This is my last "animal parable" for you.
There once was a farmer who owned a mule. He had no family so this beast of burden was not just a mule but a friend or
pet that he had named Maude.
Maude was a plow mule. She could GEE, go right, and HAW, go left, on command. The one thing she refused to do was go backward.
Now, Maude had the run of the farm and would always show up for her morning and evening feeding time.
One morning, the farmer went out to feed Maude. She was not there but it didn’t bother him as he knew that she’d
come back soon to eat. He left the food for her. Besides, it was two days before the plowing was to start. Around din-ner
time, he went out and Maude had not come for her morning meal. He walked around calling for her to no avail.
The next day was a complete duplicate of the first day’s events. The farmer grew very worried about his pal and pet,
Maude. On the third day the farmer put on a hopeful look and walked out to the paddock praying to see Maude waiting for him.
She was not there! He turned on his heel to walk toward the house when he noticed in the sky, buzzards cir-cling about a half
mile behind the house. The farmer teared up. He was thinking that Maude was dead and the buzzards were getting ready to feast.
He quickly went to the barn and got a shovel, as he was thinking that he was going to go find her body and bury her.
He walked toward the circling buzzards. They were off his land and in a bit of a swamp. As his feet moved into the wet
over-grown area he kept calling for Maude hoping that she might respond to his voice. Suddenly, he looked through the watery
and vine laden area to see Maude’s carcass. Cry-ing loudly, he approached finally falling on his knees just to touch
her. As he did this, he let go of the shovel handle and it fell hitting Maude’s rump…. and the mule’s body
jumped. The farmer’s tears of anguish turned into tears of joy. Maude was alive!
Maude had walked into the swamp and had gotten her legs tied up in vines. Maude didn’t go backward. She had walked
in circles until the vines tripped her up. She had really tied herself up. The farmer removed the vines and made a gur-ney
to drag Maude back to the barn, her home.
Back at the barn, he nursed her back to health. She soon stood up. That day the farmer put a lunge line on Maude to teach
her how to walk backward. Funny thing, she couldn’t walk backward well, but she did learn how. Maude, learned to do