At a call from the
referee the two handlers march into the pit, each holding his bird in the crook
of his arm. The cocks are beaked, held close enough so they can peck and become
aware of the presence of an adversary.
cocks!" shouts the referee. The handlers liberate their birds some 20 feet
apart. The cocks meet six feet above the ground in a blur of wings and flashing
steel. They come to earth and each gets a beakhold. They go into a long
shuffle, legs pumping. Suddenly they become entangled and the referee shouts,
"Handle!" The handlers grab up their birds, nursing and resting them
until the referee shouts, "Pit!" Again handlers drop their birds and
again the blur of wings and legs is so fast that a novice cannot detect the
But as the fight
progresses the odds shouted out by the crowd change swiftly. Suddenly, in the
midst of an exchange of blows, one bird drops dead. The victor stands beside
his fallen foe and emits the short, challenging crow of the gamecock.
Often, though, the
victor hardly gets time to crow. The handlers pick up the winner and the loser
and leave the pit. Bets are paid off and the crowd turns its eyes to a fresh
pair of cocks being brought into the pit by another pair of handlers.
It has been this
way, with minor variations, since before man began to record his history.