I Had a Brindled Cow

I had a brindled cow, sheltered in the byre. What became of the brindled cow? I traded her for money. What became of the money? The river swept it away. What became of the river? Black bulls lapped it up. What became of the black bulls? They vanished down a long road. What became of the road? It was overgrown by madder. What became of the madder? Maidens picked the yellow flowers. What became of the maidens? They rode away with young men. What became of the men? They built manors beyond the hills. What became of the manors? They all went up in blue flames. What became of the blue flames? They dwindled down to ashes. What became of the pile of ashes? A black hen raked the ashes. What became of the black hen? A hawk carried her off. What became of the hawk? He vanished over green birches. What became of the groves of birch? The sons of God cleared the land. What became of the sons of God? They climbed up into the sky, strumming strings, drumming drums. What are they doing in the sky? They sit behind a table writing: who shall die, who shall live on the earth beneath the sun.