Greg, The Bull

Every farmyard has to have at least one bull. He is mate to the cows, and will usually protect the property he has domain over fiercely. Greg was such a bull. He proudly reigned over his cows, and usually over the others also. He had a big brass bell on a leather collar that went around his neck. As he walked the bell rang, and he liked that. It would announce his domination and the fact that he was around. The other animals however did not like it. They knew when Greg was around it meant he would butt into their affairs. They also knew he was always telling them how to behave or act, and that did not go over too well with the others.

Greg felt his bell, a gift from Farmer and Charley gave him certain "rights" the others did not have. After all, no other animal had been given the gift of a bell, only Greg; so he knew it meant he was very important, and he flaunted it everywhere he went on every one around. One day Farmer and Charlie noticed the bell collar was frayed, and so was Greg's attitude. They decided to replace it as soon as they could. Brett, the goat, got wind of the plans to replace the bell collar. He told the other animals. They were overjoyed. They knew that meant for at least a few days, Greg would be bell-less, and maybe his pride would disappear with the bell for that few days. That, they felt, would be a welcome relief.

For a long time, Farmer had been aware of Greg's attitude towards the others. He knew about the pride Greg had, but was waiting to see if Greg would see it and change his attitude. It did not look like that was going to happen anytime soon. Therefore, Farmer knew what had to be done. He approached Greg one day, and remarked how his collar was worn and frayed. Greg, in his pride was very upset over that news.

"It is? Well then, can you fix it?" Greg asked.

"I'm sure I can, but it will mean going without your bell awhile Greg."

"Oh, well, I guess that would be OK. I am still the only bull here, so I don't really need this bell." Replied Greg.

"Good, then it is settled." Said Farmer,

"Come here, I will take it off and repair it."

Greg came close and Farmer removed his collar and bell. Greg then went off to the barnyard to see what was happening there. When the other animals saw him coming, they decided to ignore him.

"We will teach him a lesson." They said.

"Maybe this will show him that the bell was all that made him important. Without it, he is really no better than any of us here."

Greg came close, and tried to voice his opinion on every subject filtering around the yard. He butted into every conversation, and gave his "important" command of how to deal with the issue. They all ignored him and his "advice" and continued to talk. Greg became very upset, and finally boomed at them all.

"Excuse me, but I am the boss around here, or haven't you noticed that?" Greg yelled.

"When I talk, you listen, do you have that?"

The animals ignored him totally. Greg tried stomping, snorting, and everything he could think of. They still paid no attention to him.

"I need my bell." He thought to himself, and set off to talk to Farmer. He found Farmer busy in the house working on other matters.

"Farmer, please, you need to get my bell fixed!" He cried.

"Why the hurry Greg?" Asked Farmer.

"I am being ignored in the yard." Said Greg, "The other animals will not obey me at all."

"Oh I see." Replied Farmer, "what you are saying is your "pride" is wounded, because you can not be boss. Is that it Greg?" Asked Farmer.

"Well, no not exactly," said Greg, "I just need the bell."

"Why Greg?" Asked Farmer. "Does the bell make or decide who you are?"

"Yes," replied Greg.

"Well, I'll get to it as soon as I can." Said Farmer, "Go back to the yard for now."

Greg walked sadly away back to the yard. All day and the next, the animals ignored him. Greg was very upset, and began to feel very rejected. Finally Missy the kitten noticed what was happening to Greg, and set off to talk to him. She approached him with great caution. After all, he was "much" bigger than she was.

"Greg, may I speak to you please?" She asked.

"What do you want!" Bellowed Greg, "I am very busy."

"I just wanted to maybe let you know why everyone is ignoring you Greg. Don't you want to know why?" Asked Missy.

Greg nodded yes, and Missy tried to explain it to him. This was what she told him.

"Greg, as long as I have been here, you have always had that bell. Every time you would come around us, you would act as if you were the boss. You felt we should listen to every word and comment you made. You decided that what you said goes, but, it was not always what was really the best for that particular individual. Yet, you did not care about them personally, just about your opinion being done. Your "pride" was what hurt you in the end Greg, not the fact that you had no bell. That bell was given to you because of your size. That way little ones like me knew you were coming and would not be trampled by you. It also was a means to scare off predators that could harm others. You used it to control others, not protect them. You turned a good thing into a bad thing. That bell was a gift from Farmer, to be used for others, not a means of control, pride, or power over them. I really like you Greg, and it hurts me to see you hurt. However, you need to understand, you are not the boss, Farmer is. If you would treat others with respect and dignity, despite the bell, they would like you too. You may want to take this time to "talk to" folks, not "at" them. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at their reaction to that. Now, of course, this is just an opinion from a little kitten. It is up to you what you do with that opinion. I love you Greg, and will see you later. Bye."

Greg just stood there with tears in his eyes watching Missy walk away. He had a lot to think about. About an hour later, Greg came into the yard. He snorted to let the little ones know he was coming, and was careful to walk around them if they did not hear him coming. He walked up to a group talking, and just listened to what they had to say. After he listened, he politely asked them if he could offer a bit of his opinion on the subject. They just looked at him, shocked he had asked first. They said OK, and he told them his idea. Then he said,

"but that is just my opinion, you do not have to do it that way."

They were all shocked! Greg offered an opinion with no demands to obey? Greg walked away, and continued to conduct himself this way from that moment on. He vowed he would never try to boss them around again. Days went on, and the others noticed that Greg was sincere with his decision, to try not to be a "big shot" in the yard. Slowly they began to talk to him about all kinds of things. They started to invite him into their conversations, and looked forward to hearing his opinion. Greg released his "pride" and gained new friends in return. He found himself so much happier than before. Actually, he realized, being so bossy had removed him from fellowship with the others. He found he liked this "togetherness" that was being shown to him for the first time. Greg would never be the same again.

After a number of days of watching Greg and what he learned, Farmer decided it was time to return the bell to him. He fixed the collar, and walked out to the yard to find Greg. Farmer found Greg in a group of others, just laughing and talking up a storm.

"Greg, I have your bell and collar here," said Farmer. Greg looked up and smiled. He saw the beautiful new collar with all its colors. At first he was going to storm over to Farmer to get it, then he recognized that old "pride" welling back up in him over the bell.

"No thank you farmer," said Greg. "I think I'll do without the bell a little longer. I still have a lot to learn, and I do not want to get back into my old behavior. Can we see if I can do my job here without the bell?"

"Certainly Greg," answered Farmer with a smile. "You let me know when you think you can handle this gift the right way, OK?" Greg smiled and told Farmer he would let him know. For now, Greg was just happy, being a big guy, and protecting the others as he was meant to do, without the bell of "pride" around his neck. Farmer knew at the right time, Greg would be ready for His gift, and able to "rightly" handle the responsibility of such a gift. For now Farmer just smiled at the new Greg, and how wonderful it was that he had learned a lesson about pride, and bells.

Robyn Cavalera

Please contact Robyn Cavalera if you are planning to use her writings. Thanks.

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