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The Cow That Could Swim

by Tony Stewart

                                                                                     The Cow That Could Swim

                                                                                                  By Tony Stewart



































































































































































































































This on line version is a slightly altered version of the draw-it-yourself version and has been produced to highlight the general layout style of the draw-it-yourself books.  (The alterations to the story only involve the non-appearance of the pages to be illustrated).


In the print version (draw-it-yourself version) page 1 would have been the inside cover - then as the book is opened there would be two pages open.  Page 2 which is the first page of text telling the story (the page on the left hand side) which here is expressed as Chapter one.   The space between the end of Chapter one and the beginning of Chapter two here, in the on-line version, represents the blank area of the book (Page 3 - the right hand side page) where the illustrations are drawn.


The intention of the draw-it-yourself books is to do the drawings in the assembled book itself, but if you have a comb binder (providing the book was supplied with plastic combs) and you feel confident enough, you may wish to remove the pages from the book while drawing or painting.  All pages are numbered and already have the holes punched, so reassembling  shouldn't be a problem if care is taken, but it is not a risk I can endorse with any guarantee and books cannot be replaced if damaged during this procedure.

   I have no idea of the difficullties of removing the pages if wire comb has been supplied and I do not recommend you do it.


                                                                          SPECIAL NOTES               PLEASE READ


PAINTING.   I have attempted to paint on the illustrated side ( not a Picasso I am afraid). but I did notice that the minutest of staining occurs on the reverse (text) side.  It probably does not distract from the overall book, but to give the artist confidence in the quality of the cartridge paper (110 mg) I have included a test page which is located at the front of the book and is meant to be torn out of the book once used.



ILLUSTRATION CREDIT.    If the ARTIST is known in advance and they would prefer to have their name as ILLUSTRATOR printed  in the book as per the AUTHOR, instead of manually handwriting it themselves, please ensure you advise me and this can be done at no cost.  Let me know when placing the order or on an e-mail to   Please also ensure the name is correct on whatever you use because I will cut and paste the name onto the appropriate pages prior to changing it to the appropriate font.


Also, the front and back binder covers are a WHITE LEATHER-GRAIN - A4 - 25gsm cardboard which is a fairly sturdy binder (though still a soft cover book), however the book could end up being retained for years due to its sentimental status, so  I can offer FREE LAMINATING for both front and back covers in order to further extend its durability, but in doing so it will automatically deny the artist the ability to write their name on the cover.   It will not have any effect on the inside page which also provides space for the illustrator to place their name, but you might consider the previous offer of printing the artist's name in the appropriate areas in the first instance (no charge applicable).   If the illustrations will be done as a joint effort then all names can be typed in if requested and again no charge.


Please enjoy the story


Tony Stewart




Chapter one



Annie Jones, the farmer’s wife, looked out the window where Lucy, their pet black and white jersey cow, was lying down on the wet grass. A worried look appeared on Annie’s face as she watched the never ending rain tumbling down on the paddock, though Lucy seemed too interested in whatever she was listening to on her i-Pod to even notice it was raining.

   “Harold,” Annie remarked to her husband who had just walked into the room spreading a trail of water and mud across her clean floor before plonking himself down in a chair near the warm stove, “I don’t like the look of all this rain. It’s been coming down for hours … and now it’s moved into the house by the looks of it.” she added, looking at the huge clumps of mud and water that had come off his boots.

   “Ah, she’ll be right,” he replied with a grin, “I’ll clean it up in a minute - just as soon as I get warm.” Farmer Jones never worried much … and he certainly wasn’t going to worry about a bit of rain. In fact he loved a good drop of rain, “Besides,” he said, “it’ll make the grass grow good and green, and,” he mused, knowing it would get a bite out of his wife, “it will help to fatten up Lucy even more than she is now.”

   “Lucy is not fat.” Annie retorted indignantly, bringing a smile to her husband’s face, but then she added in a more sombre tone, “It is Lucy that I’m worried for, though. If this rain keeps up for much longer she’ll find herself swimming in it. There is a cyclone out there you know, Harold Jones.”

   “The cyclone is a hundred miles north east of here,” Farmer Jones replied, she’ll be safe enough.” Then a thought crossed his mind, a smirk crossed his lips and Farmer Jones began to laugh so hard he fell of his chair and started to roll on the floor. “Cows can’t swim.” he said through a mouthful of delirious laughter, “She’d need a giant pair of water wings.” and the thought of Lucy the cow in giant water wings and a bathing suit sent him off in another gale of laughter.

   “Well, Lucy can … I’m sure she can,” Annie responded reproachfully, “In fact I’m sure I saw her swimming in the creek the other day.”

   “That was probably just a weather balloon from the Air Force base that had come down,” Farmer Jones managed to get out between small fits of laughter as his mind continued to conjure up images of Lucy swimming, “they do it all the time. I have a dozen or so in the shed awaiting collection.”

   “Maybe so,” Annie replied in a rather dubious tone, “but I’ll still be worried until the rain stops.” And Annie had every right to be worried … because it rained all night long.


NOTE:  In the book version there would have been two pages open at this stage.  The preceding text would have been on page 2 (the left hand side) and the right hand side would have been blank for the illustration to be added.

Page 1 would have been the inside cover.

