Henpecked by Google?

2013-05-04 00:00

IT was love at first sight for the chicken when she was handed over to the Pelham Primary School principal by the bashful Grade 7 boy.

Little did the tough rugby coach and principal, Louis Botha, know he was to become a doting mother to a tiny chick. The bizarre bonding came about when a Pelham pupil was told to bring a baby chick to school as punishment for breaking an egg at the school’s conservation area, Pelham Park.

The boy duly arrived at school with a squeaking chick, but soon the novelty of nurturing the noisy chick wore off and the chick was handed to another boy.

He, too, grew tired of the task of baby-sitting the noisy chick. Soon the teacher had to relieve the boys of their feathery charge.

The boy and chick were sent to Botha’s office. The principal, a passionate conservationist, gave a long lecture about responsibility and the value of eggs and preserving nature.

Botha said: “He went back to class and I was stuck with the little thing and so I kept it in my office in an empty box. All the children who were sent to my office were always taking her out, so it became a free-range chicken.

“I named it Google as it seemed as good a name as any and I used to take it home at night. I would feed it on the worms that I harvest.

“I used to put it on my shoulder to watch TV, and my wife would joke and say it will be the only chick that will ever run after me.”

But Google the chicken has wormed its way into the hearts of the schoolchildren. She is passed around at break time and allowed to go into the grounds to scratch and run free.

Botha claims that when Google is fully grown, she will be sent back to the conservation area at Pelham Park to mingle with the other fowls, but his staff have doubts.

His secretary whispered: “He will never let it happen; he’s too soft.”

Google also seems to have other ideas and she seems quite at home eating bird seed underneath the principal’s desk and sitting on the desk, watching him fill in reports.

Some might say the headmaster has become a little bit henpecked, but he denies it. “I am still the ruler of the roost here. At Pelham we have rules and we are very proud of our school, and we do our best to instill a culture of pride.”

One of the school rules is a “no litter” rule and indeed the grounds are spotless. Google might be saved from being expelled because of her excellent housekeeping qualities.

“She picks up all the ants and crumbs and is as good as a vacuum cleaner,” said Botha with pride.

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