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The Chicken with No Tail Feathers Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Deedot, Philippines Jun 24, 2003
Culture   Short Stories


*It was the first hatching season in Mang Teban’s chicken farm and ten proud mother hens paraded their chicks for the other chickens to see.

As Mrs. Inahing Itim (Black Hen) displayed her little dear ones, laughter filled the range.

“Buk-buk-bukak! Buk-buk-bukak!” went the other chickens.

They noticed that one of Mrs. Inahing Itim’s chicks was very odd; she had shorter wing feathers and had no tail feathers.

“Buk-buk-bukak!” went the chickens again.

Mrs. Inahing Itim turned to her poor daughter and comforted her. “Don’t cry my dear Ponggay (a term of endearment), everything has a purpose.” she consoled her.

*One full moon passed and the chicks now a little grown-up joined the older chickens in making fun of the odd chick.

“Buk-buk-bukak! Buk-buk-bukak!” came the loud laughter of the chickens.

Then one mother called out, “Hey, Ponggak (meaning, bald rump), still don’t have tail feathers yet?”

“Maybe you’re not a chicken after all!” a rooster added.

“Buk-buk-bukak! Buk-buk-bukak!” went the other chickens.

*Another full moon passed and chicken flu swept across Mang Teban’s farm, killing a lot of chickens. Ponggay’s siblings along with their mother gave in to the flu and died. Only Ponggay survived in her family.

When Ponggay was grieving her loss, she remembered the comforting words her mother spoke to her, “Don’t cry dear Ponggay, everything has a purpose.”

But before Ponggay could console herself, the surviving chickens turned to her in anger.

“You caused all these! You have brought this curse among us!” they shouted.

Then they flocked around Ponggay and cruelly plucked several of her feathers.

*For two moon phases Ponggay suffered the cold night winds without the protection of her feathers. She also endured a couple of rainy nights, which caused her to have the colds. Worst of all, she had to go through days of ridicule, harsh comments, along with some feather-plucking menaces.

Still without tail feathers and bearing the cruelty of the other chickens, she asked herself what her mother, Mrs. Inahing Itim could have meant when she said, “Don’t cry my dear Ponggay, everything has a purpose.”

*Six full moons later, Mang Teban’s wife got sick and every day she wanted her meals to be chicken: pospas (chicken porridge), tinolang manok (chicken soup), linagpang (grilled chicken soup), halang-halang (spicy chicken soup), sinigang (sour chicken soup), and other native recipes.

So every morning, Mang Teban would lure the chickens with corn grits.

“Kurrrrrt. Kurrrrrt,” he would call out. Mang Teban would then quickly grab one chicken with his bare hands.

Mang Teban would always miss Ponggay for it was not easy to get hold of a chicken with no tail feathers to clutch on to. So it was always a chicken with tail feathers that had the trip to the kitchen.

Ponggay now realized, “…everything has a purpose.”

The other chickens were fearful and they now realize how fortunate Ponggay was to have no tail feathers.

Several full moons passed and this misfortune was soon forgotten.

*On the fifth hatching season on Mang Teban’s farm, over a hundred new mother hens displayed their chicks for other chickens to see. Ponggay was there too, with ten of her own chicks.

“Buk-buk-bukak! Buk-buk-bukak!” went the other chickens.

They noticed that one of Ponggay’s chicks was just like her; she had shorter wing feathers and had no tail feathers.

“Buk-buk-bukak! Buk-buk-bukak!” went the chickens again.

Ponggay turned to her little one and with a smile she said, “Don’t cry my Palangga (meaning, Precious), everything has a purpose.”



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