We have earlier reported on the commotion at the Cork Tree regarding the modernizations of the cattle pens, where one of the current residents, a bull going by Ferdinand, has been conducting something of a non-violence protest - in fact, he hasn't done anything at all, including moving. We finally got past the blockade to speak to him directly.
"I understand if people want to get on with their lives," said Ferdinand, on the subject of the other cattle having left already. "It's nice to have company, but I'd rather sit here under my tree and smell the flowers alone, than listen to them talk loud and proud to each other about "not wanting to be helped"."
When we asked him what he thought of the complaints made against him, he said: "Before they wanted to make a tourist spot of this precise tree, people sighed and shook their heads and thought I was peculiar but cute, but now that they do, they sigh and shake their heads and say I am difficult and have social phobias and discuss motivational therapy or tow trucks to move me to an institution where they have painted flowers on the walls and sprayed perfume in the air. They say I cannot pay my rent by sitting under a tree smelling flowers, and cork trees are in high demand recently. But I don't think I bother anyone, really. It's not like I'm one of the new bred bulls that talk about depressing things and threaten with going to the slaughter house as soon as someone wants to leave. People actually listen to them. They just make me tired."
We asked how long he planned to continue his protest and what his actual goal was, but he did not seem to be aware of there being a protest going on anywhere, and said he didn't have any goals with his life and that seemed to be what upset people.
Footnote: A week after this interview was conducted, the flowers at the cork tree were dug up to make room for benches and a brand new water supplying system. Expressing a wish for keeping at least one flower, Ferdinand was taken away for obstruction of progress. We have not yet been able to reach him about a comment on this, but a spokesperson for Progress expressed assurances that he was "in a better place".
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