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The Lazy Cow’s Moo: A fable that emulates the literary style of Things Fall

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Once upon a time, the cow and the ox were good friends who lived together in the green pastures. While Ox was a hard worker and earned his food, Cow was lazy and borrowed food from her friend. Every day, Ox would get up early in the morning, wash at the river, and walk to work at his land. He would be well into his hard work before Cow even stretches herself and starts thinking about whom she should go to next to ask for her breakfast.
“One day Cow discovered that her meager pile of food gathered from her begging had diminished to nothing. This meant that she would have to go from animal to animal again, asking for food. So she began her journey. For the whole day, she trundled along from one house to the next. Each time she reached a house, the animals would either hide from her by pretending not to be home or would refuse to help. Cow never paid back what she borrowed. Her debt had grown so much that the whole pasture was very wary of her.
“Finally she came to her friend Ox’s house. Ox invited her in with a smile and presented her with kola nuts. After the nuts had been broken and eaten, Ox asked Cow when her next sing would be. Now Cow was a very good singer, and if anything, that was what made her most tolerable with the other animals. Even though Cow hated hard work, she did love the occasional noon times in which the other animals would start singing; her voice would soar cheerfully above the others’.
“’Soon I hope, but I am much too hungry to be able to sing now,’ answered the cow.
“At this, Ox showed concern, and asked what was wrong.
“’I have no food, and no one will lend me any food. Why does my harvest always end up so meager? Why do I never seem to have food, while you have fields filled with yams? I have prayed and sung to the owner of the lands, Ani, and to the god of yams, Ifejioku, but I’m always hungry.’ At this, Cow looked plaintively at Ox.
“Inwardly, Ox thought ‘you are too lazy. It has nothing to do with your chi or the gods, but you.’ Ox was too polite to say that to his good friend and offered Cow some foo foo to take back for dinner. He also gave her yams that would last for a week, which was more than enough for Cow to pick her new harvest.
“Cow was very happy. She thanked Ox and then went back home and ate over half of her new supply of yams. But four days later, all of Ox’s yams were gone and so were the couple of yams that Cow had managed to grow. The next day, she trundled to Ox’s house again.
“Ox offered her kola nuts again and listened to Cow’s sad story again. However, this time he was more reluctant to hand over his food, and offered Cow only enough to last five days. This meant that Cow finished the food in two days and was at Ox’s door three days later.
“This time, Ox did not offer her kola nuts and simply handed over plantains instead of yams. Ox was quickly losing his patience for his leech friend and did not wish to continue to lend things to her when he knew that Cow would never pay her debt.
“The next time Cow came begging for food, the storm exploded. ‘Cow, you are the laziest animal in this pasture. Every animal knows this and so they won’t let you have any of their food. I have been your only source of food for weeks now! You must learn to earn your own food. You may try to sing the most pitiful song to me but until that day, do not count on me anymore!’
“’But I n-e-e-e-e-d f-o-o-o-o-o-d….’ Cow mooed a long, drawn out and plaintive moo as she began her attempt at convincing Ox through her song.
“’I don’t care,’ was Ox’s response to Cow’s pleads from then on.”
“There was one action that Ox took to ensure that Cow could survive. He gave her a piece of advice: ‘If you are really hungry and really lazy, then eat the grass, after all it is already there for you to eat. Maybe eating the hard grass will hurt your stomach enough for you to truly understand hard work.’
“Cow heard this advice, so she approached the humans who owned the pasture. She offered them milk that she was able to produce because of the plantains she’d eaten the day before and the humans liked it. They offered her the grass on the pastures in exchange for her milk.
“To this day, this exchange of milk and grass continues because Cow undergoes the hard work of eating grass and so can make the milk for the humans. Cow continues to sing her plaintive moo in order to convince her friend the Ox to provide her with better food, but meanwhile she works hard to eat grass.”





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