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This article is taken from PN Review 9, Volume 6 Number 1, September - October 1979.

The Cow
SIMON lived in a white farmhouse on the edge of the forest. His father ploughed and sowed, and reaped the harvests; two crops of hay from the river-meadows, cherries, which his mother made into rich-coloured jam, soon after the first hay crop, and plums; then the wheat harvest, and at last the apples. The apple-gathering stirred Simon more than anything else that took place on the farm except the mysterious happenings in the pool down in the river, over which the willows drooped, where, in the hot noon, he had seen shadows that were neither bird nor fish gliding amongst the forest of weeds. When the apples were nearly ripe the peasants would come with tall yellow baskets and flimsy ladders to pick the fruit. From the corner of the orchard where Simon stood he was able to see nothing but green leaves, black wood and little patches of blue sky, and against this the floating multitude of green and red globes. The night before the peasants were to come with their yellow baskets he crept down into the orchard and stood in the thick dewy grass under the trees. There was no moon, but the star-dust was thick in the sky, and yellow glow-worms flickered at the roots of the trees. The fruit was colourless and dark amongst the shadows of leaves, but weighed on his brain till he felt like a loaded tree. His feet seemed to grow into the earth, his arms spread like branches into the air, ...


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