🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

African Joy and Sorrow

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Maree©

"The triumph of life is the joy experienced thereafter."
- Maree

A couple of years ago, one of my guinea fowl sitting on eggs was killed by a dog, leaving 10 eggs, on the point of hatching, without a mother. I gathered all the eggs and put them in a basket with a hot water bottle, trying to keep them warm to see if any of them would hatch. Two days later still nothing, but on the third day I heard a weak peep-peep from one of the eggs. None of the others showed any sign of life, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and open the one that was peeping. I gently peeled away the shell and lifted out a perfectly formed little guinea fowl, and placed him on the warm towel, drying his little body with a soft cloth until he lifted his little head and stared me straight in the eye.

That was the beginning of a beautiful, long relationship with "Guinea", who spent five years following me everywhere and providing us with endless hours of pleasure with his surprising antics. He even lured a wild guinea fowl female from the wild (they used to pass through our property in large flocks, travelling from one field to another) and together they reared 5 clutches of beautiful little guinea fowl, all of whom stayed on our property for many years.

When Guinea's wife disappeared one day, he was inconsolable, standing on the wall and calling for hours in that haunting 'phe-twee, phe-twee, phe-twee' that is so typical of the South African bush. After that, he would often disappear for a day or two until, one day, he didn't come home at all. I hoped and presumed that he had found another family and was happily roaming the fields surrounding our property.

“This life as you live it now and have lived it, you will have to live again and again, times without number, and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and all the unspeakably small and great in your life must return to you and everything in the same series and sequence -- and in the same way this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and this same way this moment and I myself. The eternal hour glass of existence will be turned again and again -- and you with it, you dust of dust!”
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Guinea and one of his babies


  1. Lovely story, the real life ones are the best. Guinea was a beautiful bird.

  2. Thank you for popping in Glennis, and yes, he truly was beautiful, in character as well.

  3. Oh, I so loved this story. You were a gift to him, bringing him life. And he gifted you with years of friendship. And you allowed him to be free and he left to pursue life elsewhere with his kind. I took photos the other day of what I thought was a chicken. If you don't mind, pop over to my blog and take a peak. I think it is a guinea!

  4. Thanks for your heart-warming comment Margaret! I tried to look for your photograph of the Guinea, but there are so many blogs on your profile, maybe you could give me a direct link to the pic? I'd really appreciate that, thanks!

  5. Sorry, I should have realized. It is the Art Happens 365. or margaretbednar365.blogspot.com I just posted a poem about my pony when I was a child. It is under that post. I read your latest post. You must miss the openness you used to have! I love your blog, by the way.



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