Two women lived across the road from one another. They might as well have lived on separate planets, they were so different. Mary grew a large garden and kept a cow in a field near the two houses. She loved fresh milk and cream and fresh vegetables from her garden. Maybe she would have liked to to live on a farm.
Her neighbour, Elena, liked to have a very clean house and yard. She liked to dress up and go shopping. Baking and cooking were things she did well. She could crochet beautifully, and she filled her house with pretty things she had made. Maybe she would have liked to live in a city.
No matter where each would have liked to live, they both lived in a small village just outside a city. In spite of being neighbours, they did not know each other very well. As far as Elena was concerned, she wished her neighbour, and even more, her neighbour's cow were on the moon.
One day they had a terrible fight.
"The dirty cow, the dirty cow!" Elena looked out at her neighbour, Mary, as she was leading the cow home.
"Oh, I hate to see that cow! It's cow here, cow there. Everywhere cow!"
"What are you talking about, Mamma?" asked Peter, Elena's husband. "The cow is always in the field."
"But there shouldn't be a cow at all! This is not a farm. This village is almost a city. She has no right to keep a cow!"
"The cow does no harm and Mary brings you butter and cream, sometimes."
"I don't want butter and cream!" Elena shouted. "I want a nice, clean house, a nice, clean sidewalk and no smell of cows! Look!" She pointed at Peter's shoes. "These shoes should be outside. You know none of us may wear shoes in the house!"
"Yes, yes, Mamma. Be calm now. I'm taking them off."
"Oh, I am fed up! I'm going to tell her what I think of that cow!" ELena marched out in spite of Peter's protests. She went over to Mary's house.
"Aihhh!" Elena shrieked with horror and picked up some manure and threw it at Mary . . .
-- from the book Pies
by Wilma Riley
(Illustrations by Sheldon Cohen)
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