Menagerie, page 2
next morning, Farmer Brown did not even try to milk his tigers.
Instead, he got in his pickup truck and drove all the way across
the county to visit his best friend, Henry.
Henry was sitting on the rocking
chair on his front porch when he saw Farmer Brown coming up the
"Mornin', Farmer Brown!" shouted
"Say!" Henry added when his
friend got closer. "What's the matter with you? You
"I must be gettin' old, Henry,"
replied Farmer Brown. "Every mornin', by the time I finish
milkin' my tigers, collectin' the eggs from my crocodiles, and shearin'
the wool off my gorillas, I'm plumb tired out!"
Henry's mouth opened wide and he
looked at Farmer Brown with a such surprise that you might have
thought his whole head was gonna pop off his neck and shoot up into
"You ain't gettin' old, Farmer Brown,"
replied Henry when he could talk again. "You just made a little
mistake! Tigers...and crocodiles... and gorillas... ain't farm
animals! Them's zoo animals!"
Now it was Farmer Brown's turn to
open his mouth wide. His forehead wrinkled and his eyes got a wild
"Well I'll be!" he finally
said. "So that's it! Doggone, I knowed I was doin' somethin'
Henry made lunch for the two of them.
They ate and talked about the old days, and then Farmer Brown got
back in his pickup truck and drove home across the county.
When he got to the front gate of
his own farm, he got out his big black
magic marker and changed the sign, so that instead of saying:
it now read:
thinking for a minute, Farmer Brown added something else:
people began coming from miles around to see the wild animalsand
paying good money, too.
Farmer Brown put up a few fences so
the people could see the animals safely and vice-versa. Then, when
he'd saved enough money from all the admission fees, he went out
and bought himself a cow, a few chickens, and some nice little
Every morning now, Farmer Brown would
get up and milk his cow. Then he'd collect the eggs from his chickens.
After that, shear the wool off his sheep. Even after feeding all
the zoo animals too, he'd still have plenty of energy left when
the day was over.
went out to the front gate and changed the top part of his sign
one more time, so that it now read:
He and his
twin menageries lived happily together for a long, long time.
© 1990, 2004 by Max Reif