Cows enjoy pasture time on Pete Wilford’s farm, west of Sooke. (Contributed)

SOOKE HISTORY: A bird and a beast

Elida Peters, Contributer

Hopefully readers will be as amused as I was coming across this little tidbit by a 10-year-old child, published in an earlier version of our local weekly, on Feb. 20 1962, when it was called the Grapevine.

Here it is: “The bird that I am going to write about is the Owl. The Owl cannot see at all by day and at night is as blind as a bat. I do not know much about the Owl so I will go on to the beast which I am going to choose. It is the Cow. The Cow is a mammal. It has six sides – right, left, an upper and below. At the back, it has a tail on which hangs a brush. With this it sends the flies away so that they do not fall into the milk.

“The head is for the purpose of growing horns and so that the mouth can be somewhere. The horns are to butt with, and the mouth is to moo with. Under the cow hangs the milk. It is arranged for milking. When people milk, the milk comes and there is never an end to the supply. How the cow does it I have not yet realized, but it makes more and more. The cow has a fine sense of smell; one can smell it far away. That is the reason for the fresh air in the country.

“The man cow is called an ox. It is not a mammal. The cow does not eat much, but what it eats it eats twice, so that it gets enough. When it is hungry it moos, and when it says nothing it is because its inside is all full up with grass.”

(From an essay by a child of 10, quoted in Plain Words, by Sir Ernest Gower.) We’ve placed a photo of Pete Wilford’s cows on Woodside Farm alongside to illustrate the veracity of the ten-year-old’s description. We couldn’t find a photo with horns, though, as Pete’s cows are polled (hornless).

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Elida Peers is the historian of Sooke Region Museum.

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