Hey-Diddle, A Fiddle And A Moon-Jumping Cow? NPR Moos Investigates For Cow Week, NPR's Wade Goodwyn blows the lid off of a children's nursery rhyme. He talks to Modern Farmer correspondent Tyler LeBlanc about whether a cow could jump over the moon.

Hey-Diddle, A Fiddle And A Moon-Jumping Cow? NPR Moos Investigates

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Move over, Shark Week - Modern Farmer magazine is celebrating Cow Week. And from the cutting edge of bovine journalism, we bring you an expose of sorts. We've all heard the nursery rhyme hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such sport and the dish ran away with the spoon.

Modern Farmer's been good enough to look into the bovine portion of the rhyme and Tyler Leblanc has written a piece looking into whether or not a cow jumping over the moon is as ridiculous as it sounds. Welcome, Tyler.

TYLER LEBLANC, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

GOODWYN: Tyler, I guess it's silly for me to ask whether cows could jump.

LEBLANC: It's not a silly question. When I first thought about it, I kind of just assumed cows couldn't jump at all. I don't know why, just probably because of their size. But strangely enough, they can jump. There's one incident I found from some English newspaper where a cow apparently jumped about six feet up onto the roof of a barn.

GOODWYN: Most of our older and better-educated listeners know that chimpanzees preceded even humans into space and by all accounts did well. What about cows?

LEBLANC: I guess not unsurprisingly, they've never sent up a cow.

GOODWYN: Could they?

LEBLANC: They could. They have sent a few animals to the moon. The Russians were the first to do it. And they sent a - they called it a biological payload - and you can put air quotes around that I guess. It had turtles and worms and stuff inside of it. And they sent it around the moon. Unfortunately, they all kind of burnt up on reentry. But it's not hard to think that you could put a cow in there and send it to the moon if you wanted to.

GOODWYN: And what do you think of that proposition? Are you in favor?

LEBLANC: I can't say I'm in favor.

GOODWYN: Because the cow would burn up when it came back?

LEBLANC: Yeah it'd be space barbecue, I guess.

GOODWYN: You probably don't know this, but during my career as an NPR reporter, I've tried to make cows my audio trademark and put them in as many stories is as feasibly possible.

Like my very latest one, for example.


GOODWYN: (Cows mooing) Hal breeds 400 Angus cows...

GOODWYN: Do you think this is a smart or a dumb career move on my part, to equate myself with cow audio?

LEBLANC: (Laughter). I don't think it's a dumb move to position yourself on the barn animal side of journalism; I think you're doing the right thing.

GOODWYN: Great because you know, that's kind of my - I would say - becoming a brand for me. Tyler Leblanc, writer at Modern Farmer magazine. Thanks so much, Tyler.

LEBLANC: Thanks for having me.

GOODWYN: Next week, the dish and the spoon - do mixed marriages really work long-term?

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