Short Story #326: Curried Cow by Ambrose Bierce

Title: Curried Cow

Author: Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

The narrator introduces the reader to his Aunt Patience who is a widow living on a farm in Michigan with her favorite cow.  The cow is entirely disagreeable to everyone and she has not been capable of having anyone help her with it.  She continues to go through farm-hands who leave on account of the cow and how nasty it can be to everyone.  However, after her husband's departure, she starts to look for a new husband.  This triggers a marrying frenzy throughout the state to avoid her, but one man, the Reverend Berosus Huggins is available and Patience secures him as a husband.  After they are married, Patience insists that he go and take care of the cow. However, he reports to know nothing of the cow but promises to go and take care of her.  Huggins goes out to look at the cow but does not directly approach her.  He studies her at length before setting to action.  He takes his clothing and sets them upon a cast-iron pump to make it look like a man.  The cow eventually makes her way over to this and gives it a hard kick, thinking it is the man.  The kick sends her tumbling backwards and bewildered.  In the aftermath as she recovered from her injured leg, Huggins because the cow's best friend and the cow no longer is as vicious. 


A typical Bierce tall-tale with it's a mixture of ridiculousness (people marrying in droves to avoid Patience) and smarts (Huggins disguising the pump).

Short Story #326 out of 365
Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 11/01/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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