Writers Abroad Magazine 6 May 2017 - Page 36

WRITERS ABROAD MAGAZINE: THE THIRD SPACE Following a profusion of pushing, prodding and profanities, Tom eventually ejected a perplexed Marguerite from the wheelbarrow, left her with Farmer Jacques for the day and returned to collect her that evening. After many earnest entreaties (much to Farmer Jacques’ amusement), Tom finally managed to persuade the reluctant Marguerite into the wheelbarrow. ‘I will drop her off again tomorrow,’ said Tom, ‘though I have a question. How will I know if she is pregnant?’ Farmer Jacques decided he would have some fun at Tom’s expense and envisaged enjoying many Pastis-filled hours with his friends, recounting the developing tale of the English fool, his cow and his wheelbarrow. ‘Well,’ he said, looking directly at Tom, ‘if in the morning she is pawing the ground, then she’s pregnant. If she’s behaving normally then you must bring her again.’ ‘Pawing—pregnant. Normal—not. Ok, that’s easy to remember.’ Tom shook hands with Farmer Jacques and thanked him. Farmer Jacques chuckled and thought to himself, ‘A cow pawing the ground I have rarely seen. He will be backwards and forwards with his cow and his wheelbarrow for weeks.’ He watched with glee as poor Tom struggled up the slope, sliding back one step for every two he gained. For two weeks farmer Jacques enjoyed the twice daily spectacle of Tom’s exertions with his Marguerite filled wheelbarrow, by which time poor Tom was at the end of his strength. Marguerite, for her part, was having a good time. Farmer Jacques had seen his bull holding up his end of the bargain with considerable enthusiasm on a number of occasions. One morning while on the lookout for Tom, Farmer Jacques answered his telephone. ‘Is that Farmer Jacques? This is Tom speaking. There has been a development with Marguerite this morning.’ ‘Oh. Is she pawing the ground?’ enquired farmer Jacques. ‘No.’ ‘Is she behaving normally?’ ‘No.’ ‘So, is she behaving strangely?’ ‘In a manner of speaking,’ replied Tom ‘Well?’ Farmer Jacques was intrigued, ‘What is she doing?’ ‘She’s sitting in the wheelbarrow.’ 35 | MAY 2017