Somewhere in Ireland’s heartland, a herd of cows, much like any other herd of cows, were peacefully grazing in a lush green field. After a time, the cow nearest the gate which gave onto a typical narrow country lane with moss and other vegetation growing in a jungle-like stripe up the middle, raised her head, nostrils flaring in alarm.
“Did you feel that?” she asked her companion, who was an older and far more worldly wise cow than all the others, for she had been born in Killeshandra, which was a long way away from Cavan. For a cow, anyway.
Worldly Wise Cow flicked her tail. “All I can feel is this fly, which seems to have taken a particular liking to my derriere,” she complained, stamping crossly.
“There it is again. The earth is shaking. I think we are having an earthquake.”
Worldly Wise Cow raised her head and listened, twitching her ears with irritation. Then she snorted. “Don’t be afraid. It’s just that silly human woman out running again.”
“Running?” Youthful cow looked puzzled. “Is old Farmer Paddy chasing her with his big stick?”
“Don’t be so silly,” said Worldly Wise Cow contemptuously. “What he gets up to out of farming hours is no concern of ours, but I have heard that he reserves such behaviour specifically for us.”
“Really? Why is that?”
“Well, just look at her,” said Worldly Wise Cow as a diminutive red-faced sweaty human female trundled laboriously into view. “She’s only got two legs for a start, and she only grows hair on her head.”
They both stared, unblinking, at the human as she made slow progress up the lane.
“Yeah,” said Youthful Cow. “She is pretty ugly. I’ve never seen a human so short and so round.”
“I suspect you’d get more rump steaks out of her than from this whole herd put together.”
“Poor cow,” said Youthful Cow, eyes limpid with sympathy. “No wonder she’s having so much trouble running with only two stumpy legs. But why is she making that awful noise? She sounds like a hurricane.”
“Oh, that’s just the way they breathe. I believe it has something to do with their pitiful lung size, compact ribcage and ridiculously small noses.”
“Ah. ” Youthful Cow was mightily impressed with Worldly Wise Cow’s wisdom.
“You watch, ” said the older animal with a sly wink. “She’ll be back in a minute, staggering up the other side of the road like Farmer Paddy after a Friday night in Virginia, back the way she came.”
Sure enough, Worldly Wise Cow’s prophecy was realised when after some moments the peace was shattered by the woman’s reappearance, panting and gasping and wheezing harder than ever as her pace slowed and her feet stumbled.
Youthful Cow shook her head and twitched her ears in disbelief. “It just doesn’t make any sense!”
“I don’t think she’s all there,” confided Worldly Wise Cow, dropping her muzzle back into the riot of grasses which required her attention.
“They should catch her and put her out of her misery. She’s not running that fast.”
Worldly Wise Cow snorted as she chewed. “She should grow some udders. They’d be running after her then, sure enough. The bigger the udder, the better the mudder, as you well know.” Worldly Wise Cow had the biggest udders in the herd, and as such, was treated with respect by cows and humans alike.
Youthful Cow sighed as she watched the poor woman until she dribbled out of view. She shook her head regretfully, then returned her attention to the important task of grazing.