This Tender Story of a Frenchman Who Took His Chicken on an Epic Voyage Will Melt Your Heart

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For the past two years, 24-year-old Frenchman Guirec Soudée has sailed the world with the love of his life by his side. She’s a chicken named Monique, and the couple has forged an unbreakable bond that could teach the world a lesson in these troubled times about man’s ability to form a true friendship, a heartfelt rapport, with one of God’s most glorious creatures.

To Soudée, Monique is so much more than a pet. When the two of them are out to sea, she provides him with companionship and a thoughtful ear. “We talk a lot, Monique and I,” he recently told the BBC. She’s also a food source, regularly laying eggs for Soudée. In turn, he keeps her safe. Monique is also something of a muse for Soudée. The sailor’s photos of the hen, each portraying her as a glistening red goddess bathed in sunlight, as well as this made-to-share video have made the two of them minor celebrities in France and in the sailing community.

Soudée’s admiration for Monique began the day they met. “I knew she was the one straight away,” he says. Others were less sure, warning Soudée that the hen would not be able to lay eggs on the boat. She would be too stressed. And what about the high winds and the rough waters? Surely a chicken is not meant to endure such conditions. Soudée didn’t listen. He couldn’t. He loved this hen as much as he loved the water, and she was as essential to his journey as the sea itself.

And so they began their odyssey, setting sail from the the Canary Islands. On her first night at sea, Monique laid an egg, proving the power of a bond that transcends species is greater than the doubt of sneering skeptics. They sailed on, riding the winds all the way to the Caribbean, the Arctic, and Greenland, where they were moored for months but didn’t let that ruin their good time.

Along the way their bond only grew tighter, as Soudée began schooling Monique in the art of the sailor. He taught her to surf and paddle-board, gave her swimming lessons, and perfected her fishing. Meanwhile, their story has inspired joy. Soudée is something of a modern-day Roman priest with his sacred chicken by his side, loving her, sharing his hopes and dreams with her, and under no circumstances eating her for dinner.