Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Horrific Folktales of the Turkeys: Red Wattle

While this story doesn't connect to today's holiday, it's never a bad time to learn more about the turkey culture.  So enjoy this tale, and happy holidays!

            Listen closely children to these harrowing tales.  They have been passed down from turkey to turkey for many generations, being translated from the ancient Gobbleguese to our modern French along the way.  While they may make your feathers shiver, if you pay attention, you may avoid a fate similar to what befalls our poor friends in these stories.

            Once upon a time, in a farm very similar to the one we’re at now, a young turkey woke up to greet the day.
            “Good morning, day,” said the young poult.  He was a very outgoing turkey, which served him well in his juvenile quest to make as many friends as possible.
            The turkey rolled ungracefully from his straw bed and stretched his skinny yellow legs.  His talons glistened in the morning sun.  He was a hygienic fowl:  he brushed his teeth twice a day, bathed without complaining, kept his feathers trimmed, and—
Sorry, I got distracted.  I’ll get back to the story now, children.
Before we continue, I should tell you our charming turkey protagonist’s name:  Red Wattle.  All turkeys’ wattles are red, but Red Wattle’s wattle was redder than them all.  Hence the nickname.
After Red Wattle had completed his morning hygiene routine, he decided he would pay the farm’s turkey elder a visit.  The elder always had sage advice to give, which as we all know is better than oregano advice.  However, to get to the elder’s coop, one had to follow a dark path through the cornfields.  Red Wattle had taken this path before, but never alone.
Before embarking on his guidance-seeking trip, the juvenile bird asked his turkey peers if anyone would accompany him.  No luck:  being the turkey equivalent of human teenagers, they were all still asleep.  Red Wattle shrugged off this silent rejection and went on his gobbling way.
Before long, Red Wattle noticed that something was stalking him among the corn stalks.  He cautiously took a few hops forward, then whirled around, trying to see what it was.  Nothing.  The turkey shrugged it off and continued on his way.  Then he heard a distinct rustling.  Something was definitely following him.  He bellowed a great gobble to try scaring it off.  Unsure of his success, Red Wattle cautiously took a few more steps.  Suddenly, a red fox jumped out in front of him, baring his teeth in a vicious smile.
“Where are you going?” snarled the fox.
            “To see the turkey elder,” replied Red Wattle, trying to appear brave.
            “I can see you’re trying to appear brave,” said the fox.
            “Why do you say that?”
            “Because I only speak the truth.”
            Red Wattle pondered this statement, finding that it was a surprisingly appealing conclusion to draw.
            “The turkey elder only speaks the truth, too,” added the turkey.
            “So I’ve heard.  What do they call you, young turkey?” inquired the fox.
            “Red Wattle,” said Red Wattle.  “It’s because of my red waddle.”
            “So unoriginal, yet so fitting,” the fox said with a smack of his lips.
            “Well, I really must be on my way,” said the turkey, starting to get uncomfortable.
            “But of course.  I did not mean to delay you,” said the fox apologetically.  “May we meet again some day.”
            Red Wattle nodded curtly and began to trot off, now anxious to reach the turkey elder and tell him about his interaction with the fox.
            The fox, being a fox, was two legs in front of the turkey, and rushed to the elder’s coop.  Finding him alone, he gulped up the fowl without explanation, hardly even tasting him on the way down.   With controlled haste, the fox plucked all of the elder’s feathers and covered himself with them.  Judging himself sufficiently turkey-like, the fox closed his eyes and napped as he waited.
            Within an hour, Red Wattle reached the coop and hopped inside.  He sniffed the air; something wasn’t quite right.
            “The straw probably hasn’t been changed today,” Red Wattle reasoned to himself as he approached the elder.  “Awake, oh turkey elder, for I have traveled far to seek your advice.”
            The fox awoke with a start.  “Oh, er, yes, yes, my son.  What would you like to ask me?”
            The turkey peered at the canine, but couldn’t place his wing on what was off-kilter.  Red Wattle asked the question that he had been prepping during his journey:  “Why do farmers mercilessly slaughter all the turkeys every year on T-Day?”
            The fox, unprepared for this hard-hitting question, laughed nervously, carelessly showing his unturkey-like teeth in the process.
            Quickly forgetting his first question, Red Wattle offered a follow-up.  “Why are your teeth so sharp, elder turkey?”
            “They help me to gnash up untruths to get to the facts of life,” replied the fox coolly.  He gave a chuckle, which caused a hastily placed feather to fall of his body.
            “Why are your feathers falling out?” questioned Red Wattle.  He was beginning to notice that something fishy was going on in the coop.
            “I hate to tell you this, son, but that’s what happens with old age.”
            As much as Red Wattle wanted to be suspicious, all of the elder’s answers made perfect sense.  He decided one more question would suffice.  As soon as he took a glance around the coop, he knew would the inquiry would be.  “Why is there a dead turkey that looks exactly like the elder turkey but without any feathers laying in the straw?”
            The fox slowly turned his feather-laden head to see where Red Wattle was pointing.  In his rush to eat the turkey and take a nap (that darn tryptophan), the fox had carelessly forgotten to dispose of the fowl body.  “Uh, he wasn’t feeling very well, so he decided to take a nap,” stammered the fox.  “I’m the elder’s cousin from the neighboring farm.  He asked me to fill in for him until he felt better.”
            “No you’re not!  You’re the fox that was following me earlier,” exclaimed the young turkey.  “And now you’re planning on eating me!”
            “You’re exactly right,” snarled the fox, shaking off the remaining turkey feathers.  “So you better start running!”
            And run Red Wattle did.  Right out the door of the coop and into the legs of Farmer Brown, who was coming to change out the straw.  The fox came barreling out after the turkey, but stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the human.  Farmer Brown might not have been the smartest tractor on the farm, but he could plainly see what was happening.  With a deft grab, he scooped up the fox by its tail and carried it back to the barn.  Even though the farmers eat us on T-Day, sometimes they do bring some good to the turkey world.
            Red Wattle never found out exactly what happened to that fox.  All the turkey knew was that the fox never bothered him again.  Red Wattle, after completing his studies, became the new turkey elder.  He lived a long and prosperous life.  Until T-Day.

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