You can still find the domesticated chicken’s wild cousin in the foothills of the Himalayas and the forests of Vietnam. Called the red jungle fowl, the bird is a kind of pheasant, a fierce and skittish animal renowned for its beautiful livery of royal blue, deep gold, and fire engine red. ⦿ People across South Asia first bred the red jungle fowl not to lay breakfast eggs or to be slaughtered and cooked, but to fight. Cockfighting most likely began as a religious ritual, and even now, in places like the Indonesian island of Bali, religious festivals can begin with a sacred cockfight or two. Over time, the bird spread through Asia and into Europe, where it was respected throughout the ancient world as an animal that could reveal the future, entertain as a gambling device, and crow us awake from our physical as well as spiritual slumbers (that’s why church steeples are often topped with a rooster weathervane).