Day after day, Neri would play his solitaire football while the rooster and the hens looked on in amazement. This donkey could do all sorts of tricks with the ball. He could head it, nuzzle it and even kick it with his hind legs. The rooster got a great thrilll from watching that and would lift his head up and crow, which of course filled Neri with great pride indeed.
As the days went by, Doodle, the rooster, woke up earlier and earlier and repeated his noisy cry. Upon hearing it, Neri would immediately get into action, gallop across the field balancing the ball on his nose, then kicking it wildly into the air, or doing what Doodle liked best of all, bucking it with his hind legs.
The hens squealed with delight, Doodle screeched with enthusiasm and Neri brayed with pleasure and pride. Now, he was no longer alone. Now, he had admiring friends. Now, he was a hero! What’s more, the foxes lying in wait of an opportunity to attack the hens and Doodle, fled when the sounds of the merry lot filled the air.
Winter turned into spring, and the sun began to rise earlier and earlier each day. Neri was getting more and more dextrous and Doodle’s cock-a-doodle-do was becoming louder and louder. A wonderful comradship had sprung up among the animals, especially between Neri and Doodle. Life seemed perfect. The cold nippy air had turned warm and sultry and it seemed as nothing could spoil their happiness.
And then one day, the sun suddenly disappeared from the sky and from the lives of those happy go lucky animals. Without warning, a strange man appeared with a lead rope which he ever so gently put around Neri’s neck and led him from his field and from his friends. Neri followed the man in shock. What could be happening? he thought. Doodle cried out in protest, but to no avail. The stranger slowly but surely was taking Neri from the field from his happy world. And Neri did not know why.
As Neri disappeared through the gate, Doodle gave one more wild cry. Then, he was gone.
Now, exactly a year later, Doodle’s cock-a-doodle-do is weak and worn. People passing by stop to look at the forlorn rooster attempting to crow. They shake their heads in wonder not knowing that this rooster is hopelessly sad and lonely.
And that is the end of the once upon a time true story.