Denis Lehane: A year on and the euro calf is valuable

At mass on Sunday morning, the readings were all focused on farming.

With mention of sheep and oxen in nearly every paragraph, ‘twas more like a Teagasc meeting than a religious gathering.

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, or his servant, or ox or his donkey,” went one particular passage, as far as I can recall.

And so, today I would like to focus minds on coveting thy neighbour’s ox.

Yes, I have the upsurge in cattle rustling on my mind.

Mind you, I don’t approve of coveting your neighbour’s wife either.

Obviously I’m dead against that class of behaviour.

Indeed, I feel that most of us have enough to be doing trying to hold onto the one good woman, without looking over the boundary ditch for further romantic entanglements.

But that’s a story for another day.

I want to focus today on cattle rustling, not wives.

So lets move away from canoodling, and back to the more appropriate topic of cattle theft.

In recent times, there has been an upsurge in the despicable practice of livestock rustling.

The IFA, to be fair, have been quick off the mark, teaming up with the gardaí in an attempt to put a halt to such nasty nocturnal activities.

As a result, a reward of €10,000 is now up for grabs for any information that will lead to the arrest and charge of the thugs involved in livestock theft.

Fair play to the IFA, with its president, Eddie Downey, ready to tackle the ruffians behind the robberies.

The rustlers could strike anyone of us at any time.

I look at my own herd every day, and wonder if they will still be around the following morning.

But of course, some smart fellow might say, “Sure, who would want to steal your cattle, Lehane, a herd that includes the likes of the famous €1 calf?’

And they might have been right, last year, when I purchased that calf in the mart for a euro.

But this year, things are entirely different.

You see, the euro calf has grown up, and now he’s like BA Baracus himself, with muscles galore.

Yerra, you wouldn’t recognise him now.

I sometimes have to rub my eyes when I see him strutting around the farm.

It’s my opinion that he’d make a pretty penny for the criminals.

But not everyone agrees.

In bed last night, I couldn’t stop tossing and turning, thinking about the the dastardly rustlers.

In the finish, my missus could stick it not longer, and demanded that I sort myself out.

“Sure, I can’t sleep, woman,” I moaned, “and I thinking of the rustlers who might at this very moment be on the farm, loading up my euro bullock.”

“Look here,” says she, trying to talk sense in to me, “he wasn’t worth tuppence the day you bought him for the euro, and now he’s only worth about a fiver.”

And then, sitting up and folding her arms, she went on.

“My dear man,” says she, “the only place you will ever see rustlers is in your dreams, now go back to sleep.”


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