It was a bright and sunny day at the Rype & Readi Farm… but calling it a ‘nice’ day would most definitely require an overactive imagination.
“Come on, Clyde!”
The reason for the day’s unpleasant atmosphere was a conflict that was ongoing on the farm’s property. The conflict in question was between Betsy, the brown-white colored cow who was the oldest of the Rype & Readi herd, and Clyde, one-half of the pair of donkeys that lived on the farm and, at the moment, the most aggravating equine Betsy had ever met.
“It’s not fair!” Betsy stomped her hoof with a vindictive snort. “We all pitch in and do chores to help out around the farm, you know we do! The peacocks do egg duty for the hens, the goats eat weeds in hard to reach places, even the pigs have been helping to root worms out of the vegetable patches! We all do our parts, all I’m asking is that for once you and Monty do your fair share!”
“And I’m tellin’ you for the tenth time, eeeeenope!” Clyde stuck his muzzle in the air defiantly. “It doesn’t matter what you say, I ain’t budgin’ on this: I ain’t doin’ no chores for no one and that’s that,” he then waved his hoof with a dismissive tsk. “Instead a’ tryin’ to beat a dead horse, why don’t you make like an empty butter churn and roll along?”
Betsy ground her teeth for a moment, partly to chew up her cud a bit more, but mostly out of a desire to turn her current annoyance into a half-rate gluestick. Ultimately, she settled for snorting out a reluctant sigh. “This. Isn’t. Over.” And with that, she turned around and started to trot off.
“The heck it ain’t!” Clyde called after her, souring her mood even further. “An’ for the record, don’t bother comin’ back! Don’t matter how many times you try and change my mind, I won’t quit! I’m the most stubborn animal on this farm, bar none, and proud of it!”
Betsy might have been an herbivore, but she most certainly felt like growling under her breath as she marched along the farm’s fence, her frustration with the donkey she’d just left behind flaring something fierce.
The urge grew even stronger when she caught sight of Vinny trotting towards her with an equally aggravated look on her muzzle.
“Monty was about as ‘polite’ with you as Clyde was with me, I take it?” Betsy mooed.
Vinny’s echoing moo and aggravated stomping answered in the affirmative. “Oh, those darn donkeys! I swear, they’re a real pair of-!”
“Ahem!” Betsy coughed into her hoof.
“Oh come on, it’s a political term!”
“Not the way you’re planning on using it.”
“Ergh,” Vinny rolled her eyes in frustration. “Anyways, I might as well butt heads with a brick wall for all the progress I made. Heck, I think he was proud to rebuke me!”
“Mmph, I know what you mean…” Betsy nodded regretfully. “Clyde even boasted about being the, and I quote, ‘most stubborn animal on the farm, bar none’.”
Vinny raised her eyes to the sky with a tortured sigh. “Oh great, that means that there are two of them, because that’s almost exactly what Monty said to me, word for word.”
Betsy started to moan miserably… before abruptly looking up. It took a minute of intense thought, the gears churning in her elongated skull, but ultimately? “I’ve got it…” she breathed, hastily picking up steam with a grin. “I’ve got it!”
“Got what?” Vinny questioned.
“The answer to our problems!” Betsy laughed, slapping her hoof on her friend’s shoulder. “Quickly, you go and tell Clyde and Monty to meet me in the barn in five minutes, and I’ll go and get things ready!”
Vinny was confused, but rather than question things, she hurried of to do as Betsy said.
Five minutes later, the two donkeys shambled into the building, their expressions dark at being disturbed, and only darkening further when they caught sight of Betsy standing before a pair of plowshares.
“Still trying to get me to work?” Clyde brayed, tossing his head as he started to about face. “No dice, I’m gone.”
“Same here, I won’t work for nothin’,” Monty agreed with a derisive flick of his tail.
“That’s fine, you can both go if you want,” Betsy shrugged indifferently, causing the donkeys to stop dead in confusion. “I just have one question for you two first: Who do you think is the most stubborn animal on the farm?”
The donkeys promptly perked up, raising their heads with pride. “Me, obviously!” They answered as one… before shooting scathing glares at each other. “Who, you!? Are you nuts!? It’s obviously me!” They then proceeded to butt skulls with each other. “Why you-!”
“Boys, boys, no need to fight!” Betsy soothed as she pushed them apart. “Instead, why not settle matters with a contest? Here’s how this’ll work: you two’ll hitch up to these here plowshares and get to tilling the fields. It’s long, hard, grueling work, and to get through it you need a hide as thick as an ox… or Cole.”
An offended “Hey!” echoed from out in the fields.
“So! What this means is that if you manage to till the whole field, then you’re the most bull-headed animal on the farm. Buckle, and you’re nothing more than a stubborn mule. Whaddaya say, boys?” Betsy waved her hoof invitingly. “You in or out?”
“Aw heck no! I ain’t no mule!” Monty stamped his hoof firmly. “Hitch me up, I’ll stubborn this future gluestick into the ground!”
“You wish, feather-hoof!” Clyde swung his hoof right back. “Strap me in too, I’m gonna show this weak-willed sissy what real stubbornness looks like!”
A few minutes later, Betsy and Vinny were both watching with matching grins as the hitched-up donkeys plowed the fields with gusto.
“Guess it just goes to show,” Betsy chuckled happily. “Sometimes, two problems can just cancel each other out.”
Editor’s Note: Clyde and Monty are actually quite lovable, and though you don’t often see them at high speed, they are johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to chasing unwanted visitors and protecting the rest of the animals on the farm! They’re rather like the farm’s patrolmen.
by Baxter Balick, Rype & Readi Contributing Writer, Flagler Sophomore College Student