Long long ago, when the Elephant was the king of the jungle, the Cock was the finest and most intelligent animal in the kingdom. It was always called upon by the Elephant to settle disputes amongst other animals. The cock also solved difficult riddles that were unsolvable by other animals and it was the special adviser to the Elephant – the elephant would call the cock and ask it before taking any decision. If the cock said, “yes, you can, your highness” the elephant would proceed but an objection by the cock meant the elephant would stop.
Aside its brain, the cock was incontestably the most beautiful animal. Its beauty aroused the jealousy of various birds and animals who knew the closest they could get in competing with the Cock was a second position. The cock’s feathers were bright and beautiful, its legs were slim, straight and trim, its comb looked like the strawberry fruit. The brilliant red color of its crown was envied amongst the animal because it glittered in the sun, its four-toed feet were also used to design the king’s palace.
Then one day while in the field meditating, the cock saw how high the Eagle flew; the Cock began to envy the Eagle because the Eagle could fly to high heavens, the cock wanted to learn how to fly too. It thought the feathers it had were similar to those of the eagle and could be converted for flying instead of being mere coverings.
So, one day the cock told the eagle, “Eagle, I will like to fly to the high heavens like you, I will like to perch on the Iroko tree and see the whole world at a glance, I want to fly over the houses of my enemies and defecate on them, I want to travel far distance like you”
“But you are the king’s adviser and the most beautiful animal in the kingdom, why do you want to leave that special duty and learn to fly and have to hunt for food?” The Eagle enquired.
“I like the way you are, I don’t care if I eat the king’s delicacy, all I know is that I want to fly” the Cock responded.
The Eagle said, “okay, I will teach you”.
“Firstly, you have to discard these weak feathers, you are not going for a beauty pageant” the Eagle commanded
Then the Cock started shedding its feathers till it was naked and ugly. The eagle gave the Cock some of its, but the feathers were those the Eagle had outgrown and was willing to share.
When the other animals saw the Cock after it had shed its feathers and took to the Eagle’s , they were surprised and wanted to know what the Cock was up to.
The Cock and the Eagle started going to the deserts for flying lessons, the Cock tried hard but because its body was bigger and heavier than the feathers, it couldn’t fly long distances, it could only fly ten metres at most.
Then the Eagle told the Cock that it had to change what it ate and eat like it. But the cock’s beaks were not like the Eagle’s so it could not tear big animals that the Eagle gave it to eat, instead, the Cock would comb the streams for insects, it grew hungry and sometimes starved. By now, the Elephant and other council members were unhappy that the Cock was no longer its usual self, it no longer gave good advices that could help the kingdom grow instead it followed the Eagle everywhere it went like a shadow would follow an object.
The Cock also had less time to meditate in the bush as it used to, the Eagle’s feather made it uglier and undesirable, it shrunk with time and its beautiful legs became skinny, still it couldn’t learn how to fly.
One Harmattan morning, the Lion planned a coup and took over because the Elephant no longer got good advice from the Cock, it became weak in decision makings. However, the Lion was lenient with the Elephant so it made it the Defense Minister.
The Cock on the other hand lost its place and continued to shrink till it became so small, its feathers grew but the feathers had to contend with those the Eagle gave it, it became so ugly. So that was how the Cock lost its place in the animal kingdom; it also became a confused animal, other animals didn’t know what exactly to call it- a bird or a land animal.