The Cows who spoke German

There are many things that we don’t pay attention to as adults. You may think this tale is just a tall tale. But stand by a pasture fence one day and listen carefully for a long time. You may just hear the cows speaking to each other, too. In this case, the cows spoke German.

The cows who spoke German.

By Tron Jordheim  c 2004

One day Neena and Lynda were walking the farm path at the back of their grandfather’s farm. They had been staying a few days with him and their step grandma and were enjoying riding horses, fishing in the pond and playing with the barn cats. This afternoon, however, they wanted to walk to the back of the farm where a small creek ran through, so they could look for frogs and turtles and so they could skip rocks in the water. Since Lynda was seven and Neena was nine, it would take them a little while to walk the mile and a half to the spot in the creek where they had the best chance of finding good flat skipping rocks.

It was a bright and warm day with big fluffy white clouds rolling slowly across the sky. The sun was strong. As they walked the path grasshoppers jumped out of their way and a dragonfly or two buzzed by.  On the way to the creek they passed the neighbor’s cow pasture. This day the cows were closer to the fence than usual and Lynda and Neena could hear them making cow sounds to each other. The two girls stopped and listened. Lynda said, “Listen to that”. “Gruen” said one white faced cow that was off by itself grazing in a new patch of clover. “Braun” called a black cow that was looking for something to munch in a dry spot. “Gruen” called the white face. The black cow picked up its head and paid attention. “Gruen” called the white face again. The black cow started walking over to the white face. When the black cow got to the new clover she put her head down and started munching. After a few mouthfuls, she started calling “Gruen”, too. Soon the two of them were calling out between munches, “gruen, gruen, gruen”.  Soon the whole herd was moving over to check out the green clover and get their share.

Neena and Lynda could not believe it. They thought their ears were playing tricks on them. It was starting to get very hot with the sun beating down on them, but they were too curious to leave. So they kept listening and they heard one cow bellow “shatten” and it started moving off to a shady spot under some trees. It stood there under the tree and yelled, “Shatten”. Some of the other cows that were munching the clover picked up their heads and seemed to be paying attention. “Shatten” called the cow in the shade. Soon one by one the cows started moving into the shade to take a break from the sun. “Shatten” one called. “Shatten” called the next. Soon many of them were talking to each other as if they were sharing in the satisfaction of the shade. “Shatten, Shatten, shatten” Lynda and Neena heard it, but they could not believe it. They looked at each other in awe without saying a single thing. They were so surprised to hear the cows talking to each other, it was unreal. And never mind that the cows were speaking German.

How was it that the neighbor’s cows knew German? This was incredible. They stood by the fence and watched for what seemed like a very long time. They would hear one cow call out “Braun”, then another call out “Gruen”. Then another called out “shatten”.

It seemed like a long time had passed and Lynda and Neena noticed the clouds were getting puffier and darker and were starting to look threatening. Lynda said to Neena, “should we start back to the house?” Before Neena could answer they heard a cow cry out “Regen!” Another cow picked up her head and called out “Regen”. Then another called “Regen”. Neena said, “They are saying it is going to rain, aren’t they?” “Yes” said Lynda, “Yes, they are”. They stood and looked at each other for what seemed like a very long time. They didn’t know what to say. Then a low rumble of distant thunder brought them back to the moment.

They could see rain falling in the distance as the clouds darkened up. They turned to each other and said to each other, “Let’s go” and they ran down the path, through the open gate, past the horse pens and up to the porch of the house. As Lynda grabbed the door knob she said to Neena, “Grandpa is never going to believe this”. They stepped inside the house and Neena called out, “Grandpa, Grandma, come here!”