‘Me brother-in-law had a venture once with the little people. Sure the cattle were breakin’ something awful and trampin’ down crops beyond anything. An’ he, poor man, wus fair bothered with them an’ with cuttin’ branches all over the place t’ stop their capers.
He wus out with the billhook for most of the day an’ at long last he said to himself, said he, ‘I’ll lop a branch or maybe two from the oul’ thorn – they’ll niver be missed.’ But the very first chop he gave there wus a terrible moan. He looked iverywhere but there wus nobody near. An’ he thought he’d be safe in broad daylight so he hacked it again an’ out come the billy-hook smothered in blud. An’ he wus fair tuk with fright at what he did. So back he put the branch an’ boun’ it up with splinters.
It wus the great mercy he didn’t cut it off.
Gentry bushes always had a pad round them and there wus always traffic about them. It wus there the wee people talked at times. A man near here tuk a branch from one till stop a gap and in the mornin’ his only cow was dead in it.
There’s precautions ye can take. Salt the cow at calving; hold a three-pronged fork up during the birth; always put the first few squirts at milking on the barn floor.
There were lucky things till protect ye too. It wus lucky to meet the first lamb of the season with its face toast ye but very unchancy till part with a dog or cat that came to ye of its own free will. Never chase that kind of stray away or yer luck ‘ill go with it.
A goat should always be kept with the cows to ensure calves.’
When I axed whether a bull wud’nt also be necessary I was scolded for ‘cleverness’.
Which brings to mind the rural school pupil’s excuse to his teacher for recent absence from class.
‘Sir, I had to bring the cows to the bull.’
‘Couldn’t your father do that?’ the teacher rejoined angrily.
‘No Sir,’ the boy replied immediately, without a flinch,
but clearly amazed at the teacher’s ignorance on the subject.
‘It HAS to be the bull!’