The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1798 Wednesday, 18 July 2001
Date: Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 21:49:25 -0700
Subject: 12.1770 Re: Cockerel's Stone
Comment: Re: SHK 12.1770 Re: Cockerel's Stone
Thanks, Robin Hamilton and Philip Weller, for this fascinating
information, and pardon if it triggers a memory that may have some
bearing on the question.
My dad practiced law in a rural community and one day a client gave him
a big rooster, fortunately slaughtered and plucked but not dressed out.
This task fell to my mom, who was raised on a self-sufficient farm and
had been doing chickens since childhood. She had some choice words
about the toughness of this old bird, and I vividly remember her saying
it had "cods" the size of walnuts. Apparently she didn't consider these
to be the delicacies reported on this list, for they did not appear with
the liver, heart and gizzard in the giblets when this creature was made
into a stew with enough leftovers to rival a Thanksgiving turkey.
Dressing out chickens gave me a real head start on dissecting frogs and
cats years later in the biology lab. I learned to avoid puncturing the
gall bladder and to cut the gizzard so that its contents would come out
cleanly. It always looked like sand or gravel with a few unidentified
bits, but never was I so fortunate as to find anything remotely magic,
bean-shaped or crystalline. As to finding stones in the gizzard,
remember the gizzard does the work of teeth that birds don't have: they
swallow rocks deliberately and the gizzard, which is essentially a big
hollow muscle, contracts to mill the food, cracking the husks of grain
and exoskeletons of insects. So it's understandable if city slickers
ancient and modern call it a stomach.
Earlier on than the rooster episode, our family kept chickens as part of
a victory garden. A regular Chanticleer and Pertelote arrangement,
where several hens were allowed to hatch broods, though the flock was
augmented by occasional trips to the feed store to acquire chicks of
some beautiful species of Wyandotte or Rock or maybe Araucana. I had
some painful run-ins with some of the cockerels before their date with
the frying pan, and I can tell you that a hit from their spur can raise
a hard welt, a "perillous knocke" indeed.
My chickens all had names, taken from the Old Testament and the comic
singing 'O The Days of the Kerry Dancing'
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