You won’t be surprised to learn that Cori-the-hen-woman loves hens, but you might be surprised to know that she is also known in Ballyyahoo as a very brave woman.
So why is she brave?
Well, one reason is because Cori’s house is situated on the very edge of the Witchy Woods – just where the border of Ballyyahoo meets the border of Ballyuseless.
But she’s not just known as brave because she lives alone in a woods, and not just because she lives so close to Ballyuseless either – even though Ballyuseless is a place where all but the most useless, or the most stupid fear, to tread.
No, above all, Cori is known as brave because each night at midnight, Cori walks all alone into the deepest green and darkest black of the Witchy Woods, which are lit only by the smallest chink of moon-light.
She does this in order to reach a special little area in a secret clearing where there is a tiny hiding place among some mossy rocks.
This is where she leaves a bowl of food. The food is for a fox – the faraway fox.
If you’ve already been to Ballyyahoo you’ll know that the faraway fox is a regular visitor to the farms and gardens in the area.
The fox is a beautiful creature, but they are not always a welcome sight.
People who keep hens, like most people in Ballyyahoo, are afraid that the fox, who is a very skillful hunter, will catch, kill and eat their hens, or rabbits.
The people of Ballyyahoo are right to fear the fox, especially a hungry fox.
Many a Ballyyahooian has returned home to find nothing left of their hens, but a pile of feathers. Especially when the fox has young cubs to feed.
However, nature wants us all to survive and like any other mother, the fox has to feed its cubs.
To be fair, the fox is only doing what any mother with starving cubs would do.
She also sells her beautiful eggs to Seanie Kelly, who in turn sells them to the rest of Ballyyahoo from his shop in the village.
So, you might wonder why she braves the depths of the Witchy Woods at night to feed the fox – the very creature most dangerous to her brood.
You see Cori likes her hens to be happy.
She says it’s cruel to keep them couped up all the time, so although she does have a fox-proof enclosure and coup for her hens they only go in this to sleep at night.
Cori knows how much her hens love to roam free across the meadows and woodlands of Ballyyahoo.
So in the daytime Cori opens the gate to her enclosure and lets those lucky hens roam free.
Years ago, Cori lost many of her hens to a hungry fox, and so she decided to strike a bargain.
If the fox would leave her hens alone Cori would provide regular food so that it may feed its cubs.
So, after this, she began walking deep into the Witchy Woods to the little clearing and leaving food in the special tree.
Since that time not a single hen has been taken.
Come rain or shine, Cori never misses a night – she knows that if she doesn’t feed the fox, it just might decide to make a meal of her hens.
P.S. If you would to see some photographs and read about the little chicken that was born in Ballyyahoo – click here.
For some fun stories from Ballyyahoo click here.