there was a cow with a very strange moo. Whenever the cow
mooed, the birds stopped singing, the worms stopped churning,
and even the farmer stopped plowing in the fields. Everything
was quiet. For they were all asleep.
At first the farmer did not realize why he fell asleep so
often while he was doing his chores. But soon he discovered
that it happened only when his cow mooed.
will never do!" he exclaimed. "I will have to get another
cow." So one morning the farmer took his cow to another farmer
down the road. The other farmer, who did not know about the
cow's strange moo, agreed to buy her. He was just about to
pay for her, when she suddenly mooed. Both farmers immediately
The cow looked at them for a few minutes, and then wandered
off. Down the road she ambled, stopping every now and then
to munch some clover at the edge of the nearby fields.
As the cow walked along, she mooed every now and then. She
left a trail of sleeping animals behind her. There were two
rabbits, a dog, two horses, a fox, and several dozen field
mice -- all asleep. As she ambled down the middle of the road,
a large truck stopped.
cow! Get over to the side of the road!" the driver shouted.
The cow turned around and mooed. Instantly the driver fell
asleep with his head hanging out of the truck window.
On the cow went. Soon she reached the nearby town. As she
walked down the street, cars honked their horns at her. Finally
she stopped at the center of town, where the two main streets
crossed. Cars were coming at her from all directions. Brakes
screeched, horns honked, and people shouted. The policeman
waved his nightstick.
The cow was frightened. She did not know where to go. And
she could not move anyway, because of all the cars. So she
just stood there right in the middle of the two main streets.
The noise got louder and louder.
The cow mooed.
everything was quiet. The honking stopped. The shouting stopped.
All the people in the cars were asleep. The policeman was
asleep. People who had been walking down the street were asleep,
too. Even the people who had been looking out of their windows
Telephones in the middle of town began to ring. But nobody
answered them. Everyone was still sound asleep. In a nearby
town, a woman called her local police station. "There's something
wrong over in Centerville. My daughter-in-law doesn't answer
her phone. And her next-door neighbor doesn't answer her phone,
The police chief sighed. He put in a call to the Centerville
police station. But no one answered. He scratched his head
and called one of his radio cars. "Car 6, check out the Centerville
area. There's something funny going on there."
Soon there was a report from the radio car, "There's some
kind of traffic jam in the middle of town, Chief. I can't
get any farther in the car, so I'm going to park here and
proceed on foot."
The police chief waited for another report -- and waited,
and waited. But there was no sound from the radio. For the
cow had mooed again, and the patrolman was now stretched out
on the sidewalk of Main Street, fast asleep.
The worried police chief called State Police headquarters.
They sent a helicopter over the area. "Hey!" the pilot yelled
over his radio. "It looks like some kind of disaster area!
Bodies all over the place! Maybe it's some kind of plague!"
The State Police chief called the Governor, and he called
out the National Guard. Soon twenty soldiers with gas masks
were racing down Main Street. With guns held ready, they surrounded
the area. They did not know what to expect, but they were
ready for anything.
The cow mooed.
A few hours later, the farmer who owned the cow heard on his
radio, "Tanks have surrounded Centerville. Jets are providing
air covers. The army is about to move in. Keep tuned for the
The farmer turned to his son. "Could that be our cow causing
all that trouble? We ought to do something. But if we go near
her, she'll just put us to sleep, too."
have an idea," said the farmer's son. And off he went. When
the boy reached the edge of town, the soldiers would not let
him pass. He insisted that he knew what to do. Finally they
took him to the General, who was in charge of everything.
know what to do, General!" the farmer's son cried.
Sonny," said the General. "I'm busy. My men are just moving
in." He turned back to his radio.
Out of the speaker came a voice. "We've surrounded Main Street,
Sir. The tanks are moving in. Everyone we've seen seems to
be alive, but unconscious, Sir. The only thing moving is a
cow, right in the middle of Main Street. We're getting closer
The boy tugged at the General's sleeve. "General, General,
don't let them get any closer! I know the answer -- this!"
He pulled out a pair of earmuffs and popped them onto his
The General and his staff burst out laughing.
then a voice came from the radio again. "I've reached the
cow now, General. Everything seems all right." Over the radio,
the General and his staff heard the cow moo.
Then the radio was silent. The soldiers on Main Street were
all asleep. Back at headquarters, the General was asleep.
And so was his staff. But the farmer's son was not. With his
ear muffs on, he had not heard the cow moo. The boy walked
into town, past all the sleeping soldiers and the sleeping
people. He walked up to the cow, took her halter, and led
The next day the farmer and his son fenced in a plot of land
in the far pasture. Wearing earmuffs, they led the cow over
and closed her inside. There she lived contentedly.
2013 The Silversteins