My friend Alberto, star student of my English Conversation Group in Montebello, has abandoned us for the summer to tend cows in Alpine pastures. We were all missing him, so Sandra, a local friend and I, went to pay him a visit in the Dolomites. He had turned into a walnut. We were greeted enthusiastically and told to follow him whilst he went to look for his missing herd. He shot up the steep path like a mountain goat, telling us at the same time about some stupid hikers who had startled one of his cows. The poor creature tumbled off the track and finally became lodged behind a boulder, breaking its legs. Alberto sat with its head on his knee waiting for help. Meanwhile, the owner refused to let them put the cow out of its misery. The meat was worth too much, and could only be used if the cow was slaughtered officially. They had to roll the cow alive down the mountainside for hundreds of feet to the nearest road where a butcher would collect it.
Poor Alberto was in tears just telling the story.
“Cows are only human,” he explained.