11 September 2007

"Chicken Eats Flies." (1913)

[The Rabbit samples stories from past issues of Chatham County's longest-running newspaper. See description of Chatham Rabbit Reads the RECORD, version 2.0.]

The Rabbit has long harbored a diabolical scheme by which I capture the world's imagination by passing off a sample of my own prose as the first two paragraphs of a long-lost Flannery O'Connor story. But I must abandon my dreams today, for I realize that I could never do any better than the following, from the RECORD of June 11, 1913:
Chicken Eats Flies.

Our venerable townsman, Capt J.J. Crump, has a pet chicken that he is raising on flies, and the chicken seems to enjoy its diet. The captain is so disabled by the wound in his leg received at the battle of Reams' Station that he walks with much difficulty and spends much of his time seated in a large armchair on the sidewalk in front of his room. One of his amusements is killing flies with a fly-swatter, at which he has become an expert, and the chicken stays near his feet and watches the movements of the fly-swatter with much interest and quickly seizes and swallows every fly that is hit.

It is quite amusing to see that chicken watch the fly-swatter and pounce upon the smitten fly. It is very tame and does not become frightened at the approach of strangers.
As in an O'Connor story, the thing one loves must be lost forever within two weeks, no more (June 25):
Pet Chicken Dead.

We regret to announce the death of the pet chicken of Capt. J.J. Crump, of this place, mention of which was recently made in these columns. It is not known whether too large a consumption of flies was the cause of death. To console him for the loss of his pet the captain has adopted another pet chicken which he is also feeding flies, and it is hoped that this diet will not have the same fatal results as on the former chicken.
(Honest, I wrote all of this post up to here before I read on Wikipedia that when she was five, Flannery O'Connor taught a chicken to walk backwards. Or that her chicken appeared in newsreels around the country and she said, "That was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me. It's all been downhill from there." You have no reason to believe this, I know. But it's wondrous true.)

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