Harvest - A story from Africa

Do any of you keep chickens?   We do.   Until a few weeks ago we had around 18 – now, though, when I counted them yesterday we had only 13.   There is a fox around which keeps coming into our garden looking for a tasty snack.

People around the world keep chickens – for the eggs they lay, as well as for their meat.   Once upon a time, in a little African village, miles from anywhere, lived seven hens and a cockerel.   Every morning they were let out of their little hen house to go and peck in the dirt and do all the things that chickens normally do.   Every evening they would go back into their hen house and be locked up, to keep them safe from jackals – which are just as keen to eat chickens as foxes are here.  


One evening, the cockerel stayed out late.   He’d found some freshly dug soil where there were lots of worms.   While he was tugging at a particularly juicy worm, however, a jackal crept up behind him.   With a huge leap he landed on the cockerel, and his paws grabbed the cockerel by his tail. Feathers flew everywhere as the cockerel struggled to get free.


The jackal had no intention of letting go.   The cockerel thought hard.   What was it he had seen the people in the village do before their meals?  Just as the jackal was about to begin eating him, the cockerel said: 'Don't you say a prayer before your meal?'  The jackal paused.   'A prayer? What's that?' 'People put their hands together and close their eyes,' said the cockerel.

So the jackal clasped his front paws together.
'You must close your eyes as well,' said the cockerel. So the jackal shut his eyes and in that instant the cockerel flapped his wings hard, shook himself free and flew away. In a flash he was back in the village, safe.


Did you see how the cockerel had noticed that the people in the African village where he lived thanked God every time they had a meal?


At harvest time we also thank God for the food we eat, and for those who farm the land.   Harvest comes only once a year, however.   The story of the jackal and the cockerel reminds us that, like the people in that African village, we need to thank God for our food the whole year round.   After all, if they hadn’t thanked God each time they sat down to eat, the cockerel might never have learned the trick which helped to escape from the jackal.  

Based on material from USPG - for the full assembly click here

Back to Assemblies - Christopher Harrison