Friday, August 27, 2010

Birth of a Rural Legend

Its not often that one is present at the birth of a rural (or urban) legend. I witnessed such a thing once, and I think you'll enjoy the tale:

Some years ago (quite a lot of them, really) I worked on a farm near the Atomic Energy Corporation in Pelindaba near Pretoria. Because of the plutonium enrichment and other stuff I don't know much about, they used to test the cow's milk on surrounding farms for signs of contamination. It was something we were all aware of. It was routine.

My second job was working as a barmaid at the local bush pub, and one of my favorite 'regulars' was a retired army Colonel called Danie.

I've never known anyone who could drink like he did and remain upright and lucid. He drove a rusted pickup with more cracks in the window than I've ever seen, and he used to spend most of the day propping up the bar and chatting to anyone and everyone.

One day, Danie was remarking on the price of Oxtail and Tongue and at some point, the other patrons started speculating that it'd be jolly profitable to breed cows with multiple heads and tails. Danie joked that irradiating a pregnant cow might produce a calf with three heads and four tails, and we all had a bit of a chuckle (after all, it wasn't all that funny) and went home.

It must have been at least three months later that a client at the pub, with the air of one who is making hair-raising and true revelations said in a low, shocked tone of voice: 'Have you heard about the mutant cows in this area? Its shocking! Nuclear radiation has made them mutate so that calves with three heads and four tails are produced!'

Danie laughed so hard that he nearly fell off his chair, and the legend of the many-headed, many-tailed cows remained alive for years thereafter, much to the amusement of those of us who had been present at its originating. We weren't even able to persuade the chap who'd repeated it to us that it wasn't true! In fact, I think he suspected a 'cover-up'!

Today's pic: one can almost imagine that something sensational is under discussion here. It needs a caption, doesn't it?


  1. Ah! I've got it! 'Have you heard about the mutant, vampire poodles?'

  2. Haha, I like it...I think you could add something imminently dangerous too like "I'm done for, they've got me by the collar. Find some garlic in the garbage before it's too late."

  3. Is it true that you're a chihuahua that grew up near the nuclear plant??

  4. Funny tail, I mean tale! :))
    Seeing multiple-headed-tailed cows could be shocking but interesting at the same time!

    It now made me recall that cow or horse (whatever) that has a man's face. Dang! That photo is scary!

    Mutant, vampire poodles? Never heard. :)

    Oxtail and tongue. These are ingredients to some dishes and, I think, are expensive. I remember, a friend of mine cooking it. Though I don't eat O & T, I like the soup!

    BTW, thanks for dropping a question. Wow! That's very deep! But it sure is interesting so I approved it!

    Questions are unlimited so you're always welcome to submit! :)

  5. I love things like this... my brother once told me that the chickens at Kentucky Fried Chicken weren't really chickens but chicken bodies growing off of a tube, he said it was true because he read it in a pamphlet... I think it was a drug vision... I tried looking this up but just found bad info on both sides but then I realized I'm a vegetarian who doesn't eat there any way

  6. I am truly shocked that chihuahua's would even be allowed by the nuclear plant.
    Misinformation is fun- well at least until blood is drawn.

  7. I always thought that being a bartender would be an interesting job--sounds like you met some interesting people.

    I enjoyed reading about Gertrude and Lowveld farm--I'm caught up on your blog again.

  8. Andrew: good menacing there!

    Jay: no, when I was a puppy, I was a great Dane. Tch! Fancy you now knowing that?

    Lancelonie: You're a lady, so you can comment on my tail if you like :) Since I posted the question, it has haunted me a little. Will let you know if I find a good answer!

    Karl: I won't eat Unlucky Fried Kittens either.


    Israel: You always bring me a chuckle, glad I could return the favour!

    hwfarber: Never mind all that :). I bought myself a sketch book and one called 'How to draw' today - and its all you and Pamo and Karl and the rest's fault!