The unlikely focus of one of Cornwall’s lesser known legends, is that of Rosy the cow. Rosy was famed throughout Cornwall for producing the most delicious milk, and giving twice as much than any other.
Even though Rosy gave plentiful amounts, Rosy refused to give all the milk she had, leaving the creamiest in her udder. Anyone who tried to empty her entirely would receive a swift kick from the animal.
The mystery of why Rosy saved the last drops of her milk was understood late one mid-summer night. Rosy’s milkmaid arrived home late, causing her to begin milking Rosy later than usual. Soon the task was complete – the cow’s udders were empty apart from the last few creamy drops, so the milkmaid turned to walk back to the farmhouse with her buckets full. When the milkmaid glanced back at Rosy to wish her goodnight, what she witnessed caused her jaw to drop. Hundreds of faeries and little people had surrounded Rosy, tickling her fluffy ears, feeding her grass, and treating her kindly. In return Rosy allowed each of the little faeries to drink the creamiest of milk from her udder. Some drank directly from the teat, while other flitted back and forth, using bluebells and buttercups as vessels to collect the sweet liquid.
Suddenly the farmer’s wife called to the milkmaid, startling the mystical being and causing them to flee. The milkmaid rushed to tell the farmer’s wife what she saw, but instead of being amazed the greedy farmer’s wife was jealous of the little people receiving the best milk – she wanted it for herself.
The wife asked for help from a local witch who advised that salted water would scare the faeries away. But the witch also warned that is would not be wise to disrespect the little people of Cornwall. The farmer’s wife ignored the witches warning, and scattered salt water across the farm.
The results were disastrous – Rosy gave no more milk, none at all. She eventually escaped from the farm and went wild. All the other animals grew sickly and thin, and the crops failed year after year. This bad luck continued for the farmer’s son, and his son’s son, until the poor family were forced to sell their land.
A reminder to all that disrespecting the legendary folk of Cornwall can have terrible consequences.