The following text (chapter 2) would have been on page 4 and so on.


chapter 2


   Annie Jones had been absolutely correct in her thinking. One hundred miles away from the farm the cyclone had crossed land and was quickly making its way inland, and as it travelled it did so with almost as much strength as it had when it was still riding high over the ocean.

   Huge trees were being snapped in half as if they were but twigs on a busy roadway. Dozens upon dozens of large, green-branched gum trees began falling into the rapidly filling creeks and streams.

   The rain was falling so fast and so heavy it was like a hundred thousand high pressure taps were all turned on at the same time and the streams and creeks soon became raging torrents and quickly joined the fast rising and crowded river, carrying the fallen trees with them.

   Boats, jetties and buildings either moored on the river, or situated on the water’s edge, were also breaking away from their moorings or foundations and falling into the inlets, creeks or the river itself: within minutes of feeling the pressure from the raging torrent pressed against them more and more extremely large and dangerous items were joining the procession on the now crowded and ever-rising river as it began moving on its never-ending journey towards the open and sea; a huge array of dangerous flotsam that threatened all before it … and somewhere between the raging cyclone and the open sea … stood Lucy’s farm … and Lucy.



chapter three



   The next morning Lucy, who had fallen asleep listening to her favourite band, ‘The Hot House Heifers’ on her i-Pod, awoke just after dawn as something hit her on her rump. “Goodness gracious,” she said as she fought sleep to open her eyes, ‘Whatever was that?’ she asked herself, “It felt too big for a mosquito. Maybe it was a big horse fly … or perhaps a bird?’

   Still half asleep, Lucy slowly opened her eyes to see what it was … and as she did so her eyes threatened to pop right out of her head.

   At first she shook her head in disbelief, but soon she realized what she thought she was seeing was what she really was seeing

   Lucy was no longer lying on her favourite piece of grass at the farm … she was in the middle of the biggest pool of water she had ever seen.

   ‘I am still dreaming,’ she told herself with a happy smile, ‘and I’m dreaming I’m in somebody’s swimming pool?’ Lucy began shaking her head in order to wake herself up, but it was all to no avail … she was still in the pool.  Bessie knew she was in the pool - because she was wet from head to hoof, ‘But whose pool, I wonder?”, she started to ask nobody in general. but after a few seconds of thinking about whose pool it was Lucy was feeling tired again.

   ‘What a lovely dream.’ Lucy sighed, suddenly no longer caring whose pool it was: Lucy was just so tired. She closed her eyes, the soft dreamy smile still on her face as she rolled over to go back to sleep – but immediately panicked as instead of her head resting on the pillow as she lay back… it went straight under the water.

   Lucy quickly pulled her head back above the water and had a better look around to work out where she really was, and it only took a few seconds this time for her to realise that she really was in water, but it was not in a swimming pool in somebody’s back yard – it was something much more dangerous: Lucy began to feel a bit nervous as she suddenly realized what kind of water she was in. The dream was not a dream – it was either a nightmare – or it was all too, too real - and Lucy now knew it was all too, too real.

   In truth Lucy was in the middle of a fast flowing, flooded Brisbane River… it was moving.   It was moving fast … very fast …and it was taking her with it.



chapter four



Now one thing that Lucy could do, that nothing else in the river could do, was tread water, which meant she could almost come to a halt while the rest of the stuff in the river would be moving fairly fast – faster than Lucy was, and that was going to become a major problem for her as her journey continued.   And as Lucy was treading water while trying to orientate herself, and looking for a way out, she soon began to grasp the seriousness of her situation and began to look a bit harder at her surroundings.

   Lucy had often seen the video of the Brisbane River Farmer Jones had recorded from the bow of a City Cat when he had taken his wife to Brisbane for a holiday.      

   Annie had often brought out a cup of tea and the laptop to show Lucy the buildings and point out the various points of interest on the river when she took her afternoon break from her chores, and Lucy knew exactly where she was, but she was very surprised at how far she had travelled during the night.

   Lucy guessed the creek at the far side of the hill where she slept must have risen while she had been sleeping, probably about six in the morning, she decided, based on how fast the water seemed to be travelling, and it had carried her down to the river. ‘And I slept the whole time.’ Lucy said to herself with a small laugh. But Lucy was not surprised that she had slept through it all because she knew her leather skin would have kept her warm and she wouldn’t have felt the rain, or the cold water –and she had stayed up quite late watching reality show finals on her I-phone before switching on her i-pod … but she was so far down the river.  

   Suddenly Lucy realised her i-Pad and all her other personal things had probably been washed away as well – with the exception of her i-Pod which still hung around her neck, but she doubted it worked too well now that it had spent several hours in the water. She tried it and found, unfortunately for her, to not be working. ‘A shame,’ she thought, ‘it would have nice to have some good music pounding in my ears as I escaped from here.’

   And then, to make Lucy’s life even more intolerable, she noticed a huge gum tree was bearing down on her and she jumped with fright, but of course she couldn’t really jump while she was in the water, but her body still went through the motions inside her mind.

   Actually, what Lucy did do was something completely different from jumping and screaming



chapter five




   “Uh, oh,” Lucy exclaimed loudly to nobody in particular as she realized just how close, and just how quickly, the tree was coming towards her, “I had better move quickly before it pulls me under.”   Lucy began to swim away from the tree as fast as she could, much to the amazement of the teenage boy standing on the river bank who couldn’t believe his eyes at what was going on in the water.

