POUCH COVE, N.L. — It is the stuff of children's books: A small herd of hungry cows delighted Newfoundland school kids this week, escaping their pen to munch on a nearby school's green grass.
Kelly Pinsent, principal of Cape St. Francis Elementary in Pouch Cove, N.L., said the cows arrived just as the school was getting ready to unload the buses Wednesday morning.
"They showed up almost as if they were coming to school with the students ... The kids were very excited," Pinsent said. "There was one looking right in my office window at one point."
Pouch Cove, which has a population of approximately 2,000, is about 25 kilometres north of St. John's on the Avalon Peninsula.
The cows' yellow-grass field borders the school's playground, but their escape hatch came more than a kilometre down the road, where a fence post had broken.
They quickly made their way to the 236-student school, as if on a mission.
"Our grass is greener. That's what it is. We have fresh grass growing quicker than it is on their field," said Pinsent. "They knew where to go."
Pinsent said she called the mayor, who called the farmer.
In the meantime, she