Monday, August 13, 2007

Vive la Reine!

Return of the Queen

Well isn't it funny.

I don't know if you remember but Brandy was always our leader. She was the herdqueen and everyone agreed she was the herdqueen, so there was no Balkanization of the herd. The herd all agreed that Brandy was the queen.

Sure, some would mutter that they would be a better queen, and if they were the queen they would do things a lot differently, and there would be more cake, and earmarks for the queen's special friends, and bread and circuses and no new taxes.

And some would say why do we always have a LaMancha queen, why shouldn't we have a Nigerian queen or possibly a miniature queen.

And some of the long-eared-bears-of-little-brain even suggested a Nubian queen, since after all the Nubians are the biggest and the loudest. But this was widely considered laughable. Even some of the Nubians themselves would laugh when they said it. At least I think they were laughing. Who knows.

Anyway, ok, I got a little off track, but Brandy was always our leader. In spite of being small, and often terribly skinny because she was such a tremendous milker, Brandy was the queen, and ruled by consensus. She was firm but fair, and she was an excellent goat trainer because she was unfailingly consistent.

Brandy would always explain that she was going to eat first and she would insist upon it and she brooked no disagreement. And if you thought you were going to get in line ahead of Brandy - which for the most part you didn't think - you knew the price you were going to pay. Expert t-boning in the ribs, followed by ear-biting (if you had ears) and an ignominous bum's rush out the door. You did not get away with queue-jumping. Ever.

But if you were polite and waited your turn, you need fear nothing from Brandy. And if you stayed out of her way, she had no quarrel with you.

This was completely the opposite of, say, Boo. In Boo's ill-fated attempt at politics, she would one day insist that she was going to eat first and fight to the death over it. The next day she would run screaming to the end of the line after a sideways look from someone else.

Brandy had an unfortunate occurrence in the spring: she lost a set of beautiful triplets and was kept in isolation for several weeks because she was under the weather, and while she was out of circulation turmoil raged in the ensuing power vacuum and finally, unbelievably, Clipper emerged as the sort-of leader, ruling completely by terror.

Clipper turned into Attila the mini-Togg. You might be dozing in the sun and chewing your cud and out of the blue she would steamroller you into the dust for no apparent reason. She went mad with power. Anyone who looked at her cross-eyed might be t-boned against a locust tree. She was a pillager through and through.

And since she was always punishing everyone randomly, there emerged an idea that you could get away with things, small crimes and misdemeanors, if only you kept one eye on her. You could quietly sneak snacks out of turn from the feeder, for example, while she was burning and sacking a village of nearby innocents. This contributed to the chaos.

Well Clipper didn't have kids this year and she was eventually moved out to the pasture of fat girls and dry yearlings, where her iron-fisted regime of seething anarchy continues. Meanwhile, up at the main barn, Brandy endured her demotion with serene dignity, never scrabbling for anything or kowtowing to anybody. Just waiting patiently.

Slowly she fattened and regained her strength, and one day a couple of weeks ago she got a certain look in her eye when Scouty came clipclopping to the door to be fed first.

And that look said, "I don't think so."

And Brandy explained to Scouty that she was going to eat first and she insisted on it. And she brooked no disagreement.

And within a couple of days the fog of amnesia lifted and everyone remembered, oh yeah, that's right, you ARE the boss of me.

And Brandy returned to her rightful throne.

And I say, after surviving the Clipperish Inquisition, Long Live the Queen.