Gateway to the Classics: More Mother Stories by Maud Lindsay
More Mother Stories by  Maud Lindsay

Patsy the Calf

Early one morning, the Rooster, who was always the first to wake in the farmyard, had a wonderful piece of news to tell.


Early one morning, the Rooster, who was always the first to wake in the farmyard, had a wonderful piece of news to tell.

"Cock-cock-cock-cock-a-doodle-doo!" he cried, as he flapped his wings. "The sun is up, the day is fair, and the Red Cow has a baby calf."

Then the Hens and the Chickens, the Cat and the Kittens, the Dog and the Horse waked up in a hurry, and ran to see the little new calf who was very red and soft and small.

"How much he looks like you, Mrs. Cow," cried the Hens.

"He's a very fine calf, or I'm no judge," said the Horse.

"What will you name him?" asked the Dog.

"Oh! as for that," answered the Cow, who was very proud of her baby, "the children will be sure to find a nice name for him."

And sure enough, when the children who lived in the farmhouse came out to see him they said, "Oh! what a lovely red calf. Let's name him Patsy."

Patsy grew very fast. Before long he was frisking all about the farmyard crying, "Ma-a, ma-a," and, though nobody else could understand him, his mother knew just what he meant every time he spoke.

He grew so fast that Mother Cow was soon able to go again to the pasture lands with the other cows, and leave him to play in the farmyard. At first he wanted to go, too, but Mother Cow said, "No, indeed. Little calves must stay at home, so be good, and in the evening I will come back to you."

The big Brown Horse was Patsy's good friend, the Hens talked to him, and the children made clover chains to hang about his neck, so he was happy all the long day, and at evening he stood at the gate to watch for his mother who always called "Moo, moo," to let him know that she was coming.

One day, however, Patsy waited at the gate till all the chickens had gone to roost and no Mother Cow came down the lane. The children went to look for her but they could not find her, and the Brown Horse said he could not imagine where she could be.

Everybody was sorry for the little red calf, and the cook tried to feed him, but he would not eat. No, indeed, how could he eat when his dear mother was lost. He stood at the gate, and called her "Ma-a, ma-a, ma-a!" till the stars came out, and the moon shone, and somebody came and put him in the barn.

"Don't be afraid," said the Brown Horse, "I am awake," but though the red calf was glad to have company, he needed his mother, and he cried for her till he went to sleep late in the night time.

When he waked up the sun was shining through the cracks in the barn, and the Rooster was crowing,—

"Cock-cock-cock-cock-a-doodle-doo, the sun is up, the day is fair, and the Red Cow"—

"Ma-a, ma-a, I want my mother," cried Patsy; and, do you believe it? something right outside the barn door answered, "Moo-oo." The barn door flew open, and there in the sunshine stood Mother Cow.

"I was shut in a pasture last night," said she, as she licked the little calf with her rough red tongue, "and I couldn't get home, but I'll stay a long time with my baby today." And it was hard to tell which was the happier, Mother Cow or the little red calf.

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