John W Partington
suspend disbelief - have an adventure


“Pa! That crazy monk is here again!”

“What do you want Redcale?” The monk looked up while James Miller stood impatiently.

“I would like to inspect your poultry,” Redcale humbly answered.

“Again!” James sighed, “What do you expect to find today that you haven’t found before? You’ve been coming here since I was a child!”

“The time of the final battle is close at hand; the compass of Erideth has led me here, again. If I don’t find the five chickens of destiny, all is lost!” James Miller looked at the monk, and frowned. Redcale had been coming to his farm for almost thirty years; he always spouted the same tale of a final battle between the forces of good and evil. The only thing, Redcale claimed, that would turn the tide of battle were the five chickens of destiny. Redcale had grown old and shabby during his quest. He had a tired look about him. Thirty years of constant questing had taken its toll.

“Fine,” James sighed, “Take a look at the chickens. Look at the geese and ducks while you’re at it. Maybe you’re looking for the wrong animal, Redcale. I’ve got a farm to run. I don’t have time for a crazy old man who has a poultry fetish.” James gave his son a gentle shove toward the farm house, and then he walked toward the barn.

Redcale paused for a moment, and then started toward the chicken coop. From a pocket in his robes he withdrew a small silver compass. The needle, instead of pointing north, was spinning wildly in circles. The spinning meant that Redcale was close, very close. The compass would point to the first of the mystic chickens, and then the second when the first was found, and so on. The compass was supposed to be more exact, but in thirty years it had never worked the way Redcale thought it should.

The coop smelt of mold and chicken poop. When he started looking for the five chickens Redcale found the smell revolting. After thirty years of searching the smell was a welcome friend. He went to the first hen, an older bird, reached underneath her plump body, and then yanked her leg out. He touched the leg to the compass; nothing happened. When one of the chickens of destiny touched the compass it would glow, and then point to the next chicken.

The hen settled back into her nest. It was not the first time the hen had been tested, and she had grown used to the treatment. The rest of the chickens were not so complacent. They pecked, and scratched, but in the end Redcale won. It was a hollow victory because none of the chickens were the one he was looking for. Redcale checked the chicks that were rooting around their mothers. None of the chicks were the promised chicken either.

“Any luck?” James Miller asked from the coop door.

“No,” Redcale sighed, “None of these are what I’m looking for. I couldn’t catch the rooster, but I suppose he’s the same one that I tested last year?”
“It is. You know, chickens don’t live that long.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve been looking for these magic chickens for as long as I can remember. A chicken only lives seven or eight years at the longest. Most live less. Maybe your super chickens are already dead and eaten.”

“But the compass leads me here.”

“Maybe it’s broken.”

“I had thought that,” Redcale admitted, “I have searched every chicken coop in the Five Kingdoms just in case the compass is wrong. Thirty years I’ve been looking. The time of battle is almost upon us, and I am no closer to the answer. You’re not the only farmer that grows sick at the sight of me; you’re just the first on the list.”

“Maybe your prophecy is wrong. Maybe the final battle takes place thirty years from now. Are you going to spend the rest of your life rooting around in chicken coops?”

“It is a small price to pay, but for now I need a rest.”

“You can spend the night. I’ll have the wife cook up one of these ordinary chickens.”

“I appreciate that James. I’ll leave for the abbey tomorrow morning.”

Magic chickens? I must know more:

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