Bovine Balladeers

It was inevitable, at least that was what Rosie said. Rosie had been with the Family at the County Fair when the cows had won the ribbon. She had seen their big eyes light with a fire never before seen in a bovine, well perhaps a bull at a certain time of year, but certainly not in a cow. Rosie said she knew it was a sign of trouble to come. But of course no one listened to Rosie anymore, Prince was the one the farmyard turned to.

Prince had arrived at the farm only a year ago. The Family had high hopes for him, they were determined he would take the showjumping world by storm. Of all the animals on the farm, Prince spent the most time with the Family, that’s why the other animals respected him. Rosie knew this was a mistake also. Prince wasn’t smart at all, he had come from a horse breeder, not a farm, he didn’t know how farms worked or how farm animals worked. He didn’t know that the sheep really weren’t afraid of Dog, or that once the chickens were in their roost for the night they hated to be disturbed, and if by some disaster their sleep was disrupted, well they were just impossible to be around the next day.

No, Prince didn’t know anything about the farm. Rosie did. The big old Clydesdale had been on the farm even before the Family and was by far the oldest animal. Once upon a time she had worked the fields, pulled the big old contraption of steel, leather and wood that was covered in pigeon poo at back of one of the barns. When the Family came they brought some fancy big tractors and harvesters, they didn’t need Rosie to work, but they loved her just the same. Rosie was popular with the Boy and the Small Boy, but the Girl loved her most of all. The children used to clamber all over the gentle giant and lead her around the yard. Rosie loved being the centrepiece of their games, she didn’t even mind when their friends came over and tried to put a hat on her head or tugged at her tail.

clydesdale morgue no attRosie had been to the school and was a hit at children’s parties, she went to the County Fair every year and let other little children sit on her back and have their photo taken. That’s why she was there when the cows had their victory, that’s how she knew they were up to no good.

‘Prince, you need to say something to the cows.’

She tried to warn him.

‘The cows are restless, I can tell they have ideas.’

Of course Prince didn’t understand at all.

‘Cows! What a fantastic ribbon! I have many sashes and ribbons of course, you should come by my stall and I’ll show them to you.’

Prince was a little too proud of his own achievements, he would boast whenever he had a chance. The cows, fresh off their County Fair success, were all ears. They lapped up Prince’s tales of adoration, of crowds and cheering.

Oh yes, there was trouble brewing.

It began small. Before, the cows would head out to their paddock in the morning, stand around in a solitary fashion, pleasing themselves, at the end of the day Dog would round them up for milking and they returned to the barn for evening feeding.

Now when they went to the paddock, they stayed clustered together. Dog told Rosie that he often found them near the water, not drinking but talking to one another and looking at their reflections. Dog believed Rosie that the cows were trouble, but he also didn’t care.

‘Prince, the cows are planning something, I just know it.’

Prince thought the cows were too stupid to plan anything. He was right, the cows were stupid, but even stupid animals, given the right motivation can cause a commotion. In fact, it was most often the stupid ones.

Then the mooing started. Of course, the cows had always mooed, that’s what cows do. But the mooing became more frequent. Dog said he sometimes found the cows lined up, mooing in turns.

Rosie was suspicious. She tried Prince one more time but even if he had wanted to do something, it turned out they were too late.

The cows were gone.

seamless-pattern-chicken_74232They had managed to escape the farm without breaking any fences or making any noise. None of the animals knew how they had managed it. The Family was baffled. Rosie suspected the chickens knew something, but they were cranky and weren’t talking.

It had been weeks, Dog told Rosie he thought the cows had been singing. Singing! How ridiculous, you give a cow a ribbon and a round of applause and they get delusions of grandeur.

The Family had given up on the cows, they bought some goats instead. It wasn’t only Rosie who thought that was a mistake, all the animals agreed. Goats were a bad idea.

And now there was that ridiculous billboard, pasted right on the side of the barn. Dog had been right, the cows had been trying to sing. Rosie had been right, the cows had certainly been up to something.

And as it turned out, the cows had been right too.

Walker’s Circus. The billboard featured a colourful big top and a roaring lion on the left hand side. And on the right, the latest attraction ‘The Bovine Balladeers’ a trio of singing cows. In larger than life size, there was a picture of the cows, in front of a microphone.

Rosie knew the cows were plotting something, but she would never have guessed it in a million years.

The cows had run away to the circus.

<I haven’t paid for the image so can’t insert it here – but it’s image #9 in this article here ‘21 Stock Photos That No One Will Ever Be Able To Use‘>

3 responses to “Bovine Balladeers

  1. Pingback: Bovine Balladeers – flash fiction | alreadynotpublished

  2. What a fun story! I always thought of pigs as being suspect myself.


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