He laughed, and said he thought not, for she would cry every time any of her charge were sent to the butcher.
After this Miss Laura and I often went up to the pasture to see the sheep and the lambs. We used to get into a shady place where they could not see us, and watch them. One day I got a great surprise about the sheep. I had heard so much about their meekness that I never dreamed that they would fight; but it turned out that they did, and they went about it in such a business-like way, that I could not help smiling at them. I suppose that like most other animals they had a spice of wickedness in them. On this day a quarrel arose between two sheep; but instead of running at each other like two dogs they went a long distance apart, and then came rushing at each other with lowered heads. Their object seemed to be to break each other’s skull; but Miss Laura soon stopped them by calling out and frightening them apart. I thought that the lambs were more interesting than the sheep. Sometimes they fed quietly by their mothers’ sides, and at other times they all huddled together on the top of some flat rock or in a bare place, and seemed to be talking to each other with their heads close together. Suddenly one would jump down, and start for the bushes or the other side of the pasture. They would all follow pell-mell; then in a few minutes they would come rushing back again. It was pretty to see them playing together and having a good time before the sorrowful day of their death came.
* * * * *
A JEALOUS OX
Mr. Wood had a dozen calves that he was raising, and Miss Laura sometimes went up to the stable to see them. Each calf was in a crib, and it was fed with milk. They had gentle, patient faces, and beautiful eyes, and looked very meek, as they stood quietly gazing about them, or sucking away at their milk. They reminded me of big, gentle dogs.
I never got a very good look at them in their cribs, but one day when they were old enough to be let out, I went up with Miss Laura to the yard where they were kept. Such queer, ungainly, large-boned creatures they were, and such a good time they were having, running and jumping and throwing up their heels.
Mrs. Wood was with us, and she said that it was not good for calves to be closely penned after they got to be a few weeks old. They were better for getting out and having a frolic. She stood beside Miss Laura for a long time, watching the calves, and laughing a great deal at their awkward gambols. They wanted to play, but they did not seem to know how to use their limbs.
They were lean calves, and Miss Laura asked her aunt why all the nice milk they had taken had not made them fat. “The fat will come all in good time,” said Mrs. Wood. “A fat calf makes a poor cow, and a fat, small calf isn’t profitable to fit for sending to the butcher. It’s better to have a bony one and fatten it. If you come here next summer, you’ll see a fine show of young cattle, with fat sides, and big, open horns, and a good coat of hair. Can you imagine,” she went on, indignantly, “that any one could be cruel enough to torture such a harmless creature as a calf?”