The Story of the Grateful Egg

We all mourned the passing of Mattie.

My boss had a chicken called Mattie. A character in every sense, she developed a problem which couldn’t be sorted out, and became unbalanced ( physically: her self image remained intact until the last) and one day decided enough was enough and quit.

My boss did not tell us when Mattie died. But she did announce, last week, that she was about to collect a total of five new chickens to occupy the coop in the garden.

Two of them were from a traditional source; but three came from a battery farm. Rescue chickens, bald with clipped wings and the air of pasty orphans dazed from a rather nightmare existence.

When she said they were coming I cheered. For no chicken could want for a better home than the leafy surrey garden of this vegetarian and confirmed animal lover. I knew the chickens were destined for a surfeit of joy, scooped as they had been from Fowl Hades to land in Chicken Elysium.

I would say they have lived with her less than a week: one sunlit weekend caressed by warm English winds and a few rain-drenched weekdays. None of us knew whether the scrawny half-lives would lay. It was the talk of the Portacabin where we ply our heritage trade. We waited, expectant.

And today, the answer arrived in not one, but two egg boxes.

My boss gives us eggs: she looks after us. And roundabout 9am the box of six eggs was placed carefully on my desk and the Portacabin full of staff began to discuss them. Proudly, my boss pointed out who had laid which egg.

One egg stood out by a mile. It was absolutely huge: it dwarfed every other egg. I asked after its creator and learned that this huge egg came from one of her little scrawny orphans, not from the well adjusted chickens who had led a healthy existence.

What better way to thank the Universe? What greater celebration of the transition from a tiny corset-cage far from the sunlight, crushed against other desperate little souls, to a sunlit Surrey garden in midsummer, with rose-scent and lavender on the warm wind?

The egg sits in my egg box this evening, and though I shall celebrate it along with the chicken which made it eventually, I wanted just a few hours to marvel at the power of every being in this great cosmos of ours to say Thank You.

It is endlessly, joyfully humbling.

 

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20 thoughts on “The Story of the Grateful Egg

  1. What a delightful perspective you’ve placed on this egg. It is a seed of joy, and yet I find even greater hope for humanity by the fact that there are folks who rescue poor, scrawny chickens. Kinda makes my heart have a happy cluck to its beat.

  2. We – and friends – would buy the battery chickens when they were turfed out at the end of their ‘useful’ life….it was a joy to see how they adapted to freedom…how they learned to scratch up the earth, looking for insects. And they lived for years, laying jolly good eggs until they decided that enough was enough and retired, content to snooze int he shrubbery in summer and tuck up in the straw in the hen house in winter.
    Dear little ladies.

    1. Helen, your chickens sound wonderful, and their transformation food for the soul 🙂 *Sigh* Alas, I cannot try it for myself with two big burly dogs. I would love to, one day.

  3. I think happy happy cows give sweeter milk, so why not a grateful chicken producing a “golden” egg! Battery cages are illegal in California. We passed a law in 2008 that chickens need room to move freely, which resulted in the higher cost of eggs, but I do think the eggs are larger…and maybe even a little prettier. 🙂

    1. I am so looking forward to having my happy egg, Debra, at which point I shall be able to pronounce on its deliciousness. I have high hopes 🙂 All the best as you get ready to leave that work desk of yours permanently, Friend.

  4. The Dulwich Cattery (alas now closed) was home to waif and stray cats and ex caged hens. Seeing the new arrivals blossom from the scrawny scarred creatures to birds who could hold their own with any number of cats was a great pleasure. I don’t know if you follow Lorely on Blogspot, and if you don’t, correct that pronto as she is one of the best writers on the planet, but she keeps hens, some of whom are called the Great Escapees having been rescued from appalling conditions. http://lorely-writingfromtheedge.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/when-will-caged-bird-sing.html
    She also now has a blog on WP as Blogspot regularly shuts those of us from other tribes out.

    1. Isobel, how fabulous to hear from you, and thank you for telling us about the Great Escapees and their blogging ringleader. I shall look forward to settling down for a read as soon as possible 🙂

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