   “I didn’t know cows could swim,” he exclaimed, “Wow, that’s cool.”

   Now all cows can swim, despite what Farmer Jones thinks, and most cows do a doggy paddle like thing when they swim, but not our Lucy.  Lucy was an Aussie cow so she had taught herself to do the Aussie Crawl in the creek on the farm on hot summer days, and she was good at it. Though probably not quite up to Olympic Games standards she imagined to herself to be as she flew up and down an imaginary line in the creek to the sounds of imaginary applause and encouragement from an imaginary crowd, but she was a good swimmer … and the teenager was suitably impressed by her performance.

   Lucy kicked the water with her back hooves and did her best to emulate Ian Thorpe doing a fast sprint with her front legs while using her tail in a strange motion that was a cross between using it as a propeller to go faster and a rudder to steer herself in the right direction, but of course she had started swimming from a standing start, so as to speak, and the tree had the momentum of the raging river to propel it towards her at a great speed.

   “Look, Charlie,” the boy yelled excitedly to his friend,” there’s a cow in the river … and she’s swimming. She’s really swimming. Look, over there, near that huge tree.”   

   He pointed before pulling out his i-phone. He quickly photographed Lucy then tweeted the photo to his friends, most of whom were watching the rising flood further up the river near the bridge. By the time that Lucy reached the bridge there would be nearly a thousand people lining the banks … all waiting to see a swimming cow. But only the teenage boy would have had the chance to see the danger Lucy was about to put herself into as she tried to avoid the tree – and even he missed seeing what she did next as he and his friend were already running up towards the bridge to join the huge crowd in order to get a picture of Lucy passing under the bridge.



chapter six




   Despite her desperate attempt to swim clear, the tip of the tree was only about ten feet away from her when Lucy suddenly took a deep breath and dived under the water, swimming as fast and as deep as she could go.  In the murky, muddy water the light was almost nonexistent and Lucy had to be very careful she didn’t get caught in the long branches of the tree that were protruding down into the water as they passed over her.

   Even as she swam deeper she could feel the tips of the branches scraping over her back and that inspired her to swim even deeper and faster. She had taken note of how long the sky pointing branches were before she had dived so she could make a good guess how deep the ones hanging down would go, and she kept swimming until she was absolutely certain she had gone down far enough to avoid them. Then she stopped swimming and began dog paddling underwater as she started counting inside her mind. She figured she could hold her breath for at least another minute and a half and she hoped that would be enough for the tree to completely pass over her.

   ‘Tick! Tick! Tick! The seconds were beginning to feel like hours.   Holding her breath like this was not something Lucy was over familiar with, though she had tried it a couple of times when she was swimming just to see what it was like to dive in case she ever got the chance to visit the Barrier Reef, but it started to become too much and the constantly swirling current swung her around once too often and Lucy felt ill. She knew she would have to resurface.

   Lucy began her trek upwards, swimming as fast as she could, but she was having great difficulty making out where the surface actually was. Was the tree still above her?’ she wondered, ‘was it the tree that was blocking the limited light from the sun above. She also wondered if she should stop swimming for a second or two to decide which way to enter the surface, but it was too late … she was travelling too fast – she was almost at the top. Then, unexpectedly, only a few feet from the surface, she felt a large branch and its thick bunch of water heavy leaves brush over her face and it gave her a start. ‘Has my decision to dive under the water failed?, she wondered, ‘and am I about to find myself trapped.

   Oh, my goodness, I’m not going to make it!’ she screamed out loud … and when she opened her mouth to scream she had accidentally swallowed some dirty, brown water and it was instantly making her feel very sick.



chapter seven



   Although Lucy had closed her mouth straight away, it had been far, far too late. The water had taken the place of the last of the air she had stored in her lungs and now the vile liquid was making her feel extremely sick. She needed fresh air and she needed it now, but feeling the tree branches touching her was panicking her. Lucy thought she was about to become caught up in the tree and all of its branches and not reach the surface in time.

   ‘I’m going to die,’ she thought to herself, ‘I’m going to be trapped by the tree and drown.’

   Lucy was terrified. She closed her eyes and tried desperately to calm herself down. She let pleasant memories of the farm and afternoon teas with Annie Jones fill her head. She saw herself in the evenings listening to music on her i-pod and playing games on her i-pad or watching her favourite horror shows like ‘Master Chef’ and ‘My Kitchen Rules’.  ‘Oh those poor bovines and chickens and squids and other unfortunate victims,’ Lucy felt a chill run through her bones as she remembered some particular scary scenes from the shows, ‘and the things those chefs do to them in the kitchen …’

   But despite the fact she still found the shows to be more frightening than that of her current predicament, they were pleasant enough memories never-the-less: memories that, for the moment, put joy in her heart … and a few tears in her eyes.  

   Happy thoughts that she knew would be her last. Lucy was certain she was about to die.

   But between her running out of air in her lungs, swallowing the foul tasting water and feeling sick, Lucy had been concentrating so hard on her memories she hadn’t realised she was still heading upwards at a rate of knots because she had been swimming so fast, and suddenly she burst through the surface, straight through the sharp limbs and clumps of leaves that had frightened her and she reached fresh air just in time.

   But she didn’t stop when she reached the surface: up, up she travelled, her entire body broke through the surface and flew up into the air before it came crashing back down on the water in a huge, painful belly flop. Lucy felt the pain when her large belly hit the water, but she didn’t care – because Lucy knew she was still alive.

