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When Teresa the cow cries

A cow that is neither the milk, nor the meat

drawing: Anastasia Logvinenko

Teresa, a redhead calf, came into our family ten years ago. Later you will find out, how it became a member of our family. It was named Teresa because my grandma likes to call the animals by human names.

Initially, Teresa had several brothers and sisters, but by the time it became a full grown cow, Teresa was the only one left.
This situation had both its advantages and disadvantages.

Firstly, Teresa became a center of attention.

Secondly, the need for feed was decreased and the men no longer had to climb up the mountains to bring it down. A drop or increase in the number of livestock was calculated in our family by the amount of grass mowed, whereas I calculated it based on the number of days that the men in our family spent in the pasture.

However, my grandpa was frustrated, since he believed that those who had just one cow and did not go out to the pasture, were mere townspeople.

How we tried to sell Teresa

Teresa was from a good breed of cattle and we received an offer to sell her a few years ago. My grandpa agreed. A couple of days later the clients came. A rope was put on its horn and Teresa and forced out of the barn.

It refused to climb into the truck, as if it was chained to the ground. The people who had come started beating her. My grandpa couldn’t stand watching that. He went up to Teresa and tried to persuade her to go.

At that moment I was absolutely sure that Teresa would be taken away soon. I was thinking about whether the new owners knew how much grass Teresa required, and that she should be given some dough. But the question that bothered me most was: Will Teresa remember me? And if it can, how?

Suddenly my grandpa changed his mind and took Teresa back to the barn. She walked without prodding and ropes. I happily ran up to her, petted her muzzle and felt that she was wet.

I did not pay much attention to her at that very moment, but later on in the evening, when we all were discussing the incident, my grandpa said smiling:

“I knew that she would be hard to part with it. But when I tried to force her into the truck, tears gushed from her eyes. Although the amount they were willing to pay was rather high, I could not hand her over to them.”

A week later, no one recalled the incident, but I knew that Teresa was reborn on that day.

Everyone has their own fears

I probably could have said more about Teresa if my granpa were still alive, since he talked to her every day.
I learned about this on one rainy day, when Teresa did not come back from the pasture.

Every day when the time came for the herd to return from the pasture, my grandpa used to take a rod and go to meet the cow. That day he returned without Teresa and he was angry: it was going to rain, the cow had not returned and my father was not home to go outside and find it.

My grandparents quarreled, since my grandpa decided to go and find Teresa himself and my grandma was worried because the grandpa didn’t feel well.

I volunteered to go in his stead, despite the fact that I had had a fear of thunder and lightning since childhood. It was seven o’clock in the evening. It was getting dark and the weather continued to worsen. I was already exhausted when I got to the place that my grandpa had indicated, but I couldn’t find Teresa. That meant that the wolves would feast on her that night, and I would have to return back home in complete darkness.

I cried out loudly in despair several times: “Teresa!”  …and suddenly I heard it mooing in response. Teresa was standing between large stones, and upon seeing me she moved in my direction.

I forgot about the lightning and thunder and was talking to Teresa all the way back home. My grandpa met us halfway. It was then that he told me that he talked to Teresa every day and explained why she had separated from the herd and hadn’t come home. The thing was that Teresa was afraid of water and on that day, the shepherd, who was hurrying to get home before the thunderstorm began, took the herd across the river.

I still recall that evening with fear. What about the animals-do they remember and realize what happened to them?

What is the value of family?

Now it’s my father who takes care of old Teresa and her large family. Sometimes he decides to sell Teresa because she is already very old. There are plenty of clients because Teresa is known in the area as a purebred cow. And he seems to be deliberately overpricing it.

Maybe he thinks, they can remember things and Teresa keeps in her memory the faces of those who are no longer allive.

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