This morning The Maakster on her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village came along the Noensewegel, an idyllic bicycle/footpath with on the right, behind a wire mesh fence and then a ditch, cows in meadows. It was customary in good weather for a group of cows to be in one of the meadows, but this time the farmer had spread them over several ones, probably because he had recently made hay and there was not much left to eat per field.
The Maakster stopped to look at a cow that lay close to her, a meter from the ditch, ruminating, each time banging her teeth together with a remarkable noise. As if she had bad fitting dentures.
It was really just an ugly animal. It had a dirty white color with a few light gray spots here and there that looked like you could just rinse them off with a garden hose. But she had something special: that clapping of her teeth. The beast struggled to get up with her thick elongated body on rather short legs, until she stood in the meadow at an angle to The Maakster.
While looking at The Maakster, the cow first slapped her head noisily with her right ear, probably to scare away annoying flies, then just as loudly with her left ear, ‘smack, wack!’. Then, with another remarkably loud noise, she slammed her tail against her left flank and then her right, ‘swush boom, swush bang!’ And to top it off, she clapped her teeth hard twice more. The Maakster was amazed. She passed by here often, but had never encountered a clap cow. The beast stooped her head and bit off ‘chomp!’ a tuft of grass, then chewed it with more clapping sounds.
The Maakster clicked her tongue against her palate, ‘tjk, tjk,’ and sure enough, the cow repeated the whole boisterous ritual. Right ear to her head, left ear to her head, ‘smack, wack!’, tail against her left flank, against her right flank, ‘swush boom, swush bang!’ and her teeth ‘clap clap’ hard together twice.
When The Maakster did ‘tjk, tjk’ one more time, the beast actually repeated the same routine.
Shaking her head, The Maakster continued her walk and heard behind her a few more times – as goodbye? – the ‘clap, clap’ of the cow’s teeth. The clap cow.