The Gander and the Bantam-Cock

by W. H. G. Kingston

A goose was seated on her eggs in a quiet corner, not far from a horse-pond, in a farmyard. Up and down before her strode a game-cock, which, watching the calm looks and contented manner of the goose, which contrasted so greatly with his own fiery disposition, began to get angry,—just as human beings who are out of sorts sometimes do with  those who appear happy and smiling. At last, working himself into a downright passion, he flew at the poor goose, pecked out one of her eyes, and while she was attempting to defend herself, trampled on and destroyed several of her eggs. The gander, which was waddling about on the other side of the pond, on seeing what was taking place hastened to the aid of his consort, and attacked the savage cock. The cock of course turned upon him, and a desperate battle ensued. The two combatants, after a time, drew off from each other, both probably claiming the victory.

For some days after this, the cock, taught prudence, allowed the goose to remain in quiet, the gander watching him narrowly. The latter at last, trusting to the lesson he had given the cock, wandered away for provender to a distant part of the yard. No sooner was he gone than the cock, which had all the time been waiting for an opportunity, again assaulted the poor goose. Her loud cries were fortunately heard by the gander, which came tearing along with outstretched wings to her assistance, and seizing the cock by the neck, before the angry bird could turn his head, he hauled him along to the pond. In he plunged, and soon had him in deep water. “I am more than your master now,” thought the gander, as he ducked the cock under the surface; “I will take care you shall never more interfere with my dear goose.” And again and again, he ducked the cock, keeping his head each time longer under water, till at last his struggles ceased, and he was drowned.

It is sinful to harbour the slightest feeling of revenge in our hearts; yet those who attack others unable to defend themselves, either by word or deed, must expect to receive deserved punishment from the more powerful friends of their victims.