The Angel and the Cockerel *

Cheesewring, a pile of granite rocks, on top of Stowes Hill


* Suitable for a bedtime story

Each day Mrs Harris’s garden filled up with orange. The orangey brown of autumn leaves, only it was summer at Minions and if you came up onto the moors and looked closer you would have seen the orangey brown feathers of Crispin Cockerel and his hens. The garden was large enough for the hens to have a different space to scratch in at different times of day.

Every day as dawn broke across Bodmin Moor, it was Crispin’s special job to tell everyone in the parishes that day had come. Now on this particular morning, Crispin was awake early. It was still a while before he needed to do his job and tell Minions about the dawning day but he felt his chest swelling with excitement and he really wanted to shout about the lovely morning that was coming. Crispin had always been a naughty and loud cockerel and he was in a very talkative mood, but even he knew that Mrs Harris would have him for dinner if he crowed before the sun. Then Crispin had an idea, and he half leapt, half flew over the fence and took himself on an adventure across the moors.

Feeling so happy with his hens and his moor, he ran as fast as he could shouting to the nesting birds and the stunted trees until he was almost at the top of Stowe’s Hill and just beneath the Cheesewring.

As dawn broke golden and clear across the grateful moor Crispin puffed with warmth and pride and joy at the sight of the sun.  He shouted and shouted as loud as he could to let the villagers know that the day had come, but his voice couldn’t reach them.  Crispin felt his tail feathers droop, he had failed in his very own task. He looked up at the Cheesewring with its solemn stones and he couldn’t believe his beak. An angel with wings made from the gold of the morning light was lifting up the top rock of the Cheesewring. As Crispin Cockerel watched in amazement from the grass below, the angel turned the top rock three times and then stayed a moment longer to talk to Crispin.

“Crispin,” said the angel, “Your job is of great importance and I know you have good intentions. If ever again you have wandered across the moors when it’s time for your morning job, come to the Cheesewring to crow. I will turn the stone so that the villagers of the surrounding parishes will see it turning and will know the sign that dawn has come.“

To this day, sometimes, just sometimes, as the day breaks over the moor and the cockerel crows to welcome the day, the stone at the top of the Cheesewring turns around once, twice, three times, and the grey moor is touched with the gold of a glimpse of an angel’s wings.

retold by Anna Chorlton

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