Saturday, 10 April 2010

Le Coq Gaulois.

In 1994 two Parisian men arrived in this small bastide town (above), and set up shop as 'antique dealers' in the main street. They also set up home together a little way out of town.

Unfortunately their morning beauty sleep soon became disturbed by the sound of next-door's crowing cockerel; a sound that is perfectly normal in the countryside, anywhere in the world.

They asked the owner of the bird to make it stop; he wouldn't. They threatened him with law suits; he didn't care. Eventually these two 'antique dealers' consulted a lawyer and, as threatened, a process against the farmer was started.

The Judge found himself in a difficult dilemma, and was obliged to find in favour of the two men. He awarded them 1 franc in damages; the closest thing to a good slap in the face that he could summon.

The local population was both outraged and elated, and in celebration of what they saw as a great bucolic victory, they organised a giant day-long fete in the town. Schoolchildren made banners, farmers arrived with a huge assortment of animals, and a damned good time was had by all. The two 'antique dealers' ended up with egg on their faces, and have been shunned by the local population ever since; I have a feeling that they shall remain friendless for ever.

I've always rather liked the cartoon, above, that was drawn to commemorate the event. It hangs in our kitchen.

p.s. The word 'Cocorico' is the French equivalent to 'Cock-a-doodle-do'.

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1 comment:

  1. That's a good story, m'lady, with many parallels in rural Britain. I heard an American stand-up recently, whose way of breaking the ice in every country was to ask "What do your roosters say?" A few years ago, I heard a group of 10 year old French kids ask their English counterparts, in a restaurant, what our pigs say 'if you hurt them' They answered, "Ouch!".