Ernie's dad trains oxen and enters them in pulling contests at the fairs. i love to see him in the fields putting them through their paces, big as elephants but so docile-seeming.
do they even know they are not the same animal, having been together all their lives, and knowing him i suppose as their god.
the contests, i don't much like, with the whipping and straining. like ferdinand, they just want to stand in the meadow in the flowers. i could be wrong about that, perhaps they love the excitement and competition as much as ernie's dad does!
once i was in my garden and heard him putting them through their paces on the back street. the beautiful dirty backstreet child with long blonde hair was asking him questions and he was explaining about the oxen in his loud voice that all old tractor-drivers seem to have.
then i heard ernie's dad conversationally ask the question i had been wishing all summer that someone would ask,
"are you a boy or a girl?"