Farm animals In history
Baxter Black, DVM
Mankind from prehistory to space exploration has always depended on animals for help in their quest for advancing civilization. Granted, often as bait or as guinea pigs but we have depended on them, nonetheless.
After extensive research of my cerebral micro files I’ve discovered several remarkable case histories that have affected the course of our world.
For instance, Admiral Perry carried a Canadian goose on his Arctic trek to find the North Pole. Whenever the magnetic field messed up his compass, he would tie the goose to a sled runner with a 50-foot piece of baler twine. The goose, being the only one with enough common sense to fly south would try and take off. Perry and his parakeets would mush in the opposite direction.
Everyone, of course, is familiar with Magellan’s pig who sniffed his way through the straits. In Magellan’s defense he did name them the Straits of Yorkshire. But that name was already taken by a group of heterosexuals from the North of England. So he named them after himself.
The Trojan Horse is legendary but where do you think the Greeks got the idea? That’s right… the Trojan Goat. Two years previous, a football team from Texas A & M had tried the same strategy to invade a bar called the Dixie Chicken. Problem was, they could only get two players in the goat at one time so only half the team got dragged into the bar before the bartender got wise. That left five guys still outside.
Even part of our language is derived from famous farm animals. During the medieval crusades King Arthur was dickering with a nomadic Mexican sheepherder. Art asked what he called these beasts. The herder misunderstood and thought he was asking the price. He replied “Cheap.” So ‘sheep’ was added to our English vocabulary.
The Great Jamboni performed at the Colossus in Rome. He had an act that involved jumping his famous cow, Yerk, over a bonfire. One night Yerk stumbled and was consumed by the fire. Next morning the grounds keepers were cleaning up the remains and noticed dry tough remnants of meat clinging to the bones. To this day we still remember that famous cow by naming the discovery in her honor… Yerky.
General Custer always carried a mongrel Blood Hound named Huey who could smell penicillin and warpaint for miles. As the calvary approached the Little Bighorn, Custer sent Huey over the hill to check it out. Huey returned agitated. “Well?” asked the impatient Custer. Huey pointed back the way he came. He raced back and forth like he was chasing cars, then grabbed the generals wallet and scattered his business cards and took his money. Then he grabbed a stick and shook it. Custer grabbed his wallet back, kicked the dog and yelled, “Charge!”
He never understood the message, which was “more Sioux than you could shake a stick at.” If Custer had only been a lawyer he would have known Huey couldn’t spell sue and therefore could have prevented disaster.
The dog survived the battle, was adopted by the Sioux and spawned a long line of camp dogs. But his offspring always told the tale of the battle and Chief Sitting Huey. ❖