Some yolklore at Lakshmipura

Cocktale

Gangappa, the owner of the cock said he had bought it 15 days ago and on Sunday he noticed the cock perched in the posture of a hen hatching an egg.

When he nudged the cock aside, he found that it was sitting on an egg, Gangappa claimed. The egg was slightly bigger than the usual chicken egg, rough on surface, Gangappa said.

A Nagendra, one of the hundreds of neighbours who flocked to Gangappa’s house to see the strange cock and “its” egg, said Gangappa consulted an astrologer who advised him not to keep the cock in the house as it was a harbinger of an ill omen.

Mistaken identity

Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department Dr Ashwak told Deccan Herald that cocks do not lay eggs.

Sometimes, hens that show abnormal growth are mistaken for the male chicken, he added.

“Sometimes cocks which belong to the species of emu also behave like hens. However, the same can’t be said about the local breed of cocks,” he said.

What he perhaps meant to say was that there are varieties of male birds that hatch eggs, such as the rhea, a large, flightless bird native to South America and is part of the family of birds known as ratites, which also includes the ostrich, emu, kiwi and cassowary.

Examination

Ashwak, however asserted that the truth can be confirmed only after examining the cock in question.

Cock egg is an archaic term for a yolkless egg. Since they contained no yolk and therefore can't hatch, it was traditionally believed that these eggs were laid by roosters.

This gave rise to the myth in the western folklore that when a cock's egg was hatched it would produce a cockatrice, a fearsome serpent which could kill with its evil stare, also known as a basilisk.

Preventive measure

According to the superstition, this could be prevented by throwing the egg over the family dwelling so that it smashed at the other side without touching the roof.

Considering the large number of curious onlookers flocking his house, Gangappa may not ready to throw the egg over his house. At least, not yet.

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