The dancing cow
Jane was in bed. She was very ill.
«Shall I sit at the window and tell you what is happening outside?»
«Yes, please,» said Jane.
So Michael came up to the window and cried «Wow!»
«What is it?» said Jane.
«A very strange thing. There’s a cow,» said Michael.
«A cow? In the middle of a town? How funny! Mary Poppins,» said Jane, «there’s a cow in the Lane.»
«Yes, and it’s walking very slowly and looking around. I think it has lost something.»
Mary Poppins came up to the window.
‘It’s not funny at all,’ she said. «I know that cow. She was my Mother’s great friend. The Red Cow lived in the field of beautiful yellow flowers. She had a happy life in her sunny and green world. In the morning and in the afternoon she gave lessons to the Red Calf, her daughter. Then they had supper, and the Red Cow showed the Red Calf how to tell good grass from bad grass. When her daughter went to sleep, she went into a corner of the field and thought her own happy thoughts.
The Red Cow liked her life and she didn’t want any change. But one night she came to the end of her happy days. That night the Red Cow got up suddenly and began to dance. There was no music but she danced and danced and danced.
‘What a strange thing!’ said the Red Cow. ‘I don’t like dancing, but now I am dancing and I like it.’
At last she got tired and decided to stop. But, to her great surprise, she could not stop dancing. She went dancing all the night. In the morning she couldn’t have breakfast because she couldn’t stop. In the afternoon and in the evening she danced too. When the second night came, and she still could not stop, she got very worried. And at the end of a week dancing she was very, very, very worried.
‘I must go and see the King,’ she said. She danced out of the field and went to the King. All the people and animals looked at the dancing cow with a great surprise. But nobody was more surprised than the Red Cow herself.
At last she came to the Palace where the King lived. When the Palace door opened, she danced through the halls to the King’s throne.
‘The King was very busy. He was making new Laws. His Secretary was writing them down in a little red notebook.
‘How many laws?’ asked the King.
‘Seventy-two, your Majesty,’ the Secretary said.
‘Well, not bad for an hour’s work,’ said the King. He stood up and saw the Red Cow. She was dancing to the throne.
‘What is that?’ the King asked.
‘A Cow, your Majesty!’ she answered.
«I can see that, but what do you want? Be quick, because I am a very busy King! And stop dancing,’ the King said in an angry voice.
‘That’s my problem, your Majesty. I can’t stop!’ said the Red Cow.
‘The Red Cow tried to stop dancing but it was no good.
‘I can’t. It is the seventh day of dancing. And I can’t eat. I can’t sleep.’
‘Hm — very strange,’ said the King. ‘What does it feel like?’
‘Funny,’ said the Red Cow, ‘it’s a happy feeling, too.’
‘Very funny,’ said the King and looked at the cow very carefully.
‘Suddenly he jumped on his feet and cried, ‘Don’t you see that? The cow has caught a fallen star on her horn! Now, pull it off and this lady can stop dancing and have some breakfast.’
‘But the star didn’t come off. Then the King took the biggest book but it said nothing about cows with stars on their horns. Except the story of the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon.
‘Try that too,’ the King said.
‘Try what?’ said the Red Cow.
‘Try to jump over the Moon. I think it will help.’
‘Me?’ the Red Cow was very surprised. ‘I am a serious animal. Jumping is not good for a lady.’
‘Madam,’ the King said, ‘do you want to go on dancing? Do you like to feel hungry and sleepy?’
The Red Cow thought of the sweet yellow flowers and soft grass. And she said, ‘I’ll try it.’
And they went to the garden.
‘Now,’ said the King, ‘One! Two! Three!’
That moment the Red Cow jumped and flew up into the sky. She looked down. The King was growing smaller and smaller. She went higher and higher through the dark sky. The stars were dancing around her like great golden plates. Then she closed her eyes because the moonlight was very bright and cold. Suddenly the star fell off with a great noise.
Next moment the Red Cow came down on the Earth again. To her great surprise she was in her green field. And she stopped dancing!
The Red Cow and her daughter had a lovely dinner of soft grass and sweet yellow flowers. And she began to live her usual life. At first she enjoyed it very much. She was glad to eat her breakfast without dancing. She lay down in the grass and slept peacefully at night. But one night she began to feel uncomfortable. She wanted something else. But she couldn’t understand what it was. At last she understood it. It was the star. She thought only about the star. She lost her appetite. One day, she went to my Mother and told her the story.
»My dear!’ my Mother said to her. ‘You know, millions of stars fall out of the sky every night! But they fall in different places.’
‘So I’ll go and look for one…’ the Red Cow began, and a happy look came into her eyes.»
Mary Poppins paused.
«And now she is walking down Cherry Tree Lane,» Jane said.
«Yes,» said Michael, «she is looking for her star.»