   And so would the teenage boy had he still been watching her, but he saw nothing because he had run to the bridge and the strong current was about to take Lucy there as well. The only difference between them being the fact that the boy was safe on land – and Lucy was in the middle of the biggest flood in years.



chapter eight


   ‘Ouch,’ she growled, ‘that hurt.’  Then slowly, as Lucy regained her breath, she began to wonder where the tree was that she had just crashed through. She looked around and she could see the big tree that had been threatening her in the first place floating some distance away, too far away for her to have run into. ‘So what had been scratching me when I reached the surface?’ Lucy wondered.

   Whatever it was it had now disappeared, or so it seemed, then suddenly Lucy heard a loud plopping sound behind her and she quickly turned just in time to see a 10 foot long fir tree bobbing in the water beside her. Lucy guessed she must have landed on it when she fell back in the water and pushed it under, and it had only just landed back in the river. ‘It was only a little baby tree compared to the other one, thank goodness.’ Lucy said in amazement then broke out in a burst of nerve induced laughter that lasted for nearly ten whole seconds.

   Lucy knew she had made the right decision to dive under the water to avoid the bigger tree and had made the right decision on how long to wait for it to pass over her, even if it did make her a bit sick, but the fact that she had come so close to an accident in the river in the first place had given her a bit of a shock now she had time to think about it, ‘After all,’ she thought to herself, ‘it isn’t something that I have to do every day on the farm. Nothing dangerous ever happens there, but it’s getting rather dodgy out here.  I really need to get to shore … but how?’  By now Lucy was becoming rather more appreciative of how many things floated down the river with her … very dangerous things.

   Lucy thought it was time to come up with a plan to get to safety, and the best way was to have a good look around as she continued to flow down the long and winding river. From where she was she could see cars and boats and caravans, lots of trees and goodness knows what else was there.

Oh,’ she thought anxiously, ‘I’ll never get through all this rubbish.’ And then Lucy became worried because she had now realised the river was still rising … and as it did it was adding more and more obstacles to her escape. Lucy was starting to become very sad … and just a little bit worried that she had no way of escaping.



chapter nine



Lucy strained her eyes in every direction looking for a way out. She knew she would have no trouble swimming to shore, because she could swim, but first she would have to find room to move … and that would not be easy. Every direction seemed more and more clogged with debris. She needed to be higher in the water to be able to see where the breaks in the flotsam occurred, but there was nothing for her to stand on – and even if she could find something she was not certain how she would be able to get on top of it. All she could do was hope an idea would come into her mind … and she knew it would have to come very soon.

As she spun herself around and around in the swirling, smelly, dirty water, looking for a break in the passing traffic, Lucy noticed the huge crowd on the bank for the first time and wondered why they all looked so frightened. They seemed to be yelling something to her and waving their arms about, but Lucy couldn’t hear what they were saying above the roar of the current, or understand why they were waving at her, their arms flapping in all direction, but as she spun around one more time she finally realised what it was they were carrying on about – and she got the fright of her life - for the third or fourth time that day. Lucy was having so many adventures and close encounters she was losing count.

What Lucy saw heading her way was the ‘BIG SURFBOARD’ that had hung from the Murphy’s Surfboards sign which somehow had broken off and had fallen into the river.

Like the BIG PINEAPPLE and the BIG COW on the sunshine coast, the BIG SURFBOARD was a local Brisbane icon that been around for years. Built in the nineteen sixties, the huge surfboard, nearly twice the size of the large sixties surfboards it represented, supported by two strong wooden poles cemented deep into the river’s edge, had hung proudly over the river at the back of Murphy’s Surfboard shop for over fifty years. But the wooden poles were no match for the front of the large barge the roaring floodwaters carried down the swelling river. The huge metal boat lying on its side was smashed into the shore by the raging torrent, and the boat’s sharp bow bent the poles almost to the ground before the pressure snapped the poles in half. The chains that had restrained the ends of the gigantic surfboard snapped off the now broken poles and the board flew high over the top of the barge then hit the water with such force it was like a torpedo that had been shot out of a submarine and was now screaming across the rushing torrent on its way to embed itself into its target … and the target that this torpedo was heading for … was Lucy.


chapter ten



The closer Lucy got to the bridge the closer the surfboard seemed to get to her… and the closer to the bridge she got the stronger the current became and Lucy became worried she might get caught up against the massive pylons that supported the bridge. Fifty feet to go, she guessed. Forty feet … Thirty feet … Twenty feet… The closer she got to the bridge the faster the water flowed… and the surfboard appeared to get closer and closer. As she was just about to reach the bridge Lucy could take the suspense no more … she closed her eyes and once again tried to think of nicer things … of home on the farm …of her favourite pop groups, The Hot House Heifers and The Bo Vines, and of Farmer Jones and his wife, Annie … and the soft, sweet grass she used to graze on.

Lucy could feel the power of the water at its strongest. It felt tight against her skin, squeezing her, the pressure almost unbearable, and for that split second Lucy was as frightened as she had ever been in her entire life. She was feeling crushed, she could no longer think of anything nice. Lucy was truly scared. For the first time in her life Lucy bellowed. She let go with the longest, strongest, noisiest sound that even she had ever heard. It pierced the air. It frightened a pair of seagulls that were flying by … and it frightened the life out of a truck driver who was having trouble with the constantly shifting heavy load on the back of his truck as he drove on wet slippery conditions on the bridge above the river where Lucy, her eyes still closed, had narrowly missed the huge pylons, but still certain in her mind that the surfboard was only inches away.

