talking turkey with papa

Irish landowner Adolphus Cooke (1792 – 1876) was a firm believer in reincarnation

Reincarnation image found here

He believed that a large turkey cock in the farmyard was the re-born soul of his father. Employees knew that his better nature could be appealed to by citing the ‘opinion’ of the turkey cock. On one occasion Adolphus appointed himself as judge to try his dog, which had taken to wandering the countryside and consorting with dogs of low breeding.

image found here

After numerous warnings were ignored the court was held and the dog sentenced to be hanged for insubordination. A workman was ordered to hang the dog at dawn. The next morning the man was seen leading the dog back to the house. Adolphus was outraged and demanded to know why his orders were not obeyed. The workman explained that the turkey cock had expressed opposition to the execution and the workman wanted to consult Adolphus about this. Adolphus totally believed this farrago and reprieved the dog, who continued to live a long and dissolute life.

turkey found here

Hunting was a major pastime of the gentry at the time, but he opposed hunting. He believed he would return to this world after death as a fox. To be prepared he spent his later years wandering the countryside day and night so he would be aware of each earth and passway to escape the hounds.

baby Fennec fox found here

The best known incident about Cooke is the affair of the crows. He was awoken frequently by the cawing of large flocks of crows and employees told him the noise was because the crows were nesting nearby. Cooke ordered that the crows nest in another part of the estate. They naturally ignored this. He then ordered all his workmen and some tenants to collect twigs and branches and to climb the trees to build nests for the crows. The workers were well paid for this pointless activity and loafed about for weeks. No crows would use the few nests actually made. When Adolphus appeared to inspect the work and was annoyed at the lack of success the workers explained that ‘his honour’s crows’ were now engaged in a civil war with the crows from a neighbouring village (about the nests) and that a huge battle had taken place.

image found here

Cooke was pleased to learn his own crows had been victorious in the battle and demanded to see the dead and injured. The workmen replied that, unfortunately, the neighbouring crows had called a truce and had come back to collect and remove all the casualties. Adolphus showed no signs of disbelieving this avian Illiad and gave rewards to the men who had assisted his army.

image found here

Cooke died an old man in the 1870s and was buried, along with his brother and his childhood nanny, in a ‘beehive’ tomb. This igloo-like construction still exists, though overgrown and neglected, in a local churchyard. It dates from an earlier period of Cooke’s life, when he believed that his post death form would be as a bee.

Adolphus Cooke’s beehive tomb found here

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44 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hope the brother and nanny were dead at the time of burial …
    Have a good week, Myra.

  2. That wee fox and its big ears are so appealing. It really looks like it’s smiling.

    • Just too adorable isn’t he?

  3. Is that Lassie in the first picture?

  4. Haha wonderful! It would b e great if more workplaces had a bird containing the reincarnated soul of the boss. Imagine what you could get away with!

  5. The only part of this story that’s hard to believe is the fact that none of the workmen ever tried to fleece this guy out of all his money and property. It would have been so easy!

  6. …seems he was a little bit bird brained?

  7. i consult my dog on all important matters in my life… one tail wag? Cheerios. two wags? bagel.

  8. This is the sort of thing I’d like to see in tourist brochures.

  9. I need to find some of those hot dog cookers..haha

  10. I must work a lot harder on my eccentricities. Compared with Adolphus I am almost normal.

  11. Turkey cock reminds me of a friend of mine who, when presented with food he didn’t like, always used to say something like, “at least it ain’t horse cock.” Apparently he’d obtained this expression from his father who had used it on him when he was a kid. Whenever he was fussy about something, his Dad would ask him if he’d rather have a horse cock sandwich. Strange people.

    • My ex husband’s family used to say “stewed steak and walnuts”

  12. If that bipedal turkey also has opposable thumbs I might go hide in my room and never come out again! 🙂

    • It’s the scariest thing I’ve seen all week

  13. Have you seen the film about reincarnation called Dean Spanley?

    I remember seeing The Birds as a kid. It scared the hell out of me.

    • I have seen Dean Spanley, but I didn’t really like it much. There’s something about Sam Neill that doesn’t sit well with me. He’s also in some very silly red meat advertisements that I dislike

  14. Cooke obviously knew a thing or two about cocks, but not crows! They are lonesome birdies, as in the saying:

    A crow in a crowd is a rook,
    A rook on its own is a crow.

  15. Excellent story! And I would so love to have a Fennec as a pet, but I understand they generally aren’t very happy in houses.

    • Years ago a friend of mine who worked for a vet adopted a baby fox. He was adorable but impossible to house train. She had to donate him to Featherdale Wildlife Park but he was very happy there

  16. That fox is the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen! I like the sound of Cooke, and wish more people were so easily manipulated. Take my kids… “The turkey cock told you to clean your room. Look, not my problem. The turkey cock said so.”

  17. I wish I’d read this earlier. That talking fox may have been telling the truth after all.

    • Be careful, talking foxes are seldom to be trusted GG

  18. You can parlay with crows, it’s ravens that don’t abide by treaties.

    • A Murder of Crows or an Unkindness of Ravens….. neither sound like they’re to be trusted

  19. The beehive tomb is very interesting. I mean how many of those do you see? And so nice that his own crows won the civil war.

  20. Turkeys scare the ever loving shit out of me.


    • Hey Alex… where you been?

      • Turkey…

        No just kidding, been out around you know, finished off the first then second draft of ma book. So yeah been busy. I hope you’ve been good aswell?

  21. That turkey in the road looks like a bit of a gangster

  22. Excellent story about the crows… sure made me smile

  23. Isn’t Cooke an alternative spelling of “Kook”?

  24. The baby fox was adorable! I think we should get one when we shack up. Or maybe we had one when we were lovers in a past life. 1800’s Paris..??

    • Haha…. I used to work for a woman who had more money that sense. She used to pay a charlatan $300.00 a phone call to channel her past life as a French convent girl in love with a Prince

  25. I applied for reincarnation but I was told there was a very long waiting list. I might be in luck though if I fancied one of the less popular options like an earthworm or a termite.

    • How long is the wait list for foxes?

  26. Seems if you were rich and mad you wouldn’t get very far without savvy servents with a sense of humour.

  27. I was Marilyn Monroe is my previous life

  28. That’s a cool poster of Alfred Hitchcock. Never saw “The Birds,” though.

  29. My army of crows could take on his army of crows any day.

  30. I *need* one of those foxes.

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