The Magic Island

By B. Seabrook; Alexander King | Go to book overview

Chapter V
POLYNICE AND HIS WHITE

CONSTANT said it was the little snake that had wriggled across our path. Only a couple of fools, he said, would have gone on to the cockfight on that particular Sunday morning. But I think it was the fault of the airplane that dropped bonbons for Julie.

Of course, Constant and I both had it coming to us. He had been giving me lessons for some time past, and I had proven a fairly apt pupil. We had been winning steadily. He was proud of me and I am afraid we had begun to strut and crow as vainly as any of the silly roosters. It hadn't been always merely luck, either. Nor had it always been the superior fighting quality of Constant's birds. It isn't always what's hatched out of an egg that counts in these Haitian cockfights. We had been sitting up nights. There had been the problem, for instance, of a conspicuous little red cock, Le Rouleur (The Roller), so named because he fought in a peculiar way, rolling, or weaving. He was deadly, but he might as well have been dead. Osmann and the crowd only laughed at us when we offered to match him against cocks almost twice his size. It had taken us a good many nights to work that out. It had involved some amateur plastic surgery which completely changed the appearance of Le Rouleur's comb, and it had involved waiting patiently for a small can of floor-stain. We had tried ordinary paint, but it wouldn't work. However, when we finally finished the job, Le Rouleur's own hen mother wouldn't have recognized him. Then we planted him down at Pointe-àRacquette. On market-day I bought him, for five gourdes.

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