But what else Lucy didn’t know was that the driver of the truck on the bridge above had gotten such a fright when she screamed that he had hit the brakes with so much force the truck had skidded violently on the wet road, and the chains that held the huge container on the back of his truck had snapped and the container had rolled off the truck and over the railing on the side where Lucy was coming out. And there was every chance it would hit the water just as she passed under the bridge: Lucy was in double danger … and there was nothing she could do about it.



chapter eleven



Unaware the first part of her dangerous journey had passed without incident, but unable to avoid looking regardless of the outcome, Lucy finally opened her eyes and sighed with relief as she realized she was out of danger for the moment. She had survived the pylons and hopefully she would also manage to avoid the surfboard as soon as she had fully passed under the bridge. Safe, she thought - until she heard the roar that went up from the crowd on the riverbank who had run to the far side of the bridge to make certain Lucy passed under it safely: Lucy could hear the noise of crowd over the roar of the river they were so loud, but she couldn’t make out what they were saying and she wondered why they were trying so desperately to attract her attention, or at least that was what she thought they were trying to do.

And Lucy was right in her thinking: the crowd had been trying to attract her attention. They had been watching her going under the bridge when they saw the huge container falling directly towards her – and, at the same time, the surfboard was almost upon her: the crowd knew Lucy was in dire straits from not one, but two fronts. They also knew there was nothing else they could do but watch and hope Lucy’s luck held out. And they weren’t even aware of her dangerous dive of a few minutes earlier.

Lucy tried to see what the crowd were pointing at, but luckily for her she couldn’t, because she probably would have fainted had she seen what was coming her way – not just from behind her, but coming right down towards her head. But Lucy’s luck did continue. The container was extremely close to her when it hit the river between her and the watching crowd: a huge splash of water erupted high into the sky momentarily blocking out the crowd’s vision of Lucy, but the container had landed with such force the impact lifted Lucy clear out of the water. The crowd suddenly let out a gasp then began clapping when they disbelievingly saw Bessie appear to fly above the spray before falling back down again.

“Ooooh, I’m flying.” Lucy laughed as she flew through the air … then just as quickly Lucy felt herself falling back down, but not into the water, but onto the surfboard as it passed underneath her.

And as Lucy’s huge frame dropped right in the middle of the large surfboard the crowd could hardly believe their eyes because they had witnessed the impossible. First a cow that could swim – then one that could fly - and now there was the possibility of seeing a cow surf.



chapter twelve



At first Lucy thought the large board would collapse under her weight, but it soon proved to be an ideal size for her. Lucy had been extremely lucky with the surfboard. Originally the large board was only meant to be a wooden prop, but the owner, old man Murphy, a former surf board champion himself in his younger days, had insisted it had to be made good enough to surf on, but big enough for an elephant to ride on should the occasion eventuate.

“Pride and exposure,” he used to say, “Put pride in your product and expose it to the world and we’ll sell a million surfboards.”

Now Murphy hadn’t sold a million surfboards, but he had managed to make a good living from them, and everybody knew and loved the sign. And, of course, everybody believed the board would ride the waves as good as any modern day board, but nobody was too certain about how it would perform with an elephant on board - and now they wondered how it would cope with a cow on board

Now Lucy wasn’t as big as an elephant, but she was pleased that Mister Murphy had made it as big as he had because it was big enough for her to stand on comfortably, and the way she had landed had given the board a new momentum that caused it to skim across the water as if she was riding a huge wave at the beach. It also made her wobble a bit until she found her sea legs, but she quickly regained her balance and that gave her an idea. Lucy began experimenting, leaning left and right and left again like a professional surfboard rider and she soon had control of the board, and being up higher she now had a better view of things so she knew where to head for to be safe.

And before you knew it Lucy was managing to move right across the river using the speed of the river to manoeuvre her way between the floating boats and trees and flotsam that shared the river with her and for the first time since she had woken up and found herself in the river Lucy felt confident she would make it to shore … and safety.

But Lucy’s trip down the river was Lucy’s excursion of a lifetime and she should have known better than to think she could simply use the board to get out of the river and phone home: Lucy still had to deal with … but that’s still to come, so hang in there for a while Lucy enjoys the thrill of surfing.



chapter thirteen



Now one thing Lucy didn’t know - and certainly didn’t see because she was so busy, and happily, surfing and navigating, and, to be perfectly honest, despite all the danger that surrounded her, enjoying herself immensely, was that she was being followed by a helicopter. And what was more, in the co-pilot’s seat sat Annie Jones, the farmer’s wife, who had been picked up by a television station and was accompanying the station’s news reporter as they followed Lucy’s every move. And they were transmitting updates on Lucy’s movement to Farmer Jones as he drove the truck with the horse float as close to the river as he could as he waited for his chance to rescue her. Mind you, Farmer Jones had absolutely no idea how he was going to rescue Lucy, but rescue her he would.

