| Ethel The Manx Cow and The
Disease in the Breeze
In this highly depressing time for Road Racing and
Agriculture, we are trying to lift the doom and gloom with the help of our good
friend, John Shand. Read his latest piece, which relates to both farming and
Ethel the Manx cow was quietly chewing away
at some spring growth on the lazy slopes at the foot of Snaefell. It was a
sunny day with a gentle breeze floating from offshore. Then along came the
farmer with a rifle under one arm and sat down beside her and related to her
"Ethel" He said "That nice breeze we sit in here, brings a
danger to us both" "You see, it carries a virus, a disease, a sickness for you"
He added "It will give you a bloody sore mouth and sore feet for about three
weeks, but after that you will recover and be OK again"
sickness is very contagious which means that not only you will catch it, but
every poor animal on this island that has got two toes such as pigs and sheep"
"So its no idea to let all the animals catch this disease, we shall shoot most
of you all instead and have a big fire that will burn for a couple of days"
Ethel kept on chewing and waited for more information. She was trying
to figure out why the sickness, which will only last for a short time, and one
she will recover from, be a reason to be shot.
"Ethel, you know that
each day I pump out all the milk you have" "Well I sell it to this big factory
in the town and they sterilize it and package it up and they sell it at a pint
a time" "Sterilize, my dear Ethel, means they take away all the germs from the
milk so we don't catch any diseases you may have" The farmer tried to impress
her with this logic. "Also I have inoculated you from catching any of these
diseases yourself in the first place to be double sure we don't get anything
you have" "But you see Ethel, this disease is only for animals such as yourself
so I didn't bother to give you an injection because its been a few years since
we had it come by"
Ethel pondered on this one.
problem is, that your milk yield will go down if you catch this disease and I
will not sell as much milk afterwards so I will not make as much money as
before, which means I have to keep my tractor longer, which means its better to
shoot you now and get a new cow that has not had the disease before"
Ethel took another long lick at the spring grass and swept it into her
"Its tough being a farmer Ethel". "Do you remember the time the
nice lady came along and stuck a glass tube into your private parts and a few
months later your children Bert and Bessie were born"? "That is why we keep
male cattle called bulls in another paddock about a hundred miles from here"
"The nice lady collects some stuff from the bulls and we give some of it to you
to save you the complication of having to bring the bull to you" "Well you
don't need to know about that, but that's the way it is".
narrowed as she wondered who put the glass tube in the nice lady when it was
her turn to have some young ones.
"Anyway Ethel, Bert and Bessie went
away across the sea after we took them from you, so we could get them to put on
some weight, and then we could sell them and get the new tractor sooner that
later" "Well we gave them some special food made in a factory Ethel". "Bert and
Bessie didn't get to eat any grass because this stuff is better, and we use
some stuff called protein, which you need to grow bigger" "We made a bit of a
cock up though Ethel, because we used some brains from dead sheep in the
mixture" "We know you cows are not supposed to be cannibals Ethel, but these
brains had some of this protein stuff, but we didn't know it had some other
disease in it that made you son and daughter real crazy and they died last
season" "Sorry about that Ethel, I should have told you this sooner"
small tear formed in Ethel's eye and rolled down her sad face.
your blessings though Ethel" the farmer pointed out "See that big shed down
there, about a mile away" "Well in there are 500 pigs and they don't get to go
outside that shed for their entire lives" "Somebody brings them their food each
day to save them having to go looking for it" "We know that pigs in the wild
and in their natural living spaces, grow up to be OK and seem to enjoy the
outdoor life". "But its easier for us to keep them in a shed and then we don't
have to go looking for them when their turn in the food chain comes up" "We
make this stuff called bacon from them and it makes for a tasty breakfast" "And
see that other shed about 500 yards to the left of that one Ethel, the one with
the red roof"? "Well in there is the other half of the tasty breakfast" "What
we do is keep thousands of chickens in there in little cages so they don't get
to move about a lot and waste good egg laying energy". "Even more clever is
that we leave the lights on during the nights so the extra light and shorter
periods of darkness fools them into laying one extra egg per week" "Imagine how
many extra eggs we fool them into producing each year" "That's why he has a new
tractor" "But you get to stroll about this paddock in the sun each day and have
a good time compared to them Ethel"
Ethel flicked her tail across her
back, now swayed from carrying ten gallons of milk to the strange machine each
"So, Ethel this breeze may be carrying this new disease to us at
any moment or maybe a passing seagull might shit on you and poof! You have
caught it." "As well as that Ethel-see that road down there" "It's the time of
year when all those motorbikes arrive and go racing around this island again"
"It can be Ethel, that those people bring the disease with them" "We will never
know of course because the disease is invisible to yours and my eyes and we
need a special machine to see the little buggers" "But just in case they might
have the disease with them Ethel, I am going to get out the old tractor and
block the road so they cant come near you" "Just imagine if the disease got
into that pig shed down there, they would all get ill in one day"
considered going down to the pig shed and kicking down the doors to lessen
their chances of being contaminated if they could be in the wild, but she
didn't know how to get past the funny wire line that have her a bad jolt every
time she touched or licked it. She also considered doing the same to the
chicken shed but she remembered that the farmer told her that they could not
fly. The man with the new tractor had cut their wings.
