What Ellen Saw: Two Cows and One Bull

My husband Dean proofreads my writing.  He notices things—missing details, inaccuracies, and facts I need to research.  I truly value and appreciate his help.  I’m currently writing Daughter of the Bride, a novel set in the 1890s.  It’s about a young girl named Ellen whose mother (Lenore) answers an advertisement and marries a younger man, a farmer (Cal), after the death of her husband and Ellen’s father (Frank).

On chapter ten Cal is getting ready to herd twenty head of cattle to his farm.  Before he leaves, he buys another bull.  Now he has two.

“Why does he need another bull?” Dean asked.

“Because he’s bringing home twenty cows.”

“One bull is enough.”

“Are you sure?”  I know nothing about a bull’s virility.

He laughed.  “I think one bull can easily service twenty cows.  How many cows does he already have?”

“He has two milk cows.”

“Why does he have two milk cows and a bull?”

Without thinking, I said, “Well, when Ellen first arrived on the farm she saw two milking cows and one calf in the barn and a bull in the pasture.”

“Oh she did, did she?”  He laughed again.  “Well, maybe Ellen needs to ask Cal why in the hell does he have two milk cows and a bull.  Maybe he has a good answer.  If not, he’s a dumb ass.”  Dean gets really tickled with himself after this statement.  It takes him a moment to stop laughing.  “He didn’t need the first bull to begin with.  He could have bought the other cows already pregnant.  If you keep the first bull, you don’t need the second one.”

I thought, why not!  I liked the scene I wrote in chapter ten.  “I could have her see more than those cows in the barn in chapter two.  Maybe the rest are in the pasture.”

“What’s the ratio between the number of cows per bull?”  He went to the computer and googled it.  “About twenty-five cows to one bull.  Then Cal really doesn’t need another bull.”

“Ellen sees the first bull in chapter two.  Maybe I can change it to where the bull is old.”

“Then you can have Cal say something like, ‘he’s old and falling down on his job’.”  He thought that was pretty funny, too.  “But it still doesn’t take care of the fact that Cal has so few cows and a bull.  He didn’t need the first bull.

“No one cares about the damned cows anyway!  Just because Ellen saw only two doesn’t mean there aren’t anymore.”  I feel frustrated at this point.

“You kill me.”  My husband cracked up.  He loves to make fun of me.   “Ellen saw those cows?”

“The story is from her point of view.  I only have to write what she sees and she only saw those two cows, one being milked.”

“You’re so cute.”  Dean grinned and then mimicked me, “‘Ellen only saw two cows’.” He laughed at me again.  “And Ellen saw the bull, so by God it’s staying there.”

I laughed with him.  That bull and those damned cows had gotten to be pretty funny.

I think I’ll add some more cows in chapter two (and make sure Ellen sees them), so Cal can keep the old and the new bull.  I don’t want him to be a dumb ass.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “What Ellen Saw: Two Cows and One Bull

  1. I love it! Perfect timing, I needed a laugh. 🙂

  2. Isn’t writing the most hilarious thing ever. I totally understand the whole I saw it in my head and what do you mean it doesn’t make sense thing. I need people to read my stuff this way too because I just don’t even see it.

  3. Spouses have fun with us, don’t they? My wife has three favorite things to toss at me after reading my stuff. 1) Another woman with a “tight body” (got it from Austin Powers, Goldmember–Jess is trying to get me to be more descritpive this semester… i may add “very” to tight); 2) Touche (in dialogue) … 3) everybody winks …

    I just asked her about #3 and she had the nerve to wink (like a meth addict) …

    Rebel, I say add 30 cows and let the bulls have a blast …

    • Charlie:
      So you think I should let the old bull have some fun, too? Too funny. Our spouses need to meet each other. I’m sure they could write their own stories about reading our stories.
      Thanks for reading! It means a lot coming from a pro like you.

  4. Throw a minotaur in there and you got yourself a party. Writes itself.

  5. Can I borrow your husband? I need someone around here that actually pays attention.

  6. LOL! I love it Rebel. I might have to choke your husband if he lived around here.

  7. LOVE this! Your husband sounds like my boyfriend. His ability to make me laugh has saved his butt many a time too. 😉

    I think you should write that (hysterical) fantasy…hehe.

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