Archive for July 6th, 2005

What are Bantams FOR?

When I was coming up in a place a mile further out than nowhere, there were bantam chickens all over the place. I remember one bantam rooster vividly because he jumped on me when I was only a little bigger than he was.

Mark mentioned bantam roosters, and I was a little surprised that anybody today had even heard of them. Certainly none of the chicken factories today raise bantams, though even I could be mistaken.

In the years since that bantam attack on me, I have often wondered what bantam chickens were FOR. I have never heard of anyone eating bantam eggs, I have never seen fried bantam.

A similar situation arises in connection with goats. When I was a boy and snakes still had feet, a goat was a very skinny little gray animal that would eat absolutely anything. People thought they ate tin cans because they would chew on tin cans to eat the labels off of them.

I saw little gray goats like that all over Central and South America. So when a friend of mine said he had a goat farm, I was astonished at what he called a “goat.” His goats are large creatures of different colors. They look a lot more like small cows than they do like the goats I knew about.

In fact, I imagine there were a lot of cattle the size of my buddy’s goats before scientific selective breeding set in.

In the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, a horse was a tiny creature. Like the bantams, this has been a mystery to me, too. These guys were making charges on tiny horses with lances and no saddles and no stirrups.

I can’t see in my mind how they did that at all. But how they did that in the middle of BATTLE and drive enemy soldiers off is real mystery to me.

And when the Roman legions came in a disciplined, tight formation, why didn’t the people fighting them just let that disciplined square of soldiers walk around wherever it wanted to? Then, when the formation broke up, they could have just killed them one by one or let them build their forts and stay together.