Silly GOOSE? Really?

A persistent scratching sound underneath my window drew my attention.  Curious, I got up to investigate, as I'd heard tales of various wild animals entering the farm.

To my disappointment I discovered some hens and ducks scratching away.  A large goose lifted his long neck off the ground and honked at me.  He was soon joined by the rest of the gaggle, making quite a din.  Their rising crescendo was interrupted by my cousin Shahanaz yelling, "Shut up! You silly geese!"

Pointing at the handsome white gander I said, "He's a noisy fellow".  "That's our mad-cap - Majnu", said Shahanaz.  "We named him that as he's madly in love with his female partner Laila.  There she is - the one with the brown wings - right beside him.  The two of them are inseparable.  The problem is - Majnu thinks everyone wants to steal the love of his life from him and attacks anyone, human or feathered, that dares to go near Laila.  He is insanely possessive about her.  You better watch out for him!  Once a young boy was chasing Laila around, laughing as she ran this way and that.  Majnu came from behind and pecked him right on his bottom.  What a shock the boy got!  He gave up chasing birds after that!

My dad always says geese are better than watchdogs", Shahanaz informed me.  "They are very alert to intruders.  One day, my dad sacked a thieving laborer and told him not to return.  He slunk in at night with some evil intention in mind.  The dogs didn't bark at him as he was familiar to them but Majnu who was dozing with his head under his wing got disturbed by his presence and raised the alarm, honking away.  He even gave him a peck or two.  We were just in time to see him beating a hasty retreat and disappearing from sight for good."

"How come Majnu doesn't attack you?" I asked.  "That's another story", she said.  "I was cleaning out the stables one morning when Majnu appeared making a racket.  He stretched out his wings, flapping them, trying desperately to draw my attention.  'Go away Silly Goose!' I said; but he kept coming and pecking and pulling at my trousers.  Suddenly, I realized that his lady love, Laila, was not with him.  That's strange, I thought.  I felt like Majnu wanted me to follow him, which I did. 

He led me to a new chicken mesh fence we were putting up.  There was a gap in it which Laila had tried to squeeze through and had got stuck in.  The more she flapped her wings and struggled, the more she got trapped.  A concerned Majnu honked and strutted back and forth beside her as if to say, 'Don't worry.  Help is at hand.'  I lifted and bent the fencing enough for Laila to go through. 

She was fine apart from a few ruffled feathers and the two of them waddled to the pond and jumped in with a splash of relief.  Ever since then, Majnu considers me a friend."

Out on a walk one evening, Shahanaz and I heard a hissing sound coming from a bush. 

We assumed it was a snake until suddenly crazy Majnu emerged with his neck down like a snake, charging at us in attack mode.  But when he saw Shahanaz, he stopped in his tracks and turned his back on us and waddled away indignantly.
 
"Laila must be laying her eggs in that bush", whispered Shahanaz.

Sure enough, on the day I was leaving, Laila and Majnu came along with a group of four goslings in tow, marching past in single file.  Majnu looked like a proud band master leading his troupe and they all gave me a maddeningly loud honking send off - a fitting farewell.

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