Gideon was woken up from his nap in a rather strange place. The air was dusty and filled with strong smells and unfamiliar noises. Noises he had only heard before in a dream or in some retelling of a fairy tale from the books his father read to him at bed time.

He’d been asleep in the car. And now, hesitantly he followed his sisters out of the car, down a rough pathway of stones, and through the massive doorway of a wooden cathedral. Light and dust danced together in the rafters high above. Dirt and hay scattered like fine exotic carpets at his feet. He was surrounded by the musty smell of incense and mystery. Hidden angels sang to him in warm, sweet tones. They poured their voices like oil upon his head. He spun in a slow circle, eyes wide, mouth wide, heart wide and bursting. The word “Barn” formed in his mind like an ancient jewel locking into place on a stone altar.

He was lost in this wandering state of awe when the voice broke through and shattered his serenity. It was a great echoing voice. The voice of a waking god. A bellow that rattled around so much larger than the room. Bursting the seams of wood and frightening the dust into deeper corners. It was so large a voice that it made everything suddenly feel ten times smaller. Like the roof had collapsed. The rafters and angels crashing to the floor around him. The apocalypse had come with the sound of a gong, with the explosion of a mighty “Moooooo!”.

The boy stumbled and gasped. He knew this sound. He knew this place. But he now realized the truth. All of the fairy tales. All of the fantastic creatures in the magical world of farms and farmers. They were all true. They were real, and they spoke with a voice larger than that of his father’s. There were bigger things in the universe than himself. There were larger things than his mom and dad with their weak simulation of this monstrous living voice. There were larger things. And he was here, now, standing in the mercy of their domain. Very small. Very still.  And very fragile.

“But if fairy tales are true,” considered the boy. “If cows are real, and if their words are so much more powerful than I had even first imagined…” his thoughts trailed off, like the mile long tail on the back of the dragon that swept quickly through his mind with a frightening jaw full of smoke.