Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Zombie Cows


Noram Castle.
Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A.
Pencil and watercolour.

A popular pastoral during that period.

Along with brutal eunuchs, vigilante sorcerers, and the nexus of time travel itself, there's a running snicker at Evil Editor's about zombie cows.
If you've ever seen those shrunken woolly mammoths called Highland cattle, it's not such a ridiculous concept, painters like Turner notwithstanding. And I understand that Texas Longhorns are creatures to be treated with respect. Cows are not all Daisy the Heifer of gentle, bovine beauty.
About the same time Erik posted a western piece and someone at Romancing the Blog mentioned that if one's heart was set on westerns, for example, there was no reason why one could not incorporate the paranormal into the genre of one's choice, the radio played the Country-and-Western oldie, Ghost Riders in the Sky.

...when all at once a mighty herd
Of red-eyed cows he saw,
Driving through the ragged sky
And up a cloudy draw...

Their brands were still on fire
And their hooves were made of steel,
Their horns were black and shiny
And their hot breath he could feel,

A bolt of fear cut through him
As they thundered through the sky,
For he saw the riders coming hard,
And he heard their mournful cry...


For they're bound to ride forever
In that range up in the sky,
Tryin to catch the Devil's herd,
As they ride on, hear their cry...
Yippie-yi-aaa...Yippie-yi...

...a clever, visual song...
Oh.
The Wild Hunt, the Yith Hounds, Herne the Hunter, adjusted to time and place.
The folk tale has even been co-opted historically to serve a chronicler's august disapproval of Henry I's Abbot of Peterborough.
From the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Ingram) A.D.1127:

The hunters were swarthy and huge; and their hounds were all swarthy, and broad-eyed and ugly. And they rode on swarthy horses, and swarthy bucks... And the monks heard the horn blow that they blew in the night. Credible men, who watched them in the night, said that they thought there might well be about twenty or thirty horn blowers...

So why not Zombie Cows?
If the grass is greener - re-position the fence.

30 comments:

S. W. Vaughn said...

I love Ghost Riders In the Sky! Also, The Highwayman (speaking of paranormal country songs).

Hmm, zombie cows. Interesting concept! Whenever I think of cows in fiction, I think of Anne Rice's The Mummy. They weren't zombie cows, though; they were immortal cows. :-)

Scott said...

Anything to be original. I too love that song. It has a creepy sound.

Erik Ivan James said...

Thanks for the mention, Dear Gal!

This is a fun post today. I enjoyed it and could hear you singing Ghost Riders. Um...I'd wager you can sing too, and probably quite well?

"If the grass is greener - re-position the fence."

You do that every day, Bernita. And share with us those greener pastures.

Ric said...

"If the grass is greener - re-position the fence."

Now, that is an amazing piece of advice. Just what I needed this snowy morning.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

High Plains Drifter is a paranormal western -a very good one. Some people say I'm nuts for seeing it that way, though. I've been in several "arguments" over it. -JTC

EA Monroe said...

Bernita, let's go cow tipping some dark evening. :-)

Erik Ivan James said...

I agree with JTC. High Plains Drifter is a paranormal western, and I agree with him/her too that it is a good one.

Bernita said...

I don't particularly care for Country, Sonya, but it's a damned good song.

I think it's a very sophisticated piece, Scott.

Thank you, Erik.
Used to do church and community choir, used to do ballads too, but I prefer torchy.

Right, Ric. Just the morning to be out there with a post-hole digger, and staples, and barbed wire...

Well, boo to them, JTC, let them bawl.

From what I know about cows, Elizabeth, I'd rather not!

anna said...

Zombie cows - i think they live in the Denver area. somebody told me cows are so dumb that if they can't find water they aren't smart enough to eat snow. hard to believe but maybe these are zombie cows discovered by zombie reporters at CNN

off now - out moving the fences

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Cows...hmmm! The only way I want mine is between a bun (lo-carb, of course...LOL) or covered in steak sauce!

spyscribbler said...

