I know, I know, it’s been a year since part 2. What makes me think I can finish the story now? Well, it has to be finished. Enough said. 🙂
As we left off, Milky-White was happy, Leonard was happy, Leonard’s family was happy, and all the people who had bought Leonard’s Miracle Milk were happy. It’s a happy story, right?
Every day for a week, Leonard sold 50 bottles of his miracle milk. Each morning, Leonard would milk the cow, have his wife bottle the milk, and walk down to the road where a hundred or so people waited in line—all hoping to get a bit of that amazing miracle milk. Unfortunately, Milky-White could only produce so much milk each day, so many people walked away empty handed. Leonard walked away with an overstuffed purse of coins.
After a week, Leonard noticed scuffles in the line about who was first and who should go to the end of the line. Many of those in the back of the line made their way to the front and yelled at those getting their bottles of miracle milk: “You were in the front yesterday!” “Stop being selfish and let those who haven’t got some yet get some today!” “I saw you cut in line!” And those in the front of the line stuck out their tongues and sneered at those in the back of the line as they headed back home.
One day, as Leonard reached the road to start his selling, an angry group of people in the back of the line threw produce at Leonard, claiming it was meant to get his attention, and beckoned him to start the selling at the end of the line. Leonard, not opposed to mixing things up and not wanting to fight with the produce-throwing buyers, complied, to the chagrin of those in the front of the line.
The next day, Leonard’s path to the road was blocked by two oversized boys with axes.
“What’s going on?” Leonard asked innocently.
“Pa says you can’t get through unless you hand us some of that miracle milk first,” the tallest boy said.
Leonard, wanting to avoid conflict, pulled out a bottle and handed it to the boy. The boy handed Leonard a handful of coins and ran off. As Leonard approached the front of the line, more produce was thrown at Leonard, this time with accusations of favoritism and not respecting the line.
The next day, two families barred Leonard’s path. And the day after that, five families barred Leonard’s path. Leonard did his best to deal with everyone without causing a fight, but no matter what he did, everyone was upset.
Finally the end of the third week came. Leonard approached the road expecting a large group of families blocking his way and wondered how many bottles he would have left for the line. But when he approached the road, his path was clear and only a little boy waited for miracle milk.
“Where is everyone?” Leonard asked the boy.
“They all went home to get axes and pitchforks,” the boy replied.
“Why?” Leonard asked as he gave the boy a bottle of milk.
“They want your cow,” the boy replied as he handed Leonard coins and ran off.
It didn’t take long for Leonard to realize what the people intended to do.
Leonard, hoping he could outrun the mob, hurried home to gather his family. As he approached his house, he yelled, “We have to leave. The townspeople are coming for Milky-White!”
Now, it is interesting to note that as Leonard’s wife ran from the house to see what Leonard was yelling about, two major events happened: Milky-White moo-ed the loudest moo any cow has ever made, and a mob of townspeople arrived with pitchforks and axes.
The mob yelled, “Where’s the cow? We’re taking it for ourselves!” And the cow moo-ed again, almost as loud as the first time.
Leonard’s children ran from the barn, exclaiming, “Papa, the cow…” They saw the mob and whispered, “Milky-White is leaking gold.”
“So the miracle milk is gone,” Leonard realized.
The mob threatened, “Give us the cow or we will burn this place down.”
“No!” Leonard’s wife yelled, “Leonard, do something.”
Leonard turned to his wife, eyes wide, and said, “There is nothing we can do, my dear, except let them burn this place and run with Milky-White.”
Leonard’s wife was furious. “What do you mean? We can’t leave our home! We will have nothing.”
“No,” Leonard said, grabbing his wife’s hand, herding the children, and heading to the barn. “Grab the cat,” he told his children. To his wife he grinned the deepest grin and said, “We are rich.”
Only a small group of men followed Leonard to the barn and when they tried to grab the cow, Milky-White kicked each one in the head and they all passed out on the ground.
Leonard directed his wife to grab the cow as he ensured the mob was more concerned with destroying his home. As the flames kindled in Leonard’s garden and house, his family and Milky-White raced off into the trees never to be seen or heard by that town ever again.
Leonard and his family lived happily ever after, of course, after trading Milky-White’s gold milk for lots of money, buying a big fancy house by the sea, and giving Milky-White the most comfortable barn fit for a king.
So now, I hope, you see the irony. Milky-White the cow could have saved Jack and his mother from their poverty, if only they had loved and taken care of their golden milk cow. But, I’m sure they are content with their gold coins, golden eggs, and magical harp.
And Milky-White was very happy in a new home where she was loved and well taken care of, so much so that she never stopped producing gold milk for her new family.
END OF THIS TALE
Confused by this tale? Maybe you should check out the first two parts:
© S. Ann Comte, 14 September 2017