Betty had a problem. She needed to get to the field on other side of the fence, because the grass was greener and looked more luscious over there. The cows on the other side of the fence were enjoying the grass more, and they looked happier.
“Mavis, have you ever been to that field past the fence over to that other field over there?” Betty asked, asked her older friend.
Mavis rolled her large brown cow eyes. “Why would I want to go over there, when I can get as much grass as I need right here?”
“But the grass over there looks taller and greener. I think we’re missing out,” Betty said.
“Girl, just be happy with what you’ve got. No sense in wishing for the moon.” Mavis said, sidling over to another patch of grass.
“But it’s just there.” Betty looked with yearning at the field on the other side of the fence.
After a few minutes, she’d decided. “I’m going to go over there. You want to come with me, Mavis?”
“Oh no, don’t count me in on your foolhardy exploits. I’m just fine, right where I am. I have all the good grass feeding I need.” Mavis turned away and busied herself munching grass.
Betty walked up to the fence. She’d never gotten so close to the fence. There was usually a zinging sound coming from the wires on the fence. Funny, insects like mosquitos made such noises, but it was still early in the day, so it she didn’t think there would be any mosquitoes around. At least she hoped not.
Well, here goes, she said, and charged at the fence. After all, it was just a couple of wires, and she knew she, being a cow, was a big girl.
“Boing,” the wires of the fence sounded, and she wondered why she was feeling scrunched. She must have made it through the fence. But no, the wire was tight around her belly. They were so tight they were cutting into her.
“Ouch,” she yelled. She tried to pull herself loose of the fence, but something sharp dug into her the skin on her chest. “Something’s stuck on me. It’s not letting me go.” She tried to swerve her body to the left and then to the right and then back again, but the thing was still stuck to her.
“You’re stuck on a barb, one of those little sharp things on the wire,” Mavis said. “You’re lucky the electricity wasn’t running.” Mavis shook her big bovine head.
The barb on the barbed wire. Betty knew what Mavis was talking about. She’d rubbed herself by accident against some of those sharp barbs. She should have thought of that. But she felt more determined. That proved the grass was much better on the other side, if there were deterrents to her going over there.
She eased her large body so that the barb would come out of her flesh. Once it was out, she had a wound, and there might have been a little blood, but she wasn’t concerned. Mavis was right. She’d been lucky electricity hadn’t been running through them, otherwise she would have had a bad electrical shock.
She walked along the whole fence and looked for any place where she could get through to the other side, but all she could see were wires with barbs.
“You’re looking glum,” Mavis said, swishing her tail at some fleas.
Betty laid down on the grass. Her stomach was grumbling. She hadn’t eaten since she’d gotten it in her head to get to the other side of the fence. She was just about to give up her dream of eating better grass on the other side, when decided that if she couldn’t go through the fence, there might be another way. How about under the fence? She grinned to herself. She saw small animals digging holes to go under the fence all the time. Why hadn’t she thought of that before?
Ten minutes later, her hooves were very sore and dirty, and stones were stuck in her soles and they hurt when she put her weight on them. Mavis came by and shook her head. “Dear, dear, what were you trying to do? Dig a hole to China?”
“No, I just wanted to dig a hole under that fence,” Betty said. frowning at the scratch marks she’d made on the ground.
“Cows don’t dig holes.” Mavis said, shaking her cow head. “Here, hold up your hoof, one at a time, and I’ll use my tongue to get the stones out.”
Betty appreciated Mavis helping her with the stones, but why was Mavis not helping her get across to the other field?”
“You don’t believe in me,” she said to Mavis.
“Betty, your eyes are so angry now. I believe in you. And I believe if you want to get into that other field, you’ll do that. But I don’t have any interest and I certainly don’t have any business in that field.”
“I’m sorry for getting mad at you.” Betty held up her hoof that Mavis had cleaned of all the stuck stones. “It feels much better.”