Annie had turned the television set on the morning that Lucy had gone for her long swim and she had gotten the surprise of her life to see her very own Lucy floating down the Brisbane River. She immediately rang the television station and they sent a helicopter out to the farm to pick her up so she could follow Lucy’s exploits and help broadcast the strange phenomenon that was appearing on screens across the nation.

“Does she often go swimming?” Brenda Johnson asked. Brenda was the morning announcer on the television station whose helicopter had picked up Annie from the farm, and she was sitting in the back seat so she could be photographed when the camera wasn’t on Lucy.

“Sometimes, when she thinks I’m not watching,” Annie replied with a smile, “she sometimes likes to take a dip in our creek. Do you know, I sometimes think she thinks she’s in training for the Olympic Games or something.”

“What did your husband say when you told him? Was he excited?” Brenda asked in surprise.

“He didn’t believe me,” Annie laughed, “he fell on the floor laughing when I told him … but he’s not laughing now. Goodness me, will you look at her on that surfboard. You’d think she had been doing it for years – not for the past five or six minutes.”

“Yes,” Brenda admitted, “she is absolutely brilliant. I can’t believe that she picked it up so quickly. She’s incredible.”

Both women were totally mesmerised by the sight of a black and white cow from the bush calmly hanging five on a surfboard heading for the open sea.



chapter fourteen



Lucy could now easily see the gaps that existed between the many things that travelled down the river with her and the shore, but at the moment she still had a small problem. She could see lots of openings, but there was nowhere to land. Lucy was beside herself with frustration and she was so glad she was on a surfboard because she knew it would have been tiresome to keep on swimming or treading water and she wasn’t too sure how long she would have lasted … and she began to wonder how long she could keep on surfing before the river became too crowded for it to be safe.

And then, as if she didn’t already have enough things to worry about, she saw a fin swimming beside her. ‘Oh, my goodness,’ she thought, ‘is that a shark?’ And believing it was her knees began to turn to jelly and this made it a bit hard for her to manoeuvre the surfboard. And jelly knees were also nearly responsible for her falling off the board and into the jaws of the shark. The jaws of the great big, thirty foot long white pointer swimming right alongside her – waiting for her to fall off the board and into the water. The great big, hungry shark whose eyes were watching her and visualising the steak and cutlet dinner it was about to consume.

‘Oh, this is all too much,’ Lucy sighed, half in fear – half in frustration, ‘I just want to be home on the farm.’ Lucy was feeling extremely nervous, but she forced herself to calm down and regain her composure and her balance. And as she was calming herself down she suddenly realised there were now, not one, but six fins in the water – and they were surrounding her. ‘Oh Lord, I’m smorgasbord,’ she cried out aloud, ‘a living banquet for a pack of hungry sharks.’ A tear began forming in her eye as she had accepted the danger she was in, but Lucy was courageous. She had already faced many dangers on this strange journey fate had set for her and she had survived them all so far and she was determined she would overcome this obstacle as well.

Lucy shook her head and made the tear disappear as she began to look for the best way out of her predicament, but it still seemed totally impossible to make land anywhere, no matter how hard she looked – and as she looked around she kept one eye on the fins. Lucy was mentally preparing herself for any sudden moves the sharks might make – but she wasn’t ready for the voice that suddenly interrupted her concentration.



chapter fifteen



“I don’t believe it – a cow on a surfboard. Cool!” A male voice rang out from somewhere close enough to be heard over the roar of the flood.

Lucy got such a fright at the unexpected voice she almost fell off the board and barely regained her balance as she swung around to see where the voice was coming from - and this time she got the biggest surprise of her day. They were not man-eating sharks that were accompanying her … they were dolphins.

“You’re dolphins!” Lucy exclaimed with surprise.

“You’re spot on there, darling,” the dolphin said with a laugh, “Did you think we were sharks or something?”

“Yes.” Lucy replied feeling slightly embarrassed.

“Didn’t mean to give you a fright,” the dolphin, who now also felt embarrassed, apologised, “sorry about that.”

“That’s alright.” Lucy replied, too much in shock to know what else to say in the circumstances, “I didn’t know dolphins could talk.”

“Always been able to speak, love,” the dolphin replied with a laugh, “just never had much need to. I occasionally talk to a few pelicans and seagulls, oh yes, and then there is Migaloo and his friends when they migrate, but I must admit I’ve never spoken to a cow before. Don’t see many surfing along the coast.”

“That makes two of us.’ Lucy thought to herself, “What are you doing here in the river? I thought you only swam in the ocean.” she asked.

“No, we often swim in the rivers, but today we just come up for a squiz. Anyway, my name is Marty and this here is Harry, George, Roger and Alice.” As Marty introduced the other dolphins, each in turn flew up in the air, did a complete somersault, dived back in the water then swam quickly back up the surface right next to Lucy and said “G’day, Lucy” as soon as they resurfaced. But, as the five dolphins circled Lucy’s surfboard another voice rang out, “Oy!, what about me … am I invisible or something?” Lucy looked to where the voice was coming from and saw the biggest dolphin she had ever seen.

“Oh yeah, like as if ...,” Marty laughed, “this is Fatso. Real name is Rolando, Spanish I think, but we named him after a wombat we saw on the telly years ago. Looks like one, don’t you reckon?”

Fatso immediately emulated the moves the others had done, but landed with such a huge belly flop he threatened to knock Lucy off the board.



chapter sixteen



As soon as she regained her balance Lucy introduced herself. “Hi, guys,” she said with a huge smile, “My name is Lucy and this is my first time on a surfboard … and if I don’t find a way through all this rubbish very soon it might very well be my last.”

