10 June 2007

Roosters, Dogs, and Cows: What to do when it's dark out

"Speak to me," he said bluntly and loudly in the night. "Have you nothing to say to me? Who are you? Why are you here? Where do you come from?" And then, a question which Chauntecleer never formed on his own, nor ever would have asked, had he thought about it first: "--Why do I love you?"

His own question so shocked him that he shrugged his shoulders as if there were light in the ditch and he could be seen, as if to say, Forget it: I didn't mean it. And consciously shut his mouth and said no more.

So the last hour of the night passed by. Once or twice he felt--just barely--the prick of her horns upon his back. They kept him wide awake. And in that time it seemed to Chauntecleer that the Dun Dow did speak to him, though he could never remember the language she used, nor the timbre of her voice; and she did not offer any answer to any one of his questions.

But what he learned from her made his spirit bold and his body ready. Three things she gave him: weapons against the enemy. And two he understood immediately. But the third remained a mystery.

Rue, she said, protection
Rooster's crow, confusion.
One thing else to end the deed--
A Dog with no illusion.

Shortly the Dun Cow was gone again, and the Rooster alone in his ditch. And then, with a faint light to make shadows of every solid thing, the night was done and the dire day had begun.

- The Book of the Dun Cow, by Walter Wangerin



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