He was older and smart. This Tom was a thinker. He was also tougher and his meat not tender but rickety with age. And so he was spared.
How did he do it?
He could count. He counted the sounds of the approach of the farmer and he figured out how to hide in the back of the flock. The younger Toms marched all over the place. But he knew to hide and thus each year he avoided the axe that ended so many of the younger birds.
Then after the slaughter he came out to the front and being left alone gobbled with glee.
He was now older and the farmer recognized that his meat would be tough and thus he had no reason to hide.
Age has its privileges.
A lesson to learn. Sometimes hide and seek is not just a kids game.