Farmer Michael loved his animals and he knew them all by name: the cows, the pigs, the cheeky little donkey and even the chickens. He liked the little farm on the mountain and his animals had a good life. The chickens pawed outside, the pigs had a nice run, the donkey was actually a family member anyway and the cows now, in the winter time nice, had fresh straw in which they could comfortably ruminate.
For the pre-Christmas season he had come up with something special for his darlings, the cows: Christmas music! He found an old radio, brought it into the barn, and placed it on a board on the wall near the cows. Then he looked for a station with Christmas carols, stroking the cows’ soft noses dreaming of his childhood, when he came home from tobogganing and warmed up with the gentle cows,
When his wife called him for breakfast, he noticed how hungry he was and quickly left the barn. He was so lost in his memories that he didn’t close the door properly.
It had snowed for the first time that night, and his steps crunched in the snow as he crossed the yard.
The cows, lying comfortably in the straw, were amazed at the music. “What a beautiful sound,” thought cow Alma, “where does it come from?” Curious, she heaved herself to her knees, got on her feet and strolled over to the square box on the wall from which this sound was obviously coming. She sniffed it extensively. “Doesn’t smell like food,” she mused, “but it sounds very beautiful.“
While she was still sniffing the box in amazement, the music suddenly stopped and a voice said:
“Good morning, dear listeners. It’s time to announce a very special event. Today there is an Advent celebration at the Grieshof in the village of Averhoy. The Grieshof farmer sends a message that good food and warm drinks will be provided and everyone who has no plans today is cordially invited to spend a few pleasant hours with friendly people and animals at the Grieshof. So come and let us greet the Christmas season and the first snow of the year together!”
Now Alma was really amazed and hesitantly licked the box. “What might an Advent celebration be?” Her long tongue drove into one nostril. “With nice people and animals? Then the invitation is also valid for us … “ A picture of fresh, juicy clover came before her inner eye and she looked longingly over to the stable door. Immediately she saw the streak of light falling through the crack in the door. The door wasn’t locked as usual! A daring plan awoke in her.
She turned to Bless, her dearest friend, who layed half asleep in the straw and didn’t seem to have noticed a thing. Alma mooed her plan into Bless’ ear and Bless rose immediately. and Alma had to admit that her tired friend was always available for a little adventure.
They looked at each other briefly and walked one behind the other towards the stable door and stepped out onto the snowy meadow in front of the farm.
“How cold it is” Alma mooed. But not very loud as she didn’t want the farmer to hear them.
Bravely they trudged through the snow until they reached the forest road which they remembered from the summer time. The little road wasn’t quite as snowy as the meadows next next to it because a few cars had already passed there.
The two cows headed towards the valley where they assumed the village was. “Do you know where the Grieshof is?” Bless asked her friend.
“Not exactly,” Alma admitted, “but if everyone is invited we will just have to follow all the many people and animals in the village! “
The way into the valley was a long one. The road turned out to be slippery so the two cows could not run particularly fast. In addition, they had to stop every now and then and marvel at the snowy surrounding.
Finally they came to the village.
Bless looked around. “There’s not a soul here!” She said to Alma. „Where are the other visitors to the Advent celebration? Well, then we can probably eat everything on our own! ” she joked.
They continued walking through the village.
Alma said, “Really, I’m terribly cold and I’m also getting really hungry! Where is the Grieshof?“ Bless was thirsty. But the little creek next to the road was frozen over. “And now?” She asked a little perplexed.
“Now we have to go on. In any case, I won’t be able to make the way back, ”Alma mooed, trembling and discouraged.
So they trudged on with their heads hanging low. When they got to the end of the village and had lost almost all courage, they saw a large house. It stood a little apart on a hill and was adorned with fairy lights.
Alma leaped for joy, although not too high, she felt so tired and cold.
“There, Bless, just look,” she mooed, her spirits awakening again. “With all the lights there is certainly the celebration and we’ll get something to eat and to drink.”
“Maybe it’s a bit warm there, too,” Bless mooed sullenly, “I can’t feel my ears anymore, they are so cold.”
