XIX. What the Old Cow Did

When Sandy Chipmunk reached Farmer Green's barn he crept inside and looked all around. He had expected to find the barn crowded with saucers full of milk. But not a single saucer did he see. There were two long rows of cows stabled in the barn. And Sandy noticed Farmer Green and his boy and his hired man, each sitting on a low stool beside a cow. They were milking the cows. But Sandy did not know it.

He began to think that Henry Skunk had played a trick on him. And he was about to leave the barn when he turned to look at several bright tin pails standing on the floor.

Sandy crept up to one of them and sniffed at it. He was glad that he had done that, for he smelled milk. There was no mistake about it.

Sandy Chipmunk couldn't crawl up the side of the pail, it was so smooth and slippery. So he jumped right up and stood on its edge. And looking inside, he saw that the pail was almost full of milk. He knew then that Henry Skunk had told the truth.

By bending down Sandy was just able to reach the milk. And he began drinking it as fast as he could. It was so delicious that he forgot all about Johnnie Green and his father and the hired man.

With his head inside the pail, of course Sandy couldn't see what happened in the barn. The more he drank, the further down he had to stretch his neck. And when at last he heard a shout, and a milking-stool came sailing through the air not far above the pail, Sandy was so startled that he lost his balance and went plump! into the milk.

Luckily, Sandy Chipmunk knew how to swim. So he managed to keep his nose in the air or he would certainly have drowned.

"Where on earth did that chipmunk go?" he heard Johnnie Green say as he picked up his stool. You see, Johnnie never once thought of looking inside the pail.

Still, Sandy Chipmunk was in a fix. For the inside of the pail was as smooth and slippery as the outside. And of course he couldn't jump out, for there was nothing from which he could spring.

Now it happened that the pail of milk stood not far behind the surly old cow that had told Sandy not to be silly, when he asked her for some milk to drink, in the pasture that day. Johnnie Green's shouting and the stool hurtling through the air displeased her. And since she was not the sort to hide her ill nature, she promptly kicked the milkpail over.

For a moment Sandy Chipmunk thought that this time the end of the world had certainly come. The old cow's foot crashed against the pail and sent it flying against the stone wall on which the barn was built. And Sandy tumbled out upon the floor in a sea of milk.

He didn't wait to learn exactly what had happened. For as soon as he could scramble to his feet he dashed out of the barn and tore across the fields towards the pasture.

Later, when he reached his house and sat down to rest, he soon forgot his fright. For he had a very pleasant time licking himself clean. That was the way Sandy Chipmunk always made himself spick and span. And though there may be some people who would not consider such an act to be in the best of taste, Sandy Chipmunk thought what was left of the milk tasted very good. And since his mother did not object to what he was doing, perhaps no one else ought to.