Water Buffalo

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We take them out at dawn, when the sky in the east is red and the birds are starting to sing. I climb onto our bull and pull my sister up beside me. It’s her first time herding, her first time coming into the fields and pastures with me, and her little arms wind around my waist and hold me as tight as if she thinks Molo will shake us off and run away. He won’t. He knows we’re going to feed, and he knows I’ll chase him with my switch if he tries to run away. He’s done this many times.

So have I.

The cows follow us when we start out onto the dusty road. Their calves run at their sides, kicking up their heels, playing with each other. They have more energy than the slow, lazy cows or Molo, who is so grumpy and sleepy. He likes to sleep in the mud all day, eating only when the clouds cover the sun or dusk begins to fall. He is fat and old and lazy, but I remember when he was just a little calf like all the rest, and kicked up his heels the same way they do now. I’ve herded our families water buffaloes for many years, and I remember when each and every one was born. They all liked to run and play.

The calves will settle down soon. They’ll become old and slow and fat, just like the rest. I like them to run and play best, but I have to chase them sometimes, too, so it’s better that they grow, like I have. And like Molo has.

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