But the sight of the many colored lights had given her new courage and so the two runaways trotted off to get to the illuminated courtyard with its promise of food, drink and warmth as quickly as possible.
As they got closer, they still didn’t see anyone on their way to the house, no humans and no animals. But someone must have taken this way before them because they could clearly see some tracks in the snow. Summing up all of their strength, our two adventurers climbed the narrow path to the lighted house. Alma kept slipping and groaning: “Hopefully we’ll be there soon!” Meanwhile, Bless licked some snow to quench her thirst. Finally they reached the top of the little hill.
It actually appeared to be a farm. The gate was wide open and Bless and Alma passed through it. A large light went on immediately, illuminating the entire yard. The two cows looked around. Only a large decorated Christmas tree stood there. No party, no food and no one to be seen. Alma and Bless hung their heads. What now? They would probably freeze to death miserably. Or starve to death. Or die of thirst. They felt like just laying down in the snow and let fate take its course.
Fortunately a front door opened and a man came out. He looked at the cows in amazement.
“Well, well, well, what are you doing here?” He asked the two cow ladies with raised eyebrows. Of course, he didn’t know that the two understood him perfectly. “It’s way too cold out here for you!” Alma and Bless immediately began to tell him about their adventures, about their hunger and thirst and above all about feeling terribly cold. But – that’s how people are – the farmer only understood moo.
At least he acted quickly, opened a barn door and let them go inside. It was pleasantly warm there and the friendly man gave Alma and Bless hay and water from a tub. Then he fetched two huge woolen blankets and placed them over the backs of the cows. He switched on the light of the Christmas tree and even brought them a few apples, a treat that they normally only tasted in autumn, when they were out on the meadow..
A moment later two children came running out of the house, a boy and a little girl. They didn’t stop to look at the big christmas tree, but stormed straight into the stable.
“Where do those cows come from?” The boy asked his father. “They are not ours.”
“They must have escaped somewhere!” He replied.
“You poor cows! You must have been really freezing”, said the girl pityingly and stroked Alma and Bless over the head.
The boy sat down with them and told them how he once ran away from home. “I had a fight with my mom and was so angry that I ran away and hid in my grandpa’s garden shed. I sat there all afternoon being angry. In the evening grandpa suddenly came in and found me. He said my parents were looking for me everywhere and they were very sad! Later, when they picked me up, my mother hugged me and cried for joy. Since then I haven’t run away again and I tell my mother if I don’t like something. “
The cows mooed softly: “Oh dear, our farmer is probably looking for us already. We have to go home straight away so that he doesn’t worry too much! “
They were about to leave the stable when a car with a trailer drove into the yard. Alma and Bless knew the man who got out. It was her farmer Michael. Both cows almost jumped in the air for joy.
Michael went to the other farmer and said: “Howdy, Franz! We were just about to go to Averhoy to the Grieshof for the Advent party. That’s when we noticed that two of our cows were gone. We were pretty worried, the two outside, in this cold! I was really happy when your wife called and said she thought the two runaways were with you in the stable! “
“Yes, luckily I noticed them quickly!” Franz looked at the two cows and suddenly had the feeling that they knew exactly what he was talking about. He shook his head in confusion and mumbled: “Am I going crazy? I’d almost say they understand me … ” Then he gave himself a jerk and said: „Well, ladies, you had better get into your taxi now. Hopefully you had a nice Advent excursion. “
Alma and Bless got into the trailer and let themselves be driven home. They looked forward to their own stable, their friends and their cozy straw bed.
In the stable they were greeted with joy and curiosity and of course they had to tell the story of their trip straight away. Surely there was one or the other exaggeration; the snow got colder and colder, the way longer and more difficult, the apples more and more delicious and the blankets on their backs slowly turned into heavenly soft down comforters. But the most beautiful thing was the drive home and that the friendly farmer Franz had called them “ladies” and that their farmer Michael had brought them home in a “taxi”.
You could hear the cows whispering and laughing in the stable for a long and time half through the night.
Only of course, the people could not understand them, because of what they are: just people!
Wishing you all a safe and Merry Christmas – and may the New Year be a better one for all of us