|Bubba's fairy godcow|
turned a steer into a steed.
Pictures by Warhola, J.
Once upon a time, "a strapping young feller named Bubba lived on a ranch with his wicked stepdaddy and his hateful and lazy stepbrothers, Dwayne and Milton." His brothers were spoiled rotten, but Bubba had to work "from sunup till sundown". Lucky for him, ranching was his favorite thing to do. While he worked, his brothers shouted orders at him. "Git them dogies along there, Bubba." Milton would say, and then Dwayne would add, "Yeah, and watch out fer them cowpatties. You know how Daddy htes fer you to track up the house." Meanwhile, just up the dusty road, lived a lady rancher named Miz Lurleen. She "owned the biggest spread west of the Brazos" and my, how she did love working that ranch. But one day she said to herself, "I aim to find myself a feller, one who loves ranching as much as I do. And it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either." So she decided to have a ball, and invite all the ranchers in Texas. When the invite came to Bubba's house, his brothers kept him busy for a week getting their duds ready. On the big day, Bubba toiled ceaselessly to help them get "all gussied up". Even his Daddy kept shouting orders, like, "Bubba, brush them horses and wash that wagon." When he had finally done everything they asked, there was no time to clean himself up. And when he begged for them to wait for him, they said," Why you're sorrier than a steer in a stockyard. Miz Lurleen wouldn't even wipe dirt clods off her boots with that raggedy shirt of yours." And they left him there, with a bucket in one hand, and his good old dog by his side. He was feeling mighty low, was Bubba, just about as low as "a rattlesnake in a gully". To make matters worse, there seemed to be some kind of a storm brewing. The clouds looked a mite strange, however. Were his eyes playing tricks on him, or was there the shape of cow's head in the sky? Just then a bolt of lighting struck. It zapped Bubba right off his horse. That's when he heard a voice. It said, "Go to the ball, Bubba." He looked around, but all he saw were cows. An especially large one with reddish spots on her flanks, and gracefully curved horns was looking right at him. She chewed her cud for a moment, then spoke. "I'm your fairy godcow, and I can help you go to the ball." When Bubba protested that he could get to the ball just fine, the problem was that he didn't have anything to wear, she switched her tail and "Bubba's raggedy clothes changed into the handsomest cowboy duds he'd ever laid eyes on." He had shiny new cowboy boots and a Stetson hat that was "whiter than a new salt lick". Bubba though he looked "downright purty" in his new get-up. Then the magic cow switched her tail again, and turned a steer into a steed. With the fairy cow's warning to be home by midnight ringing in his ears, Bubba galloped off to Miz Lurleen's place. When he got there, "the hoedown was in full swing." But Miz Lurleen was feeling a bit low herself. Each man she danced with was a dissapointment. She said to herself, "There goes another ten-dollar Stetson on a five-cent head." That's when a newcomer arrived, wearing a hat white as a new salt lick. Miz Lurleen's eyes shone. She strode over to the stranger and said, "Why, you're as cute as a cow's ear!"They commenced to dancing, and the other guests began to gossip. No one knew who the cute rancher boy was, but Dwayne and Milton thought he looked awfully familiar. Just when they were cooking up some kind of stunt to separate the two, the clock struck twelve. And disaster struck Bubba. His fine new clothes turned back into dirty rags, and the stink that rose from him made Miz Lurleen draw in her breath. Bubba "turned 14 shades of red" yelled a Sorry over his shoulder, and high-tailed it out of there. On the way out the door, he tripped over his boots. Without stopping to grab the one that fell off, he ran away. His brothers laughed their heads off, and when Miz Lurleen asked if anyone knew who the feller was, and where she might find him, Dwayne and Milton laughed meanly to themselves and didn't say a word. So the next day, Miz Lurleen grabbed the dirty old boot the stranger had dropped, and visited every ranch within riding distance. But no one could wear that boot. When she got to Wicked Step-Daddy's ranch, Wayne and Milton smiled manly smiles, and swaggered over to try on the boot. It wouldn't fit. That's when Bubba rode in from doing the chores. He stank like cow poo and the dust had mixed with his sweat, making him into a walking mud puddle. But Miz Lurleen happened to notice that he only had one boot on. She thrust the boot at him and begged him to try it on, and he said, "Much obliged, ma'am." Then he slid the boot right onto his foot. Of course, it fitted him perfectly. Miz Lurleen threw her arms around him and said, "You're my prince in cowboy boots! I'd recognize that smell anywhere. Marry me, and help me work my ranch." Bubba said he would of course, and Dwayne and Milton glowered darker than a black horse in the middle of the night. Them and their daddy "threw chicken fits" but Bubba wouldn't change his mind. He and his rancher bride "rode off into the sunset. They lived happily ever after, roping, and cowpoking and gitting them dogies along."
Ketteman, H. & Warhola, J. (1997) New York: Scholastic Press
Notes: A nice take on a wealthy woman, hankering for a companion who's cute as a cow's ear.
Montessori Connection: Geography/USA/Texas
1. Read this story and notice that it takes place in Texas.
2. Learn more about Texas:Cartoon History of Texas