Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › The Front Porch › Stories, Poetry, Jokes, Etc. › A Chrsitmas Story
- December 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm #43329RodParticipant
Ox and Ass before Him fall
It was the day before Christmas and I had been working most of it putting a post and overhead wire between my two sheep barns so that I could have power and light in the middle barn for winter evening feeding. In that barn yard are the two barns I use for the sheep. These are on the north side of a driveway which separates the sheep side from the open end barn and yard I use for the oxen on the south side. The ox barn yard is connected to fields way up on the hill to the south which function as hay and pasture sources during the summer. This year we are still waiting for snow so the grazing has been good up there with a heavy growth of rowen aftermath left from the summer’s hay crop. The oxen have been staying in these fields, eating the sweet grass and sleeping on the pine needles in the adjacent woods. On most mornings I lure them down to the barn with alfalfa cube treats and by calling with my “come boss“ hail. I usually have to walk part way up the hill to get them started down. When they come down to the stall, I give them a scoop of sweet feed after which, if I don’t have any work for them, they wander back up to the pastures and woods for the rest of the day and night.
It had been a sunny but cold and breezy day and as I worked I had to occasionally pocket my hands to warm them up. I was working late in the day, trying to complete the job before I went up to the house for the evening. I knew Grandmolly had a nice roast in the oven and was looking forward to our Christmas evening together. The wood stove would be going and the heat would quickly warm me up as we shared dinner and our gifts. So when I finished, I hurried to pick up my tools and ladder. As the twilight was quickly settling in the valley the brighter of the evening stars were beginning to accumulate in the sky off to the east. It was going to be a clear and cold night.
Walking to my truck in the driveway, I was surprised to see Thunder and Lightning, my faithful oxen, standing in the open barn in front of the manger with that longing look they usually have. One that I have grown used to, as they patiently wait for whatever is next. I felt tears of moisture form in my eyes and a flutter in my heart as I saw them and the scene, which unfolded in my mind. Had they come down to the manger this night for a special reason? An ancient instinct that sometimes draws us beyond the realms of conscious thought and bids us to do unexplainable things? An old Christmas hymn flashed through my mind “ox and ass before Him fall for He is in the manger now…” . They stayed all night and were waiting still, in the morning, when I went down for morning chores.
The wonders of Christmas, may they be yours this season as well. Merry Christmas.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.