Mike liked some of the animals on Aunt Brenda's farm.
He liked the big Collie dog, Jock. Jock ran to fetch sticks when Mike threw them. Mike played with Jock for a long time.
He liked the three, fat baby pigs that ran and tumbled about in Aunt Brenda's muddy pigpen. He thought the little pigs were funny to watch when they played.
There was one animal on Aunt Brenda's farm that Mike did not like. "There are a lot of good animals on your farm," Mike told Aunt Brenda. Then he pointed at the animal he did not like. "I don't think that strange bear with the funny horns is one of the good animals. It stares at me with great brown eyes and it makes a loud noise. I think that bear would like to poke me with its long, mean horns."
Aunt Brenda looked where Mike pointed. "Mike," she said, "that animal isn't a bear. That is my nice, good cow Arabella. Her horns are long and she does stare at people, but she would not hurt you." She smiled. "Arabella is a milk cow. It was her milk you drank for lunch."
"I like milk," said Mike. "The milk I had for lunch was cold and good. But I am not sure about Arabella. Listen, Aunt Brenda. Arabella is making terrible noises at me right now!"
Aunt Brenda looked at her wrist watch. She said, "The reason Arabella is 'mooing' so loudly is because it is time for the afternoon milking. Come. I will show you what a good cow Arabella is."
Mike went into the barnyard with Aunt Brenda. To his surprise, Arabella followed them right into Aunt Brenda's barn and went to stand in a milking stall.
"I still don't know if I like Arabella," said Mike. "But you didn't have to call her into the barn. Arabella must be a very smart cow."
Aunt Brenda laughed and picked up a bucket of grain. "Arabella is a very hungry cow," she said. "And she certainly is smart enough to know that she gets fed special grain at milking time."
Mike watched Arabella eat the grain Aunt Brenda pouring into the eating-trough. He watched Aunt Brenda sit on a little stool beside Arabella. He watched Aunt Brenda pat Arabella on the side.
"Come here," she told Mike. "Arabella likes to be patted."
Slowly, Mike walked to stand beside Arabella. Up close, she was larger than any animal Mike had ever imagined. But she made a softer "moo" sound when he patted her stiff, bristly hair. And Mike saw that Arabella's face looked very pleased when Aunt Brenda began milking her.
Soon Aunt Brenda had a bucketful of milk. And when Aunt Brenda stood up, Arabella backed out of the milking stall and walked out of the barn. Then she gave a loud, bellowing "moo," but now the noise didn't sound frightening at all.
"Arabella still looks like a strange animal to me," Mike told Aunt Brenda when they carried the bucket of fresh milk to the house. "But I am not afraid of her now. I like all of the animals on your farm, and I think that strange Arabella is the best animal of all."