Lucy went on to explain how she had come to be on a surfboard in the first place, and while she was talking the dolphins continued to swim beside her, occasionally diving under the water, then resurfacing, flying up in the air, then back down again. They explained to Lucy it was just one of those things that dolphins had to do in the water, but to the crowd on the shore their display was just another amazing chapter in an equally amazing day. First they had seen a cow swimming in a flooded river – then they had seen the cow escape being banged on the head by a huge container only seconds before she had somehow jumped out of the water and landed on a surfboard which she proceeded to ride like a professional, and now they were being treated to an aquatic display by a small pod of dolphins that would give Sea World some stiff competition. ‘What an absolute marvellous day,’ the crowd thought collectively.

“Well, Lucy – you are a marvellous surfer, and you would hold your own surfing on either the north or south coast waves, but we can understand your problem, and we might just have the solution,” Marty said excitedly when Lucy had finished telling her story, “New Farm Park is just around the reach and the water has risen to a height several feet above ground level for quite a distance into the park which means you should be able to surf straight onto it.”

“Cool!” Lucy replied, a huge grin suddenly appearing on her face – then disappearing just as fast as she had a concerning thought, “But how do I get through all of this rubbish.”

“Leave that to us, “Marty replied, and with that all the dolphins suddenly spread out and headed towards the shore and soon disappeared out of sight. For several moments Lucy had no idea where any of them were –then suddenly, with a plop and a splash they were back.



chapter seventeen



“Righto, Lucy – get ready to get back on dry land and live amongst the kangaroos and emus,” Marty called out and Lucy grinned from ear to ear.

Lucy was absolutely smitten with the idea of escape from the raging, frightening river, but she wondered what the plan was, “What are we going to do?” she asked excitedly

“Here – catch this,” Marty called out and flicked a rope with his mouth and Lucy caught it the same way, “We’ve found a safe passage for you.” The rope had been folded in two and the middle part was what Marty had thrown. “Now hang on tight – we are going to tow you into shore then flick you across the park just before we run out of water deep enough for us to swim in.” Fatso and Harry each held an end of the rope in their mouths and the other dolphins, led by Marty, formed two lines in front of Lucy and her surfboard and each grabbed the rope with their teeth.

“Let’s go,” Marty called out and all six dolphins took off at a rate of knots across the crowded river as fast as they could with Lucy doing her best to hang on to the rope as hard as she could without her teeth cutting through it.

To the further amazement of the crowd who were moving along the shoreline as fast as they could in order to keep up with the action taking place on the river, Lucy and the dolphins zoomed across the water, weaving in and out of danger as they moved between caravans and containers and boats, and even a floating restaurant, until they were only a few feet from the shore – then suddenly Fatso and his two mates broke off to the left, while Harry and the other two dolphins turned to the right. Both teams let go of the rope in their mouths … and Lucy went straight ahead,

Lucy sped across the brown liquid, quickly realising she was no longer on the river, but on the water that had risen to cover the muddy, grass area that was the park. She imagined it to be like she was now skiing on snow: she found the sensation exhilarating, but it was to be short lived … the skiing came to an abrupt end as the water suddenly ran out and the surfboard keel dug itself into the soft mud. Without warning Lucy found herself unceremoniously skidding on all four legs on the mud, speeding without aim or direction until, two seconds later, Lucy crashed into a large bush that was covered in mud … and so was she.



chapter eighteen



Feeling slightly embarrassed, and slightly muddy, Lucy disentangled herself from the bush and shook some mud off her face … then as she tried to think how she was going to get back to the farm she got a shock, but it was a much more pleasant shock than those she had faced earlier in the day - with the exception of meeting the dolphins. Without any warning, Lucy suddenly found herself surrounded by a thousand noisy, happy well-wishers who were more than pleased to see she was safe and well.

The crowd were all laughing and smiling and talking ten to the dozen as they stroked her head and rubbed her back, congratulating her on a marvellous show on the river and telling her how pleased they all were that she had landed safely; albeit: a tad muddy, but most definitely safe.

Lucy wished she could talk to the humans like she spoke to the dolphins so she could thank them for their well wishes, but she couldn’t, so she just took all the rubbing and petting they offered in her stride, and never displayed any angst at the way her leather skin was beginning to feel it would be worn out shortly – then she suddenly got an idea.

As quickly, and safely, as she could Lucy disentangled herself from her horde of fans and began to make her way towards the surfboard. Sensing something was going to happen, the crowd immediately pulled back and allowed Lucy a clear path - and as soon as Lucy arrived at the surfboard she thumped one hoof down hard on the board where the keel was still stuck in the muddy ground. The force of her hoof caused the other end of the board to rise and it ended up standing upright.

Then Lucy did something no human being had ever seen a cow do – Lucy stood up on her hind legs and crossed them while at the same time she reached out with one of her front legs and wrapped it around the board, pulling it in close to her body and posed with, or for, anybody who wanted to take a picture. Within seconds hundreds of flashes lit up the area so brightly it was like a thousand light bulbs had been turned on at once as the majority of the crowd took the opportunity and began taking the photos of a lifetime.

