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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Three of a Kind

Bruce, the highland bull, and Betty, the highland cow, were so excited. Their baby was due very soon. They spent much of their day gathering heather and leaves, and laying them down in the dirt for their baby’s bed.

One day they were out picking up some thistle down when Betty suddenly felt very tired. Bruce said, "Why don’t you go and take a nap. I’ll finish gathering the thistle fluff, then I think I will take a little swim in the loch."

Betty thought that sounded like a good idea, so she went home. After Bruce finished his afternoon swim, he too headed for home. When he arrived there he found three baby girl cows lying next to Betty. "Meet your new baby daughters," she announced to a surprised new father. Bruce couldn’t speak. "Surprised? I didn’t know we were having triplets either," Bailey said.

Three babies at one time! That meant Bruce would have to work three times as hard to feed and clothe them. Still, he was happy. He smiled a big bull smile, then went to each of his little babies and held them. He picked up the first calf, who was lying by her mother’s right leg. Her eyes were deep brown. "I think we shall call you Bailey." The calf smiled at her father.

Then he went to the next baby. Her eyes were as brown as Baileys. "Oh dear!" Bruce said. "Her eyes are brown too. Oh dear! She looks exactly like Bailey. How will we ever tell them apart?" Bruce decided that if he put each baby back in the exact spot he’d picked them up from, he’d remember which one was which. He kissed the baby and said, "We shall call you Blair." He lay her down, careful to put her next to Betty’s left leg.

The next calf had the same brown eyes as the other two. "Oh dear! Her eyes are brown! Oh dear!" Bruce cried. He didn’t know how he’d ever be able to tell them apart. He kissed his third calf and said to her, "Your name will be Brooke." Then he lay her down by Betty’s head.

"What beautiful names you have picked for our identical triplet calves. I love them all," Betty said with a smile. Then she kissed each one as she recited their names. "This is Bailey, this is Blair, and this one by my head is Brooke." The three calves smiled back at their mother. "We’re the luckiest parents around, aren’t we?" Betty reminded Bruce.

He nodded in agreement, and went off to find some food for his family. He was gone a long time. When he came back he saw the triplets, lying together. He dropped all the food he had just gathered from the valley and ran to wake up Betty. "Dear, you must wake up!" he said as he shook her.

Betty woke up; so did all three calves. They began to cry and she had to quiet them down. "What is it? Look at what you have done. You’ve woken them up and…..", she stopped, realizing what had happened. The calves were all lying next to each other.

"Oh dear!" Bruce said. "How will we tell them apart now?"

Betty thought about it for a while. "I know! I have some ribbons in that bag over there. Each is a different color. We’ll put them on the girls and then we’ll be able to tell them apart by the color they are wearing."

Bruce went and got the bag. He picked out a blue ribbon and put it around Bailey’s thick neck. Then he put a red ribbon around Blair’s neck, and a yellow ribbon on the last calf, whom he presumed was Brooke’s neck. "There now, each one of them has a different colored ribbon."

The triplets looked at the bright ribbons around each other’s necks, then fell back to sleep.

Bruce had to go back out to find more food. Betty went down to the loch to take a bath. She swam around, dunking herself under the water. When she was done, she helped Bruce carry the food back to where the triplets lay sleeping. "Why don’t you wake up Bailey first, so she can eat. Then, when she’s done, we’ll wake up Blair, and then Brooke," Betty suggested .

Bruce went over to his sleeping daughters and looked at the ribbons. He couldn’t remember which calf had which color. He knew that Betty would remember, so he went and got her. "I’m sorry, but I can’t remember which one is Bailey," he apologized, feeling like a terrible father for forgetting.

Betty went over to her calves. "Why you silly hippo! This one, the one with the red ribbon; this is Bailey!" Then she looked at the other two, "Or is this Bailey? Or is this her?"

Bruce said, "Oh dear! Oh dear! Maybe we’d better think up a different way to tell our identical daughters apart."

Betty had a great idea. "Let’s put them in frilly dresses that match their ribbons. Surely we’ll remember that way!" So she dressed Bailey in a pretty blue and white polka dot dress, Brooke in a yellow and white dress, and Blair in a red dress with white lace all over it. "There. That will do it," Betty proclaimed. Luckily she had guessed right on which calf was in which color.

The triplets smiled at their mum and dad, then at each other. They rolled over and went to sleep. Betty had forgotten to feed them, but they looked so adorable as they slept, so she decided to let them be. She and Bruce went for a walk down to a nearby patch of clover. They nibbled away at it, enjoying the delicious taste. After they had their fill, they lay down in it and took a short nap. When they returned to their babies, they found the three girls busily eating away. "Oh, how precious," Betty said. "Look at our little Bailey munching away so cutely." She pointed to the baby in the blue dress.

"But dear," Bruce hippo interrupted, "That’s not Bailey. It’s Brooke. Bailey is in the yellow dress. Or is she? Oh dear! Oh dear!"

Again Betty and Bruce could not tell their calves apart. They had forgotten which one was which. Betty said, "Enough of this! I am going to make sure we can tell them apart from now on!" She went over to her sewing box and got a needle and thread. Then she went to the baby in the yellow dress and said, "I can tell my babies apart!"

She looked into the baby’s deep brown eyes. "This is Blair" She took off the yellow and white dress, embroidered the name Blair onto it, and put the dress back on her baby. "Now, we’ll all know this is Blair from this moment on."

Then she went to the baby in the blue and white polka dot dress. She looked carefully at her, and said, "This is Bailey. I know my own calves." She took off her dress and stitched the name Bailey on with needle and thread. She put the dress back on the calf. "We’ll be able to tell this is Bailey from now on."

She went to the calf in the red dress with white lace. "You must be Brooke," Betty confidently said. She took of the baby’s dress and stitched Brooke on to it with thread. "There now, we will always be able to tell our babies apart."

And it didn’t matter that they were all wrong, because Bailey, Blair, and Brooke didn’t know any better.

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