In one of the most iconic scenes from the movie The Shawshank Redemption, Tim Robbins’ character, Andy Dufresne, tells Morgan Freeman’s character, Red, ‘Get busy living, or get busy dying.’ Other similar phrases encourage people to overcome adversity and seize their destiny, or at least find the good in bad situations. Although it may seem hard to believe, a rooster in China has found a weird way to convey that sentiment to that nation’s residents.
A 47-year-old woman identified only by her last name, Cheng, lives alone in central China’s Henan province. She raises chickens to help supplement her income and diet. Before her husband died last year, he purchased a new rooster for the family. After his death in a farming accident, Cheng soldiered on alone. However, when the rooster purchased by her husband became injured two months ago, she felt overwhelmed. While cleaning cages and transferring fowl into new enclosures, the rooster’s foot became stuck between bars. The foot ended up breaking off completely, leaving behind only a stub. Cheng tended to the rooster as best she could.
When she woke up the following morning, she was concerned that she hadn’t heard the rooster crowing. When she checked on him, she was stunned to see he had exhausted himself by pecking off his other foot so that he could walk. Cheng quickly brought him water, corn, and fried noodles to ease his pain. Although not the typical medical response to amputation, it worked.
The rooster healed quickly and now walks the yard with ease. Cheng shared the story on Sina Weibo, the Chinese social media platform. It received over 4 million views in a week. In addition to national popularity, the rooster has received a new, rather ironic name, which translates roughly to ‘Iron Foot.’ Cheng and others have also stated that Iron Foot is a relative of a mythical Chinese general. Named Guan Yu, legend states that this general gave himself a compound fracture so that he could scrape poison from his own bone. Cheng plans to cherish her fowl friend for the rest of his natural life.