I’VE KNOWN A few very cagey farmers in my day. So when a couple of friends sent me the following stories, I knew I wanted to share them with you. It is especially funny when a smart, well-educated city slicker tries to outwit a crafty farmer.

Scott Soder told the story of Curtis and Leroy, a pair of enterprising farmers who saw an ad in the Starkville, Miss., Daily and bought a mule for $100. The owner agreed to deliver the mule the next day. The next morning, the owner drove up and said “Sorry, fellows, I have some bad news; the mule died last night.”

Curtis and Leroy replied “Well then, just give us our money back.”

The fella said “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”

They said “OK then, just bring us the dead mule.” The owner asked “What in the world ya’ll gonna do with a dead mule?”

Curtis chimed in “We gonna raffle him off.”

The owner said “You can’t raffle off a dead mule.” 

Leroy said “We sure can. Heck, we don’t hafta tell nobody he’s dead.”

A couple of weeks later, the former mule owner ran into Curtis and Leroy at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store and asked “What’d you fellers ever do with that dead mule?”

They said “We raffled him off like we said we wuz gonna do.” Leroy said “Shucks, we sold 500 tickets fer $2 apiece and made a profit of $998.”

The owner said “My Lord, didn’t anyone complain?”

Curtis replied “Well, the feller who won got upset when he found out the mule was dead. So we gave him his $2 back.”

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THEN, THERE’S this story from my files. 

One morning when he went out to milk, a farmer found one of his prized cows was missing. He searched the entire neighborhood, but couldn’t find her.

Later that day, the heart-broken farmer went into town and paid to have an announcement read over the radio, offering a $50 reward for information on the missing cow.

After two weeks with no word, the farmer gave up any hope. One morning at breakfast, his wife told him “We not only lost the cow, but you wasted the money to have the reward offered on the radio.”

Just then, the phone rang. A voice asked “Are you still offering $50 for information about the missing cow?”

“Yes, yes,” the farmer said.

The voice said “Well, I finally have some information for you. The meat is real tough.”

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ARNIE DELUCA passed along this story about the duck hunting lawyer and a farmer.

The big city lawyer went duck hunting in rural north Wairarapa, New Zealand. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer’s field on the other side of a fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.

The litigator responded “I shot a duck and it fell in this field. And now, I’m going to retrieve it.”

The old farmer replied “This is my property and you are not coming over here.” 

The indignant lawyer said “I am one of the best trial attorneys in New Zealand and if you don’t let me get that duck, I’ll sue you and take everything you own.”

The old farmer smiled and said “Apparently, you don’t know how we settle disputes in north Wairarapa. We settle small disagreements like this with the ‘Three Kick Rule.’ ”

The lawyer asked “What is the Three Kick Rule?”

The farmer replied “Well, because the dispute occurs on my land, I get to go first. I kick you three times and then, you kick me three times and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up.”

The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom. The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the attorney. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy, steel-toed work boot into the lawyer’s groin and dropped him to his knees.

His second kick to the midriff sent the lawyer’s last meal gushing from his mouth. The lawyer was on all fours when the farmer’s third kick to his rear end sent him face first into a fresh cow pie.

The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and remaining strength, and very slowly, managed to get to his feet. Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket he said “OK you old son of a gun; now, it’s my turn.”

The old farmer smiled and said “Nah, I give up. You can have the duck.”

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ONE OF the most important traits we want our children to learn is that persistence is a key ingredient of success. We urge our children to never give up and try, try again.

As a result, we know a lot of children that have learned the lesson too well. They know three “no” might mean a “yes.” If they persist, they know their parents will eventually give in to their demands.

People with pets know that even a pet dog can get its way simply by being persistent. The dog knows that if it whines long enough, he’ll get a table scrap or be let outdoors.

Never underestimate the power of persistence.