The Young Bull

Somewhere deep inside Spain’s green breasts, there was a young bull with one foot in adulthood. This young bull had a back as a mountain, and a rack of horns like arms stretched out, and he would trot around the grassy knolls. The Spanish sun would bounce off of his black coat. With a coat black like a squid’s ink, he’d swing his horns because it felt good to him. For the same reason, he would run directly at the other, much smaller, bulls. Through a snout as a locomotive’s smokestack, he’d snarl snot and hot air toward anyone’s direction.

It felt good for him to do this and he didn’t know why. Nonetheless, it felt right so he did these things.

Scars on his shoulders were as switchbacks up his black mountain of flesh. His horns were strong, sharp, and extraordinarily large. The weight of them would have folded any of the other cattle in the pasture, and everyone knew that. His hooves sounded like explosions when he would run at his full speed. A black mass of power, sprinting with the sound of thunder. The young bull was nothing if not intimidating.

The young bull did not mean to intimidate, or to scare, he was just doing the things that came naturally to him. He did the things he wanted to do.

All of the other cattle, heifers and bulls alike, feared him. They knew that his heart was not evil, as it was not. Instead, they feared if he lost control of himself. The others feared that one day he’d stop his charge too late, or swing his horns too close, or snort too loudly, and end up goring someone to death. Because of this fear, the other cattle began to hide themselves from the young bull, and plot to have him sold away.

The cattle met with their rancher one day and asked that the young bull be sold to a far away pasture. They presented half truths and sold the rancher a propaganda of sorts. Knowing only what he was told, and what he had seen from far away, he decided to sell the young bull to another rancher that raised bulls for the ring. While the rancher did not hate the bull, he did not want the rest of his flock to hate him. It was with a conflicted heart that the rancher sold him.

Shortly after, the young bull was shipped away to a farm just outside of Barcelona. He watched the countryside get slowly eaten by the rocky coast from the trailer as it took him to his new home. The young bull wished he didn’t have to leave his home, but more than that he wished he could swing his horns, stamp his feet, and snort his snout freely.

His new home sat alongside the rocks of the coast where the skies were gray. It was there, and right along the coast, that he was befriended by his new family of “Toros de Lidia.” He’d find mountainous shoulders and outstretched horns that looked like his own. Scars would be found in the same places on his new farm mates. He liked them because they liked him and they liked him because he reminded them of themselves. Together, they all liked to swing their horns, and stamp their feet, and snort from their snouts loudly.

Underneath the overcast coastal skies, the bulls would spar each other. They’d practice taking passes at trees they had painted to resemble matadors. Sometimes they’d pretend to be picadors and circle each other. No one was scared, and they all loved to fight. It felt good to do these things and they all felt that way.

The young bull sparred everyday, and soon he became the best fighter there. He could run the fastest, swing his horns the hardest, and snort the loudest. All the other bulls started to look up to the young bull, although they knew his fate.

“You shouldn’t practice so hard young bull,” The older bulls would warn him.

“I can’t help it, it doesn’t feel right to do anything else.” The young bull would always counter.

“They are going to send you to the ring mijo.” The older bulls knew this to be true, and began to fear the young bull. Because of this fear, the older bulls began to distance themselves from the young bull, and hoped for him to be taken away.

It wasn’t long until the people in the town would go to the farm by the coast to watch the young bull spar. They would get very excited when the young bull would make a pass at the painted trees, or dodge the pseudo picadors, or snort loudly. Before long, people began to campaign to see him fight in the ring.

The day came, and the young bull was marched to the ring with five other strong bulls. He watched as all the other bulls were killed before him, and the young bull was not afraid. It felt good to the young bull to fight, and he was looking forward to doing so.

Like electricity, the crowd fluxed with energy when the young bull’s black mass galloped into the ring. He cocked his head back and snarled from his snout. It felt very good for the young bull to do that. Swinging his horns from side to side, he danced around the picadors and their horses evading their spears.

With a loud crack, and ice cold pain, one picador stuck the young bull in his black shoulders. The young bull snarled and spun around. Timing the second pass just right, the young bull plunged his right horn into the horse’s belly. Once the horn exited the horse, it had disemboweled the animal completely. Intestines like a crown sat on the young bull’s head. It felt good to the bull to wear that beast’s innards.

The crowd was horrified, and they began to fear the bull. Because of this fear, the crowd to separate themselves from the young bull and hoped for him to be killed quickly.
The other picadors began to ruthlessly work the bull, and before long the bull looked like a bloody porcupine. His heavy horns fell below his shoulder blades, and the matador walked into the ring. With brown eyes, they met each other’s gaze. A snarl left his snout, not because he was angry, but because it felt good for him to snarl from his snout. They stared at each other as the dead horse was pulled out of the ring.

Waving a red muleta, the matador went to work on the bull. The young bull charged at the cape swinging his horns and stamping his feet. It felt good to attack the matador. Blood mixed with the sand and the young bull’s mouth felt very dry.

With his head hanging low, the young bull squared up on the matador and charged at him. The matador lost his footing, and the bull plunged his right horn towards the matador’s belly. This time, the matador was quicker than the dead horse was and skipped around the horns. Getting back to his feet, the matador began to fear the young bull. Because of this fear, he prepared to finish off the young bull.

It felt good to fight in the ring, but the bull was getting tired of doing so.

After another small dance between the matador and the young bull, the matador plunged his silver saber into the bull’s heart through his giant shoulders. The bull walked a few paces before falling dead into the sand. The sand felt good to the bull as he lay there and bled out.

The crowd cheered very loud because the young bull had killed a horse, and they hated him for it.

As the young bull struggled in the sand and bled out, he looked up to the crowd and asked them, “Why do you hate me?”

No one but the matador heard him, so the matador responded, “They hate you because they fear you.”

“Why do they fear me? All I ever did was act in a way that was natural to me.” He stopped to catch his breath, as he did not have many left. “I fought because I am a bull, and that’s what we do. That’s what we were made to do.”

“And you fought well.” The matador said with an accent of compassion. Even though he had stuck the bull, it did not mean the matador hated the bull. Instead, just like everyone else, he feared him.

Then, in the blood soaked sand, it felt good for the young bull to close his eyes. So he did and he died there in the ring and under a Spanish sky.

-tl Schaefer

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