Excerpt from the book “African Nights”

… Horny Goat Weed

While travelling in South Africa, we passed through a village that was selling large carved cockerels. Well, in South Africa every roadside has people selling carvings, hats and almost everything, but I had not seen any other place were they were selling cockerels.

I asked the guide why they were selling cockerels in this particular village.

“That’s because of Rasputin,” he said.

“Who was Rasputin?” I asked.

“Well,” said our guide, “there was this farmer, and his old cockerel was getting very old and could not service the hens any more. So the farmer went to the local market to buy a new cockerel.

“I need a new cockerel because mine is too old,” he said when he found the trader.

“I only have three cockerels at the moment. Come and look and take your pick,” the trader said.

So the farmer went into the enclosure and saw three cockerels. The first cockerel was a big blue/black chap who looked very proud and was strutting around the pen. His name is King. The second cockerel was a glossy red colour and looked very haughty and powerful his name was Nero. The third cockerel was a brown, skinny, very tatty and moth eaten looking creature that pecked away at the weeds in the corner of the pen his name was Rasputin.

Farmer Jones looked at the three cockerels and decided to take King, as he looked like a proud strong chap.

So the farmer paid the trader, took King home and put him in with the chickens.

King’s pecker came up and he dashed around the hen house giving all the hens a good seeing to. Then he promptly dropped dead.

‘That’s no good’ thought the farmer. ‘He goes once around the hens and drops dead. He must have had a weak heart.’

The following morning, he took the dead King back to the trader and explained what had happened.

“Well,” says the trader, “I am sorry. You had better take one of the other cockerels in exchange.”

So the farmer again went into the pen and looked at the two remaining cockerels. He looked at Nero and thought he looked strong and powerful.

“I will take Nero,” he told the trader.

So he took Nero back to the farm and put him in with the hens.

Nero’s pecker came up and he dashed into the hen house. But he ran straight past all the hens and ran up to the old cockerel and started giving him a good old seeing to. Nero showed no interest in the hens. ‘Well that’s no good,’ thought the farmer ‘he must be a gay cockerel.’

The next morning the farmer took Nero back to the trader and explained what had happened.

“Well I’ll be,” said the trader. “You had better bring him back and I will exchange him. But I only have Rasputin left.”

The farmer went into the pen and looked at Rasputin, still nibbling away at the weeds in the corner of the pen. He still looked skinny and tatty but the farmer thought, ‘well he is the only one left and he can only be any better that the last two,’ so he decided to take him.

So he took Rasputin back to the farm and put him in with the hens. Rasputin’s pecker came up and he dashed into the hen house and gave every one of those hens the best time they had had in a very long time.

Loud clucks and grunts emitted from the pen and after about an hour there were a lot of hens lying around with their feet in the air, looking exhausted.

But Rasputin barely looked winded. His head came up and looked around and saw that over the fence were the farmer’s free range pigs. Over the fence he jumped and started to have sex with the pigs. Well, there was squeaking and squealing and to cut a long story short, those pigs had never had such a good time, even when the farmer would bring the old boar around once a twice a year.

At the end of an hour, the pigs were all lying on the ground with contented sighs. But Rasputin hardly looked exerted; he put his head up and sniffed the air and started looking around again.

Just down the lane was farmer Smutz’s prize dairy farm and off went Rasputin in that direction.

Farmer Jones followed but by the time he reached farmer Smutz’s farm, Rasputin had found the cows in the barn, and there was a mowing and a lowing and all sorts of havoc going on. Daisy, Clover and Dandelion had never had such a good time. Farmer Jones arrives and farmer Smuts was absolutely furious.

“Some bloody cockerel has just come in and ravished all my prize cows.”

“Where did he go?” asked farmer Jones.

“He went off over that way towards old Farmer Burton’s ostrich farm,” said farmer Smuts.

“Oh no,” said farmer Jones, as he rushed off down the road.

He heard the commotion long before he reached farmer Burton’s ostrich farm. There was all sorts of hullabaloo going on and he could hear an outraged farmer Burton shouting and yelling.

By the time farmer Jones reached the ostrich farm there was no sign of Rasputin.

“Where did he go?” farmer Jones spluttered.

“That darn cockerel, he ran off towards the water hole,” replied farmer Burton between gasps of fury.

Off went Farmer Jones towards the water hole, where he saw Rasputin lying on the ground. ‘He must be dead from exhaustion,’ thought the farmer. ‘Well he was a game old bird. I can’t just leave him there to be eaten by hyenas I’ll take him home and give him a decent burial.’

Farmer Jones started off towards Rasputin, but as he got nearer he heard him s you of the corner of his beak: “Go away; the vultures will be down in minute.”

The next day farmer went to see the trader and told him what had happened.

“What did your feed him on?” asked farmer Jones.

“We never fed him,” replied the trader, “he just ate the weeds in the corner of the pen.”

“What do you call those weeds?” farmer Jones asked.

“Horny Goat Weed,” replied the trader.