The Inquisitive Cow on Accents, Holidays & Capitalism


Happy Easter! On Thursday, I was given this chocolate cow by my very kind manager at work, and it immediately reminded me of a comic series of posts that I wrote ten or so years ago for my former blog, Cally’s Kitchen.

Back then, I used the pen-name dúnadan and the series was inspired by a photograph I took during a trip to Dorset of an inquisitive looking cow.

The idea of the series was that I would interview this cow who would tell me what knowledge she had been learning over in the last week.

It was great fun a. reading about new things for Gerie Cow, as she became known, to discuss, and b. learn about the doings of the other farmyard animals where she lived. My favourite was Tecumseh Squirrel, a red squirrel full of war-like ambition.

Anyway, having been reminded of the Inquisitive Cow I thought I would repost one of our interviews (from 1.9.06) just for old times sake, and so that you could see what I was talking about. You may wish I hadn’t but I hope you find it fun to read!


Gerie, the Inquisitive Cow

Gerie, the Inquisitive Cow, the original photo.

dúnadan: Hallo from sunny Dorset! On the eve of exciting events in London, I have come to visit my friend, the inquisitive cow: newly returned from her holiday in Devon. Hallo cow!
inq. cow.: Hallo dúnadan. Moo!
dúnadan: How is your great aunt Wellingtonia doing?
inq. cow.: Oh, she is fine. As you know, she is a keen historian and has a particular interest in the Raj. I think she just fancies Lord Mountbatten though. Great Aunt Wellingtonia actually quivers at the knees when any of Farmer Hobble’s posh friends come to visit her.
dúnadan: Ah. That gives me the chance to mention a very interesting report that was published not long ago, namely, that the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers claim that Somerset cows moo with a west country tang – “moo -arrr!”.
inq. cow.: I understand you tried and failed to catch up with Jenny Wren last week. Come the day when you do finally meet her, you will find that she has an accent that could cut a blade of grass in threes and fours. Of course us cows have accents – why would we not?!
dúnadan: Next you will be telling me that you drink cider!
inq. cow.: Mmmm.
dúnadan: Alright, our first topic tonight is that of holidays. When was the first holiday taken. This was the subject most on your mind when you travelled to Devon. Did you find an answer?
inq. cow.: It took much research and a trip to several fields, but eventually I found a wise old cow by the name of Deuteronomy who informed me that the first holiday was taken in England following Henry VIII’s break with Rome. This reflects the fact that the word ‘holiday’ comes from holy-day, which were days when Christians stopped work to attend special Masses.
dúnadan: So for thousands and thousands of years there were no holidays at all. And people talk about the Protestant work ethic! It looks like the pagans were the really hard working ones.
inq. cow.: By-the-bye, did you know that pagan means country dweller? Christianity first spread through cities, only reaching those in the countryside afterwards.
dúnadan: Is it Greek in origin?
inq. cow.: No, Latin. Oh, and paganus is derived from pagus which means a rural area.
dúnadan: Did Deuteronomy tell you this?
inq. cow.: Yes, although Exodus chimed in as well.
dúnadan: I must say, they have very interesting names.
inq. cow.: We must invite them here. Bertie Pig would love Exodus. Well, with a name like that, it is easy to see why! Deuwy, as his family call him, is the field elder and so is the one who lays down the law. Hence, his name.
dúnadan: Oh for a time machine to go back to when the books of the Bible were named. I would say to the namers ‘one day, these titles will be applied to a herd of cows somewhere in Devon.’ Obviously I would have to tell them where Devon was.
inq. cow.: I wonder if they would believe you! Perhaps they had never heard of England! Anyway, I would be interested to know on what day the Bible books were named! It is easy to imagine those books with authors being known by the author’s name from the moment they were written, but what about those books that have other names?
dúnadan: Further research is required. In the meantime, tell us about your little capitalist venture while on holiday.
inq. cow.: Certainly. As everyone knows, cows live in fields and do not buy clothes or food. We die but we do not pay taxes. Hence, our overheads are very low. However, my cousin whom I shall call capitalist cow even though he is a bull – his real name is Algernon – persuaded me to join in his clotted cream enterprise. Have you ever made clotted cream?
dúnadan: I confess I have not.
inq. cow.: Well, it is very easy. Take a cow. Milk cow. Leave milk in a pan for twelve hours so that the cream rises to the surface. Heat the milk but don’t boil it. After an hour, place the pan in a cool place overnight. The next morning, you can skim the clotted milk from the surface.
dúnadan: You speak like an expert!
inq. cow.: Would you believe that until I asked Farmer Bill what he did with the milk I had no idea of anything that happened! It is hard to believe that I have not always been inquisitive. Nowadays, it only happens in extremely hot weather and heavy rain.
dúnadan: Heh heh. So, how did your experiment in capitalism go?
inq. cow.: Well, I’m afraid to say that Algie cow is a little too smart for his own good. Before becoming a capitalist cow he studied political and economic history and now insists that before cows can share in the profits of such businesses we have to pass through the patrician period where bulls make all the money and keep it. Like I said, we cows have no use for money, but there is a principle at stake.
dúnadan: Of course.
inq. cow.: So, until I began a revolutionary movement, Algie didn’t give us anything. Afterwards, however, well, what can I say – in order to keep pace with Algernon’s theory of political and economic progress, our revolution became corrupt very quickly and we cut him out of the business!
dúnadan: Oh dear…
inq. cow.: Oh, don’t worry, we let him back in again, eventually!
dúnadan: That is good to know. Well, it is getting dark now so let’s finish things off. My notes tell me that you have a linguistic joke for us.
inq. cow.: The Learned Owl is teaching me Latin. Thus, there was a Roman soldier who walked into a bar and said, “I would like to order a martini.” The barman looked at him quizzically before saying, “Where is your partner?”
dúnadan: Oh my goodness. I think I have stomach cramps. Well, Gerrie, it is good to see you again. Let us embrace! I will see you again next week.
the dúnadan embraces the inquisitive cow who gives him a slurp of the tongue in return.
dúnadan: Eurgh!

Farmhouse Cheesemakers
Report on cow accents (unfortunately the link on CK is now dead)

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