A Cattle Story

By Graham L. Wilson

Copyright (c) 2008-2012 Graham Wilson.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included at this link: see my profile page.

Note: this was a little short I wrote three or so years ago, nothing too special.

The rancher wore a thick, protective rain coat, such as the current sate of his environment warranted. The rain stormed down in the pitch black night only ever illuminated by lightning blasts. The lean-to was full and all the bovines where present: the bull, the three cows with their calves. However, after checking once again, the rancher noticed the non-appearance of the new born calf of the eldest cow. That cow shared a look of worry in its eyes and it was standing near the door looking out through the black forest. It wast too cold, the calf would freeze out there! It had to be found. The rancher's first clue was the direction of the mother cattle's worry, that and he distinctly remembered them being near that forest at afternoon feeding time. The cattle had still to be fed, as, even though the ground had thawed and had become vacant of snow, there was still only under-grown grass for the cattle to fed on without supplements.

The wind howled through his face as he trudged on, with only a hand-crank water-proof flashlight to illuminate his journey. He had reached the forest's edge, where high hills surrounded the man-made water pool called the dugout. Even risking lightning on the hilltops, the rancher searched the them and the hillsides, but to no avail. After a brief rest, he noticed a patch of soft earth just behind one of the dugout hills. Even though they where muddled by the rain, it was visible that there were prints of a running calf surrounded by some small canine prints - too small to be a wolves or the vast majority of dogs. The rancher knew that these could only be made by one organism. A howl shrieked from the dark forest, as if to deliberately prove the rancher's assumptions. The rancher broke out into a sprint in the direction of the source of the howl.

The rancher's quest was greatly impeded by the darkness and fallen branches and trees, indeed he had at one point tripped over such a burden. Once he had managed his journey, he was then able to see that he was barely not too late. There where four of these canine devils surrounding the little brown calf. The coyotes, even in sight of man, had yet to retreat. The rancher had always had a deep despising for these, in effect, canine rodents. The man had no tools on him beside the flashlight. However, he picked up the nearest stick and started to run at the vicious beasts. The man reached the head coyote, and furiously hit it on the head. The coyote yelped in pain, but then let out a low growl – note quit finished yet. These must have been extremely ill coyotes, nothing else would have caused such aggression compared to plain common sense. The head coyote snapped at the rancher causing him to jump back.

Anger flowing through his blood, the rancher raised the twig that was his weapon and powerfully brought it down on his beastly adversary. The collision of wood and flesh came with a loud cracking sound. The twig cracked in two as, presumably, the coyote's skull had as well, as it fell dead. The other three ran away after witness their comrade's fateful end. The rancher raised his arm to remove the sweat from his brow. The rancher dropped the remaining piece of his battle stick and came to the aid of the little young brown calf. It trembled as he examined it. It was weak and cold, he would need to get it inside, and not just inside the lean-to or barn but the farm house itself. It took all his strength to lift the heavy herbivore, no way to hold the flashlight, he had to carry his calf through to dark.

The wife sat in her chair inside the farm house, a growing work of worry appearing amongst the features of her face. Her husband had yet to return. It had been an hour and in this weather that could mean trouble. Suddenly, she sat up, causing the dog who had been lying at her feet to jump up as well. The dog had earlier decided to stay with his mistress rather than face the perils of the outdoors with its master.

"Down boy!" she said, as she headed into the bedroom to gather her rain coat. Interrupting her, she heard rustling outside. A hoarse male voice then cried out

"Open the door, dear! My hands are full!" The wife rushed to her husband's assistance, who carried the trembling calf in his arms. He set it down on the basement floor that had been padded with old blankets and pillows. The rancher's wife then rushed to get the shivering thing a meal of warm milk as the rancher set out to get the heater. After setting the calf up for the night, the husband was about to begin the task of drying and warming up himself when his wife faced him.

"What the hell happened out there?" she asked with a great sense of bewilderment. The husband only had to say one word, a slang abbreviation at that.

"'yotes". The wife nodded in understanding and then proceeded to aid her husband.