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The Black Cow

It was market day in Llandovery. The outlaw Twm Sion Catti, climbed down from his hideout in the hills, mounted his horse and rode into town. On the way he met an old man with a black cow. The old man and the black cow were walking very slowly. The old man looked worn out.


'Are you going to market ?' asked Twm.

'Yes I am.' said the old man.

'That's a fine looking cow' said Twm.

'Yes she is,' said the old man sadly.'She is my best cow but I have to sell her because I'm hungry and I have no money.'

'I will help you.' said Twm. 'I will help you get to the market and then I will help you get the best price for your cow.'


Twm lifted the old man up onto his horse. Then they rode off to town with the black cow following behind. The market was very noisy. There were chickens squarking, sheep bleating and bulls bellowing. There were stalls selling everything from saucepans to boots and saddles. There were wooden pens crowded with animals for sale; but not one of them looked as good as the old man's cow. Twm and the old man led the black cow to a pen. They gave her some hay.  They brushed and brushed her coat until it glowed. Then they waited for someone to buy her. 


A farmer with a red face and a red nose ambled over to look at the cow. Now Twm knew this farmer. He had a lot of land. And a lot of cows. And he was very rich. But he was also very, very mean. Twm warned the old man to be careful.


The farmer patted the cow. 'Well now,' said the farmer, 'Is she a good cow ?'

'Indeed she is!' said the old man. 'She's my best cow. She makes gallons of creamy milk.' 

'Well then how much do you want for her?' asked the farmer.

'I want £10.' said  the old man.

'Ten pounds! Oh No! No!' replied the farmer, 'That's far too much!' And the rich farmer shook his head and walked away.

'Don't worry, ' whispered Twm. 'He'll be back.' 


Now the rich farmer walked all round the market. He looked in all the pens, at all the cows and sheep and pigs. He could see that the old man's black cow was the best looking animal in the market. He wanted that cow very much. But he didn't want to pay the £10!  He thought that if he waited for a while the old man would have to bring the price down.


He waited all day. He waited until it was nearly dark and nearly all the other cows and sheep and pigs had been sold. Then he went back to the old man and asked 'How much is your cow now?''

Still £10.' said the old man. 'And she is worth every penny.' 

'O no! no! no! no! no! ' said the rich farmer. '£10 is far too much. I will give you £5! Take it or leave it!' 

The old man didn't know what to do. He knew that the rich farmer was trying to cheat him but he was hungry and desperate for money. In the end the old man took the £5 and the rich farmer took his beautiful cow. 


Later on when he saw Twm, he told him exactly what had happened.

'Don't worry.' said Twm. 'I'll sort him out. That miserable old skinflint will give you the rest of your  money tomorrow. ' 


Later that night Twm walked all the way out of  town to where the mean farmer lived. He found the old man's cow in a field with a lot of other cows. He waited till the farmer had gone to bed and then he led the cow back to the market and put it in a pen. Next he found a bucket of white paint and dipped the end of the cow's tail in the bucket. Then Twm and the old man and the cow curled up in some hay and went to sleep. 


The next day the mean farmer came back to the market hoping to buy some more cows.  He walked round the stalls looking at all the different animals and was very surprised to see the old man again.  He was even more surprised to see that the old man had another black cow to sell!




He went up to the old man.

'This cow looks like a sister to your other one!' said the farmer.

'Yes.'  agreed the old man. 'She is nearly the same, except of course for the white mark on her tail.' 

'But does she give as much milk?' asked the greedy farmer?'

'Of course she does.' replied the old man. 'She gives exactly the same amount of good creamy milk.'

'Very good,' said the mean farmer and rubbed his hands together with excitement.

'Well how much do you want for this one? ' 


'£10 ,' said the old man.'

£10!' snorted the cunning farmer. 'No no no! If this cow is exactly the same as the other one, then I will give you exactly the same amount of money! Take it or leave it!'


The old man smiled and held out his hand. 'Done!'

The farmer gave him the £5.

'Thank you.' said the old man .'Thank you very much!'

He added the £5 to the one he already had in his pocket. Then Twm and the old man patted the cow goodbye and walked away with great big smiles on their faces...    




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