Bukolla, The Canny Cow

Once upon a time there was a man and a woman that lived in a cottage. They had one son but they did not love him. They had one cow, called Bukolla.

One day the cow disappeared. After a fruitless search the man and the woman angrily ordered the boy to go and search for the cow, not to return without it.

The boy searched long and hard. Whenever he stopped to eat, he called: „Moo now, my dear Bukolla, if you are anywhere alive!“ He could hear the cow moo far away, although nearer each time. Finally he could hear it moo beneath his feet, where he found it tied up in an enormous cave. He hastily untied the cow and off they went, for home.

The boy soon discovered that a huge ogre was pursuing them, drawing closer in every stride. Frightened, he asked the cow: „What should we do now, dear Bukolla?“ The cow replied: „Take one hair from my tail and put it on the ground.“ The cow then said to the hair: „I say and so demand that you will turn into so large a maze that no one can pass but the flying bird.“ Instantly the hair transformed into a huge maze.

When the ogre reached the maze, it called for its big bull and had it engulf all the maze.

Again the boy had to seek assistance from Bukolla, this time transforming a tail hair into a fire so large that no one could pass but the flying bird.

When the ogre reached the fire it had the big bull put out the fire by urinating on it, returning all the water from the maze.

Yet again the boy had to seek assistance from Bukolla, this time transforming a tail hair into a mountain range so large that no one could pass but the flying bird.

When the ogre reached the mountains it used its father’s big drill to make a tunnel. But in its haste to enter the tunnel it failed to notice how narrow it was and gut stuck, later turning into stone, where it still is.

But the boy made it safely home with the cow, making the man and the woman quite happy.

 

Listen to the story (Icelandic):

Story teller :
Hafdís Erla Bogadóttir.

Story reference:
Íslenskar þjóðsögur (Icelandic Folklore).
Author: Benedikt Johannesson/Johannes Benediktsson.

Story drawings:
Eyrun Oskarsdottir.

Graphics:
Bjork Hardardottir.

Audio:
Hafdís Erla Bogadóttir.

Video:
Markus Sveinn Markusson.