I read that last week an
ostrich escaped from a farm in Nicosia, breaking free from its pen and going
on “a three hour rampage”. The bird, which may have weighed as much as 200
kilos, held a hostage at gunpoint and demanded to be taken to Larnaca airport
and provided with a private jet to fly back to Africa. No, not really; but it
did terrify onlookers and wreck a Mercedes Benz.
The ostrich was finally
subdued by policemen and dragged back to its enclosure. But by fighting for
its freedom rather than awaiting its fate of becoming steaks, it struck a blow
for oppressed poultry everywhere.
That said, I hope we have no
ostrich farms near Limassol.
Though they come from Africa,
ostriches are a favourite bird in Cyprus because of the mistaken belief that
the ostrich buries its head in the sand assuming that if it cannot see a
predator, the latter will not be able to see the ostrich. Our politicians are
famous for accusing each other of practising this kind of self-delusion.
The myth is patently untrue
however, however. Apparently, when an ostrich hides its head, the gigantic
ball of fluff on its bottom resembles a bush. This habit, which developed over
eons of evolution, has saved many an ostrich from becoming the set piece of a
sumptuous buffet for a family of big cats, may work for lions, but it doesn’t
work for me. I can recognize a colossal feathered bum at fifty paces. Lions
can be pretty stupid, but since they have sharp canines and tend to go
straight for the jugular, I wouldn’t tell them to their faces.