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The chicken clucks
Ihosy (Madagascar), July 2nd 2001
I can finally leave the village, and the good part of the story is that I do not have to walk myself. Jean-Pierre, a good-looking guy of Eighteen years old picks me up at my legs, and while I am hanging upside down, we start walking towards Isalo National park.

I live already for years in this small village of decayed houses and huts with thatched roofs, in search for grain and bread. I had to run for my life on a daily basis to prevent to be overrun by a Zebu or to end as an ingredient for the local soup. But in general, I had a good life, but my world was quite limited. Always the same houses, always the same people and always the stories about how beautiful the world is outside the village. Therefore it was not a difficult decision for me to go along with Jean-Pierre. On the other hand, I didn’t really had a choice. Our destination is Isalo National Park, a beautiful area close to our village where you can see lemurs quite easily. There are two tourists that hired Jean-Pierre to take them trough the park in a couple of days. Why did Jean-Pierre choose me to go with them? I really do not know, probably because I lay an egg for Jean-Pierre every day.

After some kilometers, the blood starts rising to the head. We as chickens are not used to hang upside down for a long period. After some signals with my fluttering wings it is clear to Jean Pierre that I am not really in a comfortable position. He puts his hands under my fluff belly and puts me in the upright position. I sit like a king on a throne. I know it for sure: this is the perfect life!

The tourists are a tall and somewhat baldy young man and a short girl with glasses and a ponytail. Sometimes they try to talk with me by making some chucking sounds. If they have the feeling that I do not understand them, they give me some bread. Every two hours we have a short break which gives me the possibility to stretch my legs and to grub around a tree. High in the tree are some lemurs and the tourists are busy shooting some photos. The landscape is splendid.

The day comes to an end. Jean-Pierre has found a site for our camp and starts preparing the campfire. The tourists are busy with setting up their tent while I take a rest in the last sunbeams of the day. Jean-Pierre is putting a kettle on the fire and fills it with water, tomatoes, potatoes and a lot of onions. Once in a while he throws some lettuce to me and I realize how strong the link can be between a man and his chicken.

The tourists have finally set up their tent and decide to go for a short stroll around the camp. The female tourist looks at me with watery eyes, but it is no problem for me to be without her for an hour or so. Besides that, I don’t care to miss a clucking woman for a while. Why do tourists talk to animals? Food and water is enough for us. Jean-Pierre understands us like no one else.

While I doze off satisfied in the warm sand, I feel two hands around my neck and within a fraction of a second it happened: I step outside my body and just see how Jean-Pierre picks my feathers, slaughters me, and puts me in the bubbling sauce of water, potatoes, tomatoes and onions. My three-day walking excursion through the Isalo National park ends on the first evening. The last thing I see is that the hypocritical tourists, who said farewell to me with watery eyes, almost eat their fingers off while gnawing away my chicken legs. Don’t cluck in that case!

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