"The disease is
called a virus Ethel" The farmer showed his superior knowledge. "Matter of
fact, we get one ourselves fairly similar to this one on the way" "Its called
the flu" "We get sick and feel like shit, but we go to bed for a couple of days
and it soon goes away" "We get it a few times in our life, but overall it seems
to do us no harm" "Difference is this Ethel---we don't shoot people who have
the flu, just you animals" "That's because we are more intelligent than you
are" "We are higher up in the brain chain and us humans rule the whole world"
Ethel knew they must be more intelligent as she could see the smoke
signals they sent to each other from special pipes on the top of each house and
other big buildings almost every day. She had figured out that's how they
communicate with each other.
"Now this business about you getting shot
Ethel is a bit of a worry" "You've been a real good cow and cranked out a few
thousand gallons of milk over the years" "But its not really me who shall
decide you must be killed, It's just me who has to do it" "We have these people
who figure it all out in terms of some stuff we call money" "These are the
people who will decide your fate" "In fact if I shoot you they will give me
some money so I don't feel so bad about your demise and can go out and buy
another cow when this is all over, maybe even a new tractor"
a bit confused by all of this and her interest was also on the wane as the
pressure of the milk began to build up in her belly. Some discharged from her
milk glands and wafted away in the breeze across the green meadows.
Ethel I may have to shoot you or I may not" "It all depends on things which
you, and even me sometimes, just don't really understand, but whatever it may
be, you can be sure that we will do the right thing, because we have the extra
brain power" "So don't concern yourself over a small thing like life or death
or even those who control who and what must live or die".
across the fields to a black and white object in the distance that was getting
larger by the second. She made it out to be an animal a bit like herself but
without a milk bag underneath.
The animal came roaring across the fields
having no concern for the funny pieces of jolty wire. It smashed into the pig
shed and within seconds out came hundreds of pink animals squealing and
grunting and running all over the place with abandon.
Next it charged into
the other shed and out came thousands of small white birds that ran and
fluttered and clucked all over the place. Soon it picked up the scent it could
feel in the breeze and reared its majestic head towards Ethel the Manx cow.
What a sight for old Harold the bull. Even the same paint job.
flash Harold was in the same paddock. He gave the farmer and his rifle one good
toss of his strong ivory horns and they were both laid in a heap on the ground,
the farmer quite unconscious and his rifle bent in two.
Ethel something she had never experienced in her whole life and in the same
place that had been only ever serviced by a glass tube. Ethel thought she was
in heaven and would happily die tomorrow if only Harold could muster up the
strength to do this mighty deed once more.
Harold the bull was also a
happy animal and wondered if he should light up a Marlboro to relax in the
afterglow of his manhood and ask her
"Was it good for you too"? Then he
took a look down to the slowly recovering farmer.
Before he mounted
Ethel once more, he dumped the biggest load of bullshit on the prone human the
Isle of Man has ever seen before or since. There was bullshit everywhere. Big
bits, small bits, runny bits, smelly bits and all of it disease free. You have
never seen or heard so much bullshit in your entire lives. The air was thick
with it!! There was so much bullshit flying about that some of the people in
the houses that sent out the smoke signals had to leave town. What a
His younger brother Paul, who had also picked up Ethel's scent,
soon joined Harold the bull but he had arrived too late. Paul knew he had a bit
to learn yet but was at least an eager learner.
Paul said to Harold
"Look, see there are more cows down in the next paddock." "Why don't we run
down before the farmer shuts the gate and hump a couple of them"?
Harold was a wise old bull. He had seen enough of human beings to last
a lifetime and had a suspicion of them and their ways.
He said to Paul
the young bull "We shall not run down there and hump a couple of those cows"
"We shall stroll down like gentlemen and hump the whole lot"
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