NCE upon a time there was a farm-house, and it was painted
white and had green blinds; and it
stood not far from the road. In the fence was a wide
gate to let the wagons through to the
barn. And the wagons, going through, had made a track
that led up past the kitchen door and
past the shed and past the barn and past the orchard to
One morning, the old rooster crowed
very early, as soon as it began to be light. And that
waked Uncle John and Aunt Deborah, and
Uncle Solomon and Aunt Phyllis. And they all got up and
put on their clothes and came
Between the two great doors of the barn there was a
great open place so that the wagons could go
right through; and that was where they threshed the
wheat. And on one side were the stalls for the
horses and the places for the oxen, and on the other
side were the places for the cows. In the
corner of the barn next to the horses was the
There were two big horses and two big oxen and six
cows. The horses were in stalls, but the
cows didn't have stalls.
They stood in a row on a kind of a low platform, with
their heads toward the open place in the
middle of the barn. Each cow had her head through a
kind of frame made of two boards that
went up from the floor, so that when the boards were
fastened at the top she couldn't get her
head out, but she could move it up and down all she
wanted to. And when they wanted to let
the cows out, they unfastened one of the boards and let
it down. But
In front of each cow was a little low wall, about as high as her neck, and just behind the wall was a trough that they call a manger, where they could put hay or meal or other things for the cow to eat, so that she could reach it. Just over the manger of each cow was a hole in the floor of the loft where the hay was, so that they could put hay through and it would fall right into the manger, in front of the cow. In winter the cows had hay, but in summer they didn't have hay, because they could eat the grass, and that was better.
So, when Uncle John went to look after the cows, he
didn't climb up to the loft and pitch some
hay down through the holes, as he would do in winter,
but he took a wooden measure and went
to a big box that they call a bin. It stood in the
corner next to the
Then he went to the milk-room and got the big milk
pails and his
Then Uncle John put the milking-stool down by a cow, and the pail was between his knees, resting on the end of the stool. And he milked the cow and the milk spurted into the pail. And when she had given all the milk she had, the pail was about half full.
Then Uncle John went to the next cow and milked her,
and when that pail was full, he took the
other pail. And so he
milked all the cows, one after the other, and when both
the pails were full, he took them to
At the side of the barn, behind the cows, was a door
that opened into the
When a lot of cows are together, one of the cows is always the leader, and she always goes first, wherever they go. If any other cow tries to go first, the leader butts that one and makes her go behind. Or if the other cow doesn't want to go behind, they put their horns together and push, and the one that pushes harder is the leader.
So the cows waited at the gate, and little John had
And they went along the little track and through the gate into the road, and along the road to the great enormous field. And there they stopped, for the bars were up and they had to wait for little John to come along and let them down, so that they could go through.
And little John came running along, eating his piece of
johnny-cake, and kicking up the dirt
with his bare feet, for in the
When the cows were all in the field, they began to eat the grass; and they walked slowly about, eating the grass, until they had had all they wanted. Then they went over to the corner of the field, where there was a stream of water running along, and each cow took a drink of water. In the middle of the field was a big tree with long branches and a great many leaves, so that under the tree it was shady and cool. By the time the cows had eaten all the grass they wanted, it was hot out in the sun, and they all walked over to the big tree and got in the cool shade.
Some of them lay down and some of them stood still, and they switched their tails about to keep the flies off, and they chewed their cuds. For a cow has two kinds of stomach. When she bites off the grass, she swallows it down quickly, and it goes into the first stomach; and after awhile, when she has eaten all the grass she wants, she goes and lies down, or stands still and some of the grass comes back into her mouth in a bunch and she chews it all up fine and swallows it again, so that it goes down into her real stomach. Then another bunch comes up and she chews that and swallows it, and so she does until all the grass is chewed up fine. That is what they call chewing the cud.
So the cows stayed in the shade of the big tree until they were hungry again, and then they walked about and ate some more of the grass and drank some more water out of the little stream. And by that time it was in the afternoon and almost time for little John to come to drive them home.
So they all stood looking at the gate and waiting for
little John. And by and by little John
came running along, and he let down the bars at one
end, and he called
When the cows came to the farm-house, they turned in at
the gate and went up the little track
Then Uncle John put a measureful of meal in the manger
in front of each cow, and he got
When the cows were all milked, Uncle John poured the
milk through the strainer into the
big cans and took it out to the
Then he shut the big doors of the barn and fastened them, and the cows lay down and went to sleep.
And that's all.