In Agege


A story from my father in law, Gerald Wild about an incident during his days in Nigeria in the 1950s

In Agege town, a little while ago,
Gerald wanted some eggs,
so Moussa brought him six fine hens
and a cockerel with a mighty crow

but very soon the birds began to flag
all the people asked why
‘Agege’s too cold for these birds’
said Moussa with a sigh

Oh no it’s fowl pest they all realised
the birds must surely die
fear not, I’m confident I have the cure,
said Moussa by and by

Mousa headed for the market stalls
came back and took a look
the birds were settled in the dust
with no strength for a cluck

I’ve threepence worth of small red chilies here
wrapped in a paper cone
I know that surely it’s nature’s cure
it will strengthen beak and comb

The birds had just the strength to peck the pods
then with time to spare
they were up and scratching round on their feet
and clucking filled the air

The cockerel flew onto the highest perch
and proudly filled his chest
but a cock without a doodle the only sound
although he did his best

and that’s how Moussa saved the birds
confounding veterinary advice
at just 3d and ½ a cockerel’s crow
it seemed a trivial price

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