location of the secret nest. In a hollowed out space under an overgrown patch of goldenrod near a rock wall, twenty small pointy-ended eggs lay snuggled under her warm, outstretched wings. Days turned into weeks. Feed and water were set near Olga, but she seemed to be in a trance most of the time, thinking motherly thoughts, and entirely uninterested in her surroundings.......unless one trod too close. In which case, she would at once change into a vicious, hissing, lunging dragon. Removing Olga to a safer shelter was not a option.

One bright morning, the woman left the house and, to her dismay, spied masses of guinea feathers scattered over the lawn. Crying out, she ran to Olga's nest only to discover two broken empty eggshells and no sign whatsoever of the gallant Olga nor of the remaining eggs.

Sadly, Boris called to his mate over and over, searching for her in the bushes and in the woods. Back and forth he paced, looking as anxious as a guinea can look; finally, giving up in despair, he trudged dejectedly across the lawn, picking half-heartedly at the grass, occasionally glancing up to cheep in a quiet sort of way. Settling himself by the scene of the tragedy, he realized the truth. Olga was gone.

Being a busy sort of day, full of errands and running about in the big city, the woman and her daughter did not return home until late in the day. The gravel crunched and dust rose as she pulled into the driveway that afternoon. As was his usual custom, Boris was waiting in the yard, and he ambled over to the car to greet them.

But wait. What? What is this? What IS this?!!

A wee little figure straggling behind Boris, peeping loudly for all the world to hear!
Could it be?!!

Yes! God, in His mercy, had allowed one tiny keet to survive. Not only to hatch, but to be rescued from the predator who had taken his mother and broodmates! Not only to be rescued, but to be protected from greedy hens and nasty-tempered roosters. A really, truly miracle!

This is a true story, and that little keet you see is now living in a warm, cozy brooder in the coop with its father, Boris, and all the chickens who do not appear in this story, but about whom you have read in other tales.

And they all lived happily ever after.


Blogger Marci said...

Great story, but for your sake, I hope the little one is a male.

It is really good to hear from you again. I love your writing style. Welcome back, Emily!!

5:40 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

What a great story!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Jeanette said...

Peggy sent me, Great story

10:01 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

You're back!!! (Yeah, took me a week to figure that out). I am SO SORRY for your tragedy but on the other hand you worked pretty hard to get rid of the ones you had...

Oh, gosh, I'm glad you're back. Your writing is wonderful. I'm doing the happy dance.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Lynn Bartlett said...

I too welcome you back, Emily! Hope you will keep on blogging. You have enough adventures to fill a book -- with just the 2 guineas!

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Angie said...

My biggest problem with my guineas is their smell. Do you pen up and purge before it is sent to the dinner table?

8:15 AM  
Blogger Marci said...

I sure miss your posts my friend!!! Hope all is well there with you.

12:33 AM  

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