Born of the Sea

Poseidon cracked open the sea bed and pulled a bull red as the sun from the hot rock within. No finer animal had even been seen — no more shining coat, no broader back, no prouder head, no heavier horn. The sealord looked upon his creation and fingered his weighty trident and was glad. “It’s a fine wan ye are,” quotha.

“Pchoo, you,” said the bull, and blew bubbles from his nose. “I bet you say that to all the beeves.”

When he came stamping out of the water, with his back all thickgrown with seaweed and barnacles and mussels, it was a week’s labor and more to get the bull clean again. The king and the queen came down to watch the work, not without some trepidation.

“He’s a big fellow but he reeks of fish,” remarked the queen.

“I’m just as the god made me, ma’am,” said the bull. “I can’t be any better or worse than I am.”

The king frowned. “It’s an impudent thing ye are, for all that it’s your own death that’s waiting for ye.”

“Ah, well, now. As to that,” said the bull, and smiled a secret bullish smile. “I know something you don’t know.”