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HOME > Children's Novel > The Tale of the The Muley Cow > IV OWNING A BOY
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 By the end of a week Johnnie Green was able to milk quite well. When he sat down beside the Muley Cow he could play a merry as he made the tiny streams of milk against the bottom of the milk pail. And he managed to milk the Muley Cow while his father was milking only three others.  
"Don't you think," Johnnie asked his father, "that I ought to own the Muley Cow by this time?"
But Farmer Green thought that he mustn't make the prize too easy to win. He laughed and shook his head. "When you can milk half as fast as I can, I'll agree that she's yours," he promised.
Before a month had slipped by Johnnie Green raced with his father one night and finished milking the Muley Cow before his father could milk the little red cow and the big white one.
"!" Johnnie shouted, as he jumped up from his three-legged stool. "I've got a cow of my own!" But he didn't shout too loud, for he had learned that one ought not to be noisy around the cattle.
Somehow his father seemed almost as pleased as he was.
As for the Muley Cow herself, she didn't know just how to feel. She couldn't help hearing what was said. And her neighbors were craning their necks, for they couldn't help staring at her to see how she took the news.
It was just a bit uncomfortable for the Muley Cow, at first. But when Johnnie Green patted her and picked a prickly burr off her back she felt that matters might have been worse. And when he gave her a tender young as a special treat she began to think that matters couldn't have been better. She saw right away that being owned by a boy wasn't a bad thing, after all. It was the sound of it that she didn't like.
Naturally there was a good deal of gossip among the cows. And the next day, in the pasture, one creature went up to the Muley Cow and asked her what she was going to do about it.
"About what?" the Muley Cow inquired.
"About your being owned by Farmer Green's boy," the other explained. "Are you going to run away?"
Well, the Muley Cow laughed right in her face. It wasn't a thing she was used to doing. But the question seemed to her a very silly one.
"Run away!" she exclaimed. "Why should I run away? I've lived on the farm all my life and I wouldn't leave it for anything."
"But that boy! Surely, at your age, you can't enjoy belonging to anybody as young as he is!" the neighbor went on.
"Bless you!" cried the Muley Cow. "If he milks me, and takes me to the pasture and back, and gives me good things to eat, and brushes my coat for me, shouldn't you say that he belonged to me? It isn't every cow that has a boy like Johnnie Green to wait on her."
The meddlesome neighbor didn't quite know what answer to make. She was[Pg 20] rather a stupid person, anyhow. Moreover, she was a great gossip. So she hurried off to tell all her friends that they were mistaken about Johnnie Green and the Muley Cow.
A good many of her friends admitted that there was something to be said on both sides of the question. And all of them agreed that the Muley Cow was certainly Johnnie Green's favorite.

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