by Helen Goleby 

The sky lightened as the world awakened to a new day.  The sun peeped over the mountains and the cows lifted their heads to gaze at the meadow before them, speckled with morning dew.  Rabbits frisked through the long grass, birds swooped down for the early worm while kangaroos stopped to nibble blades of grass and gaze around the fields.

Bruce had been brought here yesterday by a big yellow vehicle.  He missed his mother already.  She had told him what was expected of him and he was a little nervous.  “Don’t panic, my darling,” she reassured him.  “You’re a fine young lad and the girls will love you.”

Dragged rather unwillingly down the ramp, Bruce had been paid for and turned loose in the paddock.  They hadn’t fed him and he was very hungry.  He was a young bull with an impeccable pedigree and the cattle station owner had invested heavily in purchasing him, expecting results.  The owner planned to develop a new strain of beef cattle to produce meat of the finest quality, bound for the most expensive restaurants in Australia.

But Bruce wasn’t so sure.  He’d wandered up to say hello but the girls had taken one look at him and had ‘mooved’ off in disdain.  They muttered about him being an upstart and not like Angus.  His mum hadn’t warned him about that!

Bruce ventured timidly towards a young lady and asked her who Angus was.  She looked at him coldly, chewing her cud slowly before deigning to reply.  “Angus was our boyfriend until our manager replaced him…with…you.”  She turned away and he stood uncertainly in the paddock and wondered what to do.  He looked around the flat plain and saw, in the distance, a shaggy shape with its head down chewing the grass.

It took him a while to get close enough to identify the shape.  The elderly bovine gazed at him through overgrown eyebrows and gave him a fatherly smile.  “Hello there, young fellow,” he said.  “You’re new here, I see.  Are you the new boy who is to replace me?”

“Is your name Angus?” he asked.

“It certainly is.”

“Well then, I believe I am,” replied Bruce, “but I don’t think I’ve gone down very well.  The girls won’t have anything to do with me.”

“You’re too young yet.  Didn’t anyone tell you that?” asked the old fellow.  “I tell you what, stick with me and I’ll help you sort things out.”

So Bruce and the old bull kept company through the following months.  The spring rain helped the grass to grow long and juicy and the cool weather gave way to the gentle warmth of early summer.

Bruce listened avidly to Angus’ advice on how to treat the girls at the station.  As he matured he began to dream of future delights and his excitement grew.

The day came when he said to Angus “I’m ready to rush down and have fun with a girl.”

“No,” replied Angus, “walk down and you can have fun with the whole herd.”

Bruce took his advice and began a leisurely trek to the girls, grouped together at the end of the paddock.  This time they were friendly to him and he smiled back happily at Angus, standing supervising the procedures from a distance.

Soon Bruce was fully occupied, for the girls gossiped about his prowess and many others hung about, waiting to catch his eye.  His reputation spread and there was much ‘moovement’ at the station as the word was passed around.

The station owner, relieved that Bruce had finally matured and could fulfil his role, dreamed about a wealthy future.

Bruce dreamed about the girls.                                               *


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