The Woman, the Chicken and the Grapes

folk tales from frankston

The woman, the chicken and the grapes

There were once a woman and her son who loved chickens.

One day the woman looked at the grapes in her fridge and decided that they were no longer appetising enough for her family to eat. So she and her son took some of the grapes out to feed to the chickens in the garden.

Because the garden was on a steep slope with a hard driveway running through it, the grapes were inclined to roll and the woman and her son laughed in delight to see the chickens run up and down the hill chasing the grapes and one another.

grapes to chickens

But after a short while, the woman noticed that one of the chickens was standing still and jerking its head in an uncomfortable manner. And although her son laughed to see the chicken dancing, the woman saw that this was because the chicken was trying to dislodge a grape that was stuck in its throat.

The boy picked up the chicken and saw that foam was accumulating in its throat as it struggled to breathe. The woman took the chicken and tried to reach a finger down its throat to retrieve the grape. But the throat was too long and too narrow. Then she saw that the bird’s comb was turning blue and that it would soon die if she could not clear its airway. So she gently but firmly blew once down the bird’s throat.

Although this inflated the chicken momentarily in quite a surprising way, it did not dislodge the grape and the boy began to cry. Then the woman in desperation, felt amongst the feathers on the front of the chicken’s neck. She found to her surprise that the grape was very easily detected and she quickly pushed the round lump upwards into the bird’s mouth and out onto the ground where she stamped it flat before another chicken could take it.

The bird began to breathe again and sat contentedly in the woman’s arms as she comforted the boy. Soon the boy stopped crying, and the chicken began scratching around the garden with the others as before.

The next day, the woman saw the remaining grapes in her fridge, which were not good enough for the family to eat, but yet not poor enough to throw onto the compost heap and she said to herself. ‘I will not make the same mistake again. This time I will cut up the grapes so that they do not stick in the chicken’s throat.’ And she pulled out a large chopping board and a very sharp knife and began to slice the grapes.

But the grapes began to roll about the board, and the woman was hard put to cut them without losing them onto the floor. So she held each grape closely and cut them individually saying to herself, ‘a job worth doing is worth doing well’. But holding one grape a little too closely, she accidentally cut off the very tip of her finger and she bled and bled.

The chickens did not mind the blood, nor the tip of the finger. Not a single chicken choked on a grape and there were three eggs in the nesting box that day, each with a yolk as round and yellow as the sun.

21 thoughts on “The Woman, the Chicken and the Grapes

  1. Amanda Tarlau

    Judy, you are a joy. Hope your finger is on the mend and the grape-filled chooks are appreciative :)


  2. Kerrie

    I love this!!!!!!!! I also recognise that the writing and illustrating would have taken a while and it is not a RDO! Watching you. Despite this fact I feel blessed to have read the fable.


    1. Judy Watson Post author

      Thank you Miniscientist. (Devon?) The chicken survives to cluck another day. But she doesn’t lay. She’s focusing on her education and personal interests before she settles down.


  3. Lucinda Gifford

    This tale has everything: drama, laughter (from this reader at least)tears, narrow-escapes. I do hope your finger is healing. Maybe you should also peel the grapes next time.


  4. gailwatson2013

    from my iPad Congrats Jude on a lovely story – one of a series I hope. Has the fingertip fully healed. Did you get a tetanus shot? Loved the illustration.

    Have a lovely Mother’s Day tomorrow. Ga


  5. josoandsew

    I cried a little reading this… what an imagination you have!!! (for I’m sure I would have heard this story last night if it be true…..) x


    1. Judy Watson Post author

      Oh Joita. That’s so lovely. I’m not saying for sure that it is true, but those who were able to make it to the hot springs excursion in March may tell you that a bandaid came off my finger during my massage in the Hamam causing much hilarity. Xx


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