She walked again along the fence and tried to think of how she could get to the field where the grass was greener on the other side. Now she’d learned through trial and error that she couldn’t go through the fence and she couldn’t dig under the fence, but what about over the fence? She knew she didn’t have wings, but horses didn’t have wings, and she’d seen some of them jump over fences. A horse wasn’t a cow, but their bodies had a lot of similarities.
She paced back from the fence, so she’d be able to run and get enough speed to pick her body up and jump over the fence. Her breathing was so laboured as she ran she thought she wouldn’t make it to the fence, but she was determined and kept going, even though her hooves were still sore from her digging misadventure. Just before the fence, she jumped, but her body didn’t jump. In fact, it didn’t even get five inches off the ground. Her body just collapsed into a heap on the ground.
She buried her head in the ground. When she heard Mavis lowing around her head, she didn’t look up. “Just leave me alone. I’m a complete failure. I’m stuck on this side for the rest of my life. It’s not fair.”
Mavis nudged her shoulder. “Dear Betty, I admire your determination.”
Betty chomped at a bit of grass where she was laying. It tasted good. “I’ve given up. The grass is greener in the next field, but I guess I don’t deserve it. I’ll just have to learn to be satisfied with what I have on this side.”
She lumbered up onto her feet and looked for grass to fill her belly. If she hadn’t known about that other field with the greener grass, she would have been content. She enjoyed eating grass. It was never dull, and a single blade of grass depending on where it was in the field had some many characteristics such as sweetness, tanginess, chewiness, sharpness, and different kinds of rain and sunshine lent other subtle characteristics to grass.
“Zzz…zap…zap.” she heard. That fence’s electricity must be working again. She was glad she hadn’t gotten a shock from it, especially when she heard a cow cry out in pain. One of the other cows had decided that they would succeed where she’d failed. Only it wouldn’t be Mavis. Her old friend was the kindest of souls, but lacked ambition.
Betty went back to eating grass, but then the cow cried out again. “Oh, shut up, can’t you see I’m busy,” she said. “And if you don’t stop going near that fence, you’ll keep getting electrical shocks.”
“I want to come to your side,” she heard a cow say. The voice was unfamiliar. She lifted her head and looked. There was a cow, about her own age, on the other side of the fence. She looked down at the hooves. They weren’t dirty. The neighbor cow hadn’t tried digging yet. But the neighbor cow had tried getting through the fence, and not only did the cow have a barbed wire scratch, it was quivering from the electrical shock.
“What? Why do you want to come here?” she asked.
“You cows have greener grass on your side, and you all look so happy. All the other cows on my side, think I’m crazy to want to join you, but I can’t think of anything else but tasting your grass,” the neighbour cow said, with a sad look in her large black-brown cow eyes.
“I have an idea,” Betty said, raising her head, and looking around for Mavis. She was glad Mavis wasn’t around. Maybe her old friend had gone to rest on the other side of the hill. “How about I give you some of the best grass from my side of the fence and you give me some of your best grass?”
The neighbor cow nodded, “Yes yes, let’s do that. Why are you limping, and why are your hooves so dirty?”
“You don’t want to know,” Betty said, and she looked about and selected some of the choicest grass and taking care, let it drop on the on the other side of the fence. Meanwhile, she didn’t make a move without being sure that the neighbor cow was reciprocating.
She looked at the little clump of grass, the neighbour cow had proffered from her side. It didn't look any different from the grass Betty ate every day. The neighbour cow also wrinkled her nose. “I promise it’s the best I can find,” Betty said.
“I gave you the best I could find too,” said the neighbor cow.
"Maybe the taste will be different," Betty said.
They both picked up the offered grass in their muzzles and set to chewing. “Doesn’t taste different,” the neighbor cow said.
Betty had been about to say the same thing. Mavis had been right. The grass wasn’t better on the other side of the fence, even though from the distance, it looked better. And not only that, the neighbour cow had thought the grass on her side looked better.
She felt some of the earlier grass she’d eaten or cud come up into her mouth for re-chewing, and appreciated just how good the grass in her field was. What a pleasant rumination, and what a lucky cow she was. She mooed with contentment and heard Mavis moo back in agreement.