Then Lucy heard the sound of a helicopter landing and before she knew it there was a television camera set up and a face she recognised from television appeared before her – and to Lucy’s absolute amazement Annie Jones was standing beside her.


chapter nineteen




“Oh. Lucy.” Annie cried out as she ran over and wrapped her arms so tightly around Lucy that she managed to knock Lucy off balance and they both fell down onto the muddy ground. When they managed to get themselves back on their feet again Annie was also covered in mud from head to foot and Lucy wasn’t much better.

At first the crowd didn’t realise why Annie had acted the way she did, but they couldn’t stop laughing at the sight of Annie and Lucy covered in mud as they slipped and skidded all over the place as they attempted to get up: the crowd weren’t too sure, but after what they had seen today they thought it might be an act that the two had set up.

Annie and Lucy finally regained their footing and even took a bow when the crowd started clapping. Annie didn’t know why the crowd were clapping, but she took in good humour: Annie was so happy to have Lucy back she even joined in the laughter once she realized how messy she looked as she gave Lucy, who was now back on all fours, another cuddle and a kiss on the bridge of her nose and of course, this time, they didn’t fall over.

The television reporter arrived just then with her crew and Annie, standing beside Lucy, gave the interview she had promised when she had been picked up by the helicopter. She spoke about the many funny things that Lucy used to do when she thought no one was looking, and how she went to sleep with both her i-pod and her i-pad turned on and the crowd listened with awe at the tales Annie told.

Then, to everybody’s surprise Annie mentioned one more thing that Lucy could do and when the crowd realised Lucy could sign her name with a large marking pen held in her mouth it was an hour and a half before Lucy had provided her autograph to every single person in the huge crowd. Annie was glad when the last of the crowd had left to go home, but perhaps Annie would not be quite as happy if she knew she was being televised in all her muddy glory and she was appearing on television stations across the entire country, but I don’t think she would care too much. Lucy was safe and that was all she needed to know.

And at same time as the last of the crowd began leaving the park, Farmer Jones finally found a parking spot and then went off searching in the park for his family. Eventually he found Annie and Lucy talking to the news reporter, but as he got closer to then he broke into uproarious laughter at the sight of them covered in mud and he was still laughing all the way to the truck, and he probably would have laughed all the way home had not Annie scooped up a handful of mud and rubbed it all over his face. “Now we all look the same … so no more laughing.” Annie said quietly.

Farmer Jones wiped some mud off his face and sulked all the way home, but he never laughed once.

And Lucy … well she just stood in the horse float as they drove back to the farm and let her mind wander back over the most adventurous day of her life.




chapter twenty


Lucy is back home on the farm now, safe and dry, but everyday Mrs. Jones brings along the laptop, along with a chair and a pot of tea, and they spend a pleasant hour or so watching one of the hundreds of uploads of Lucy’s adventures on You Tube or the D.V.D. the television station had given them.

And every afternoon Lucy would look, still disbelievingly, at the glass enclosed notice board that Farmer Jones had made especially for her where she could see on display a variety of magazine covers - all with her photo on the cover. ‘International Surfing’, ‘Australian Surfing World’ and dozens of newspaper headings from around the world, were all there, as well as every major Australian women’s and teenage magazine. Lucy had certainly had her fifteen minutes of fame.

And now and then, when the moon was full and the tide was high the dolphins would turn up in the creek and Lucy would go for a swim with them and they would reminisce about the day they met in the dirty, swollen river. Marty and the other dolphins became great friends with Lucy over the years, very, very good friends. And the crowd who had witnessed the dolphins help Lucy would have gone berserk should they have seen how Lucy and the dolphins played together. The dolphins would put on an aquatic display so elaborate they could have starred in Cirque De Soleil … and when Lucy joined in it was hilarious, especially after Fatso taught her how to do his famous bellyflop. Nobody in this world would have ever believed it, but Lucy actually learnt how to swim fast – then jump out of the water just like the dolphins. Of course she couldn’t go quite as high as Fatso, but as Fatso was completing his twists in the air she began to swim as fast as she could towards him – then jump as high as she could and their timing was perfect. They would both land at the same time and made a splash so huge it rose nearly ten feet up in the air and the wash would travel toward the bank and over it, scaring the life out of the ducks and geese who used to come down to the edge of the creek to watch Lucy and her friends play in the water.

As for the surfboard, it is now back hanging on the river’s edge behind Murphy’s Surfboards as it had been for years before the flood, but it now has a sign hanging from it which says ‘As ridden by Lucy the cow during the great flood of 2011. Lucy, the coolest cow in the world … and one of Brisbane’s finest.’

And every night before going to bed, Farmer Jones would look out of his window at Lucy lying on the soft green grass listening to her i-pod while watching reality shows on her i-pad and shake his head in disbelief … before heading off to bed mumbling under his breath … “Cows can’t swim … I tell you … cows can’t swim …”











Other draw-it-yourself stories from Big Fat Stubby Finger Publications


Bessie the Stradbroke Flyer

William’s Big Day Out

Mandy the Martian Backpacker at Willy Wonkum’s Magic Zoo













This version is here to allow you to read the storyline by itself without being distracted by the illustrations that would normally disrupt the flow of the story, and let you understand the imagination that is going to be required to draw illustrations to compliment and enhance the story.

Remember this book requires you to DRAW the illustrations ... but it does not attempt to try to teach you how to draw it.  You're completely on your own in that part of the farm.


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