Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Artfully Honest Beasts

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Artfully Honest Beasts

Article excerpt

The cows in the delightful and beautifully crafted English 20th- century wood engraving on Page 16 are not called Daisy. They are numbers: 17, 26.

They are livestock. Indeed, it is a question why any cow would be called Daisy. It seems an entirely inappropriate name for a cow, though in children's books all cows are called Daisy. Or Buttercup. Or Clover. Why? Daisies and buttercups are fresh, perky, small, and delicate in a sturdy kind of way. And they are wistfully clean.

Cows, realistically, are none of these things. They are not much like flowers of any persuasion, though there is one kind of thyme nicknamed "herba barone" or some such thing, because it reminded someone, aroma-wise, of a (can you believe it?) baron of roast beef. And there is an orchid that attracts fertilizing insects (flies) by assuming the stench of old meat. But I digress disgustingly. The point is that anyone whose garden has been invaded by cows will not connect them with the loveliness of flowers. …

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