When the local hen hatches her chicks, she goes crazy at the slightest move anyone or anything makes towards them. She fights the hawks, she fights the snakes, she fights the scorpions and other dangerous animals. She fights the lions, the elephants and giants for their sake. She puts her life on the line every moment of the day to keep them safe.
She teaches them the language of safety and speaks to them when it’s time to run to safety. She calls them along and makes sure they followed wherever she went. She counts them each time to make sure they’re complete and mourns when any misses.
When the hen picks food, she drops it for them each time and never ever eats until they’re satisfied. She abandons her body to them for warmth and nurture during the day and at night. When it’s morning, she works hard to carter to their needs and to protect them all day long.
But one day, when the chicks are old enough to fend for themselves, the hen uses her beak on them brutally, each time they come around her. She treats them with such brutality that keeps one curious. Is this the same hen – the same mother of these children? Were they the ones she once put her life on the line to protect? Were they the ones she was ready to starve and die for? Were they the ones she couldn’t go anywhere without.
One wonders if ever that heart beating in her felt anything close to love for them. If she ever loved them as her dear children from the onset.
Yes. She did love them and she still loves them.
When they are newly hatched, she knows their lives lie in her hands and that without her they die. So, she has to do all it takes to protect and give them life.
As they get matured, she knows it’s time for them to go out there and live an independent life because she won’t always be there. Soon the rooster will come around and she will have to go through the same rigor of with bearing other children. Soon she will be left with no choice than to live without them. Things might get worse; she might die.
Her brutality towards them is to let them know that she won’t always be there and when she is gone, no one can be trusted with their survival. No one helps, if you don’t help yourself. No one feeds you if you don’t feed yourself and no one keeps you safe except yourself.
Soon, the matured chicks learn to survive on their own. Soon, they begin to appreciate the montrous treatment they received from her, when they begin to enjoy the freedom and blessings that come with independence. They learn to fight their battles, either to win or to loose. They learn to live, all by themselves, each one of them.
That’s when the hen can say, I’ve done my duty well.
If the hen failed to nurture, protect and fend for her clicks when they’re vulnerable, if she failed to teach them survival mechanism, if she failed to force them to survive all by themselves, the hen failed on it’s duty as a mother.
Featured Image by Micheal Anfang