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The Story of Milky-White the Cow, Part 1

Once upon a time…

No. No. No.

Starting a story like that usually gets a happy ending. Or an educational twist.

This story, however, about a cow, is just a story. It is a story about a famous cow, though. Well, she’s a cow in a very famous story. Jack and the Beanstalk—remember that one?



If you remember the story, Jack and his mother were not doing so well. They had no money and the only food they had was the milk provided by their cow—Milky-White—until one day, Milky-White didn’t give any more milk. So what did they do? Jack’s mother sent Jack to the market to sell the poor cow.

But on the way to the market, Jack ended up selling the cow to a man for three magic beans. What’s not important—to this story anyway—is what Jack did with those beans. Sure, he got rich and he and his mother lived happily ever after. But the cow, the one in this story, wasn’t part of that experience.


So Jack went one way to climb a beanstalk and deal with the dangers in the sky, and Milky-White went another, with the man who sold the magic beans.


The man—we’ll call him Leonard, for that was his name—took Milky-White by the harness and led her into the forest.

“Ha!” the Leonard exclaimed. “The boy has no idea what he traded. But we know, don’t we? And now you’re coming home with me and you’re going to make my family very happy.”


Leonard’s home was only an hour or so away. His family lived in a small one-room home in a clearing of trees. It looked peaceful, but homely, with dying flowers, an empty barn, and two ragged children, Rebecca and James, running to greet their father.

Leonard’s wife, Martha, heard the joyful glees of her children and stepped outside to watch her children grab their father’s legs and yank him down into a hug. When she saw the animal Leonard brought home, she ran to greet her husband just as her children had.

“You have a golden milk cow!” Martha exclaimed. “How did you get it?”

Leonard smiled. “I traded with a boy. I gave him my lunch and he gave me the cow.”