"If the grass is greener - re-position the fence."

Love it, Bernita! You have such a way of making a point. :-)

Bernita said...

Best beef is Home on the Range, Bonnie?

Bernita said...

Maybe just a bad case of a mad cow, Anna...

Thank you, Spy.Don't think there's a need to put a genre out to pasture...

Anonymous said...

I'm a him, erik -just for future reference.

anna, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there are people that aren't smart enough to do that. -JTC

Robyn said...

My dad says PMS is mad cow disease. Hee!

Thank you for reminding me of a wicked good song. When my grandmother was little, she was living in the Nevada desert with her railroader father. (1920 or so.) She and her friend thought an earthquake had hit; then she saw the dust cloud. They climbed onto an oil derrick just as a cattle stampede crossed. The herd was huge; it took at least fifteen minutes to pass. When it was over, the cowboys who found the girls clinging to the derrick said they were so filthy they were unrecognizable. Cows do indeed deserve respect.

Kate Thornton said...

Zombie cows....how could you tell?

Cows are so laid back they are almost laid down. The sloe eyes, the rhythmic chews.

I think the term may be redundant.

Bernita - I want to read your novel. Is there a way to get a loooong peek? I read a *lot* of mystery, but this one is under my skin now. I want to see what happens!

Kate - who prefers the desert scrub to grass anyway

Savannah Jordan said...

That's actually a cool song. I like your concept of moving the fence, Bernita. I try to reposition mine often :)

ORION said...

Ah ha!
Another example of obtaining authenticity.
Thanks for commenting on my blog!

Anonymous said...

Forgive me, bernita, I don't mean to hijack. But, I must say savannah's got the hottest avitar I've seen. Wow. -JTC

Bernita said...

I understand she writes rather "hot," too, JTC!

Savannah Jordan said...

You would know about the heat level, Bernita--you've been my most faithful reader. :) And I appreciate you so much for that!

Therese Fowler said...

"If the grass is greener--re-posistion the fence."

That needs to go on a t-shirt, a bumper sticker, a button, a self-help book...

Thanks for such a thoughtful look at a "problem." I elected to apply such an approach to my fiction. Not genre-bending in this case; rather, moving the perceived line between literary and commercial fiction.

Bernita said...

One never knows when stepping in a cow flap with bare feet might be useful, Pat.

Not at all, Savannah, you're worth reading.

Thank you, Therese. I highly approve a running new fence lines.

Stewart Sternberg said...

You know, I've written a story about vampire cows. Sometimes the life of a veterinarian can just be downright difficult.

Bernita said...

Sorry, Stewart...would that be "udderly" difficult?

writtenwyrdd said...

The Littlest vampire had vampire cows. Every time the zombie cows meme shows up I remember those vampire cows and snicker.

And I second ric's thoughts on repositioning that fence. Oh the farmers and the cowmen can be friends...

writtenwyrdd said...

I just remembered one of the funniest things I ever saw. Have you ever watched a cow run? It's like each end is a pogo stick.

So I'm driving through Vermont to visit an old friend, going North on 93 and seeing all the postcard green fields, gold-tinged maples and red barns with white farm houses. And I pass this field with a lone Holstein in it.

And I bust out laughing because this cow (probably a heifer; you don't see milch cows running with that bag full) is running down hill with that pogo-stick, bouncy run...chasing a flock of about a dozen wild turkeys.

I almost wrecked the car I was laughing so hard.

You had to be there. But running cows are funny.

Bernita said...

That must have been a sight, Written.
Yes,I've seen cows run - as I remember though they kick up their heels - and ungraceful it is.

Ted said...

It's amazing how much $$$ Hello Kitty brings in every day. I mean dang they can buy zombie cows by the dozen all the junk they could possibly do with the fact of money, With money these days people can try and do everything.

Ted said...

I mean I've been supresiing the fact that Zombie Cows are an intresting subject, but i think they could summon an epdemic with bubonic diseases and such.