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THE COW THAT JUMPED ...
WELL, ALMOST

April, 2008

 

It was getting a bit tiresome, all this Doubting Thomas stuff from my husband.

"Come ON," he said. "I know you've had some interesting tales in the past, but this takes the cake. You saw a cow ...."

"YES!"

"...carrying a basket of cheese and a pail of cream ... "

"YES!"

"... and she got hung up trying to jump over the moon."

"YES!"

He laughed. Loudly. "I know you and your stories, but I am not so old that I don't remember that was a nursery rhyme, Wanna! Don't you know about plagiarism?"

"Well!" I snorted in indignation. "Since when would I make up something like this?" And I flounced out of the room.

Frankly, it wasn't easy, explaining this event. I mean, even I know it all sounds so implausible. But I'll try.

It all began when I returned to Fairyland for another visit with Mother Goose. I was conferring with her about some stories that I was working on, and wanted to make sure I had all the details right.

Usually she's quite attentive, but she seemed distracted the entire time, nodding her head absently as I talked. And by the time I was preparing to leave, I could tell she wasn't hearing a thing I said. And no wonder, with all the grating music coming from the barn across the nearby meadow.

Finally, I asked her gently, "Mother Goose, is something bothering you?"

She told me that she and Goosey had just returned from a conference with King Cole's business staff. It seemed that one of the Fiddlers Three was missing a fiddle, and was quite hysterical about it.

"You know how some people are creatures of habit," she said. "Well, the King is used to having his pipe and his bowl of whatever at a certain hour. And when one of his Fiddlers can't play .... Well the Royal Cole is having a real tantrum and his staff expects me to do something because they're all worried about keeping their heads, quite literally. That poor Fiddler was beside himself with worry!"

It was hard to talk because of the music in the background.

"That sounds suspiciously like a fiddle," I said, peering into the twilight gloom. "Coming from the barn, maybe?"

She took a deep breath and then sighed. "Yes, Wanna, I am afraid so. It turns out the Cat has it. I think that time he spent in the Ding Dong Well affected him more than we all realized.

"And the moon isn't helping. You know the beliefs about how the moon affects our behavior? Controlling the tides and affecting women's menstrual cycles and all that?"

"I have heard that kind of thing all my life," I said. "Science has shown that the moon does exert a pull on the tides, and there does seem to be a correlation about menstrual cycles. I don't know about werewoves, though...."

"Oh, this isn't about werewolves," she said, more discomfited than I had ever heard her. "It's a different matter entirely. First of all, that music you hear? I have no idea how in the world that Cat got hold of that violin, but he has been about to drive us all mad with it. And now that we know that it came from King Cole's Fiddler ...," she shuddered.

At this point a Dog began barking and laughing at the same time, apparently enjoying the screeching performance from the barn.

She shuddered again visibly. "Oh, now even the Dog is laughing to hear such sport. Thankfully, the Toy Soldiers are heading that way now, to confiscate the fiddle. The sooner we get it away from that Cat and back to King Cole, the better for the entire kingdom."

She thumped her cane on the ground. "And to top it all off, I have to deal with the fallout from one of those mixed-marriage kinds of things that sometimes occur - not that I'm prejudiced or anything, of course you know that - but, well, the Dish has run away with the Spoon!"

"No!"

She nodded. "And the Saucers and Cups are having a fit, as you might expect. And the rest of the Silverware! Well! What a mess!"

She sighed again, and dropped to a nearby bench. "Let's take a moment from all this confusion, Wanna, and look at the moon, which is quite spectacular here in Fairyland, despite the bizarre behavior it sometimes encourages. It's particularly pleasant from this vantage point, with nothing to block the view."

"Wow," I said, "From here, it almost looks like it has some fancy trim, and look at that face!" I looked more closely. "You know," I mused,"The moon really seems to be RIGHT THERE!"

She smiled. "Have you ever watched the moon rise over the horizon and thought it looked like you could just leap on and take a ride? Well, here it actually does rest right on the horizon, for a moment or two. And I think certain elements in Fairyland HAVE taken a ride on occasion, although I've never caught them. You do remember that you are in Fairyland, don't you?"

"Well, of course," I agreed. "But I guess I just hadn't made the connection that the normal laws of physics are not necessarily applicable here."

And that's when it happened. To our amazement we saw this Cow sailing through the air, landing across the edge of the crescent.

WHUMP!!!

My gosh, that must've hurt, I thought.

We both stood in disbelief and shock at the sight. Poor Bossy sat there precariously ...

... teetering ....

... her pail of cream spilling...

and her basket dropping its contents ...

slowly, ...

one by one.

And then there she went ...

"Moooooawwwwaaaaaoooooo!"

... back, back ...

"A-- over Teakettle" as they used to say when I was a child in Oklahoma, toward Earth. Where she landed in Fairyland again with another very loud WHUMP!!!!

At this point in my story, my husband pounded his leg as he threw back his head and laughed.

"And I suppose she jumped so high because ... what, Goosey goosed her? Her calf's nose was too cold? What? And she was rescued by an astronaut, and it was all caught on CNN to Bossy's great embarrassment?"

And he laughed and laughed, and swiveled his chair back toward his computer. "Well, I am your greatest fan, Wanna, but even I don't believe this one. Good grief!" And he began pecking away at his keyboard, still chuckling, even though my previous stories had all proven to be quite real.

Frankly, I had no real comeback, because I had no idea WHY a Cow tried to jump over the moon. When she fell back to Earth I didn't investigate, just departed for home, because Mother Goose was trying to organize a rescue team and was already stressed out with all the other Dish and Spoon business, and that awful Cat screeching on the King's Fiiddler's violin, and that idiot Dog laughing at all the commotion. I just hated to bother her asking any questions.

So, what could I say to him? I just swallowed my indignation and went on to my other business.

And then one morning a few weeks later I found the proof I needed, an article in The El Paso Times for January 27, 2008. Aha! I grabbed my scissors and hurriedly clipped the piece from the newspaper.

"All RIGHT! Just listen to this," I hollered as I ran to find my husband, shaking the article I had clipped and then reading it aloud:

"NOW do you believe me?!? I think I'll put in a call to those two professors! I wouldn't want anyone to think that so-called playa business was the REAL reason for that milky rain when I actually KNOW better! So THERE!"

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NOTE: You can see how I made the Cow That Jumped - Well, Amost ... in the Dolls pages here.

 

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