- Part 1: BUFFALO TALES – CHILDHOOD STORIES
- Part 2: BUFFALO TALES – THE INCIDENT, THE FRIENDSHIP, A NEW MEMBER
- Part 3: THE SADNESS, LIFE, AND MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
… The Stories Continues… The Final Part
The Sadness – Childhood Stories in Vietnam
For the next few days after the calf was born, the little girl’s family was busy to keep the hut warm. The little girl came to see the buffalo and its baby every morning and afternoon for a week. Then, the weather was getting worse every day. It was colder every day.
Even her school announced that all students must stay at home as the weather was colder than usual. The little girl was happy to be at home. She was with her brothers and they were in the blankets and sitting on the bed for a whole day. It was too cold to get out of the house. The little girl wanted to see the buffalo and the little calf, but her parents didn’t allow her to go out.
Her mother fried some corn and peanuts and put them next to the bed so the three kids could stay in bed and eat some snacks.
A week later the weather wasn’t getting better, and the little girl’s parents were worried about something. But she was too busy being a kid, so she did not ask them.
After a few days, the kids were bored being inside. They asked their parents to go out, but it was still too cold for them to be outside. They were locked inside the house while their parents went to work.
Their parents often locked them inside the house while they went to work in the field or the mountain during the summer school holidays. However, the kids were clever enough to know where the key was hidden, they yelled out and asked their friends from the neighbourhood to get the key and open the door. They would go out and play in the yard or the garden. When they saw many villagers start to go home from the field or the mountain, they would go back inside the house and ask their friends to lock them up again. When their parents were home, they were inside waiting for them. They would pretend that they had been inside the house the whole time
This time their parents did the same thing – they locked them up and went to work. The little girl called her friend to come over and open the door for them. Three of them went to the buffalo’s hut to see the little calf and the buffalo. It was cold outside, and the dewdrops had turned into ice. It was the first time the little girl had felt this cold.
Inside the buffalo’s hut, the little fire was still on. The buffalo was tied in the corner and her calf was lying next to her. Even though the little calf had a blanket around it, it seemed to be cold and weak.
The little girl asked her brothers to go back to the house. She came back to the buffalo hut and came to sit next to them. She put more wood into the fire and tried to cover the calf with the blanket when it fell off. She forgot that she had to go back inside the house before her parents came home.
She was in the hut until her mother came to find her. The little girl’s mother was angry when she knew the kids were sneaking out, but when she saw that her daughter was looking after the calf she did not get angry at her this time.
That night the little girl asked her mother if the calf would be fine, her mother replied doubtfully “it will be fine”.
A few days later the little girl’s parents told her that the little calf had died because it was too cold. The little girl went to the hut with her parents. She was sobbing by the time she saw the dead calf. She felt hurt but did not know why. They buried the calf in the corner of the garden next to a big jackfruit tree. The winter seemed to last longer that year.
Life – Childhood Stories in Vietnam
The weather was getting warmer in the spring and it had been a few months since the little calf died. The little girl took the mother buffalo to the rice field again. The buffalo was thinner and slower in the field.
The little girl forgot the winter and was happy to be with the buffalo in the field. When she came home from school, she took a book and climbed on the back of the buffalo – her homework was often memorising a poem or a paragraph of literature.
Around six months later, the little girl came home from school one day and she saw a few people standing around the buffalo’s hut. A male buffalo was inside the hut with her friend.
The little girl’s mother asked her to go inside the house and do her homework. Later that day, the little girl’s mother told her that the buffalo would be pregnant again so she must be gentle and careful when she was with the buffalo.
So now it seemed to be that both the little girl and the buffalo were more experienced. This time, the buffalo was eating well and it was bigger and healthier. Soon it was time again.
This year the buffalo had her calf in the spring. The weather was warmer and there was more green grass in the rice field. The buffalo was inside with its young calf for a few weeks then they started to go out the field near home together.
The little girl and her father went out with the buffalo and its little calf. When the calf was strong enough to follow its mother and the little girl, they started to go further. The little girl now had her buffalo and its young child. She talked to both of them, but sometimes she was a naughty girl and she stopped the calf from drinking milk from its mother. She waited until the calf made a noise and ran around as if it was pleading with the little girl to leave it alone with its mother’s milk. The cheeky little girl smiled and pretended that she felt sorry. Then she canoodled the calf’s face and left it to have its meal. The little girl was very happy with two friends. Her brother started to go with her to the field so they could keep an eye on the calf.
Childhood Memories – Childhood Stories in Vietnam
There was a new rule in the village that buffalos were not allowed to go to the field. The little girl’s mother and a few other families had to secretly take their buffalos to the field at night while the little calf had to stay in the hut and so did the little girl’s brothers.
The little girl followed her mother to the field, but she would be on the back of the buffalo. Her mother led the buffalo on the paths around the rice fields. Her mother often brought a big bag and put the grass she cut while they were in the field so they could feed the buffalo during the day. Behind or in front of them would be a few other buffaloes with their owners. The owners whispered to each other in the field because they did not want anyone to know they were there in the field.
Time passed by then the little girl was in her 8th grade. She was busy with her school and the homework before her big exam to get into high school. It was important for her and her family. Because if she failed, she would have to re-sit the exam next year or go to work in a factory. Her parents wanted her to concentrate on her studying. So, they did not let her go to the field with the buffalo.
The little girl’s parents were busier with a big flock of 300 ducks. They also had a little truck. People in the village now used the ploughing machines in the field instead of the buffalo and they used the truck to carry heavy things instead of the buffalo’s cart.
Either the little girl’s family did not have time to look after the buffalo or the buffalo wasn’t being useful to them. Either way, the little girl’s parents decided to sell the buffalo to a family in the mountain area where they still used the buffalo to plough and cart.
The little girl was too busy with her school and being a teenager. She did not really care about the buffalo that much anymore. She was a bit sad when her parents told her the news, but she did not remember when the buffalo left her home.
She did not really talk about her buffalo in her childhood until one day in one of her classes at university, her teacher asked her class about which animal you loved the most. As she remembered that she had her buffalo, a sweet and peaceful memory came back to her. The little girl now is a grown-up woman. She has her own family and life adventure. Every so often, she thought of her childhood, her buffalo, and her village. She feels lucky that she had a happy childhood with her friend – her buffalo which she never named.