The Airdale and the Bull

I'll never forget my grandmother, June, telling me this story. It happed to her when she was a girl of 8.

First she told me about the neighbor's bull.  It was owned by Joseph Mendenhall, her future husband's mother's father, a neighbor who lived next door. The bull was hornless, a gentle giant docile to the point of being tame. Nobody paid it any attention; they had often passed through its field to get to the road beyond.

One day June and her older sister, Effie, were bringing in corn from the field. They were driving a team of horses and pulling a heavily loaded buckboard wagon. When they passed through the field with the bull he came up to the wagon and tried to snatch some corn. Effie tapped him with the horsewhip and he gave a little snort, running off up ahead.

They came to a tree further on behind which stood the bull, who had been hiding and sulking. He emerged from behind the tree bellowing, and charged the wagon, crashing into it. He did this not once, but time and time again. As heavily loaded as it was, the wagon shuddered and tilted when he pushed his head underneath it. They were terrified he would tip it over. Then he began to attack the horses, lifting them off their feet and throwing them one against the other. My grandmother could still hear in her mind the horses grunt as he did this. Effie kept yelling and beating at him with the whip, but to no avail. They knew they weren't in yelling distance of anyone.  My grandmother said that at that point things looked hopeless.

But the neighbor who owned the bull also owned a dog. Bruno was his name and he was part Airdale. He had heard the screams for help and come running. He ripped into that field after the bull.  To defend itself the bull turned away from the wagon. Grasping the opportunity, Effie urged the horses into a gallop. Each time the bull tried to follow them Bruno was there, barking and snapping at its nose and tail.

They made it home safely thanks to Bruno, the neighbor's dog. But no one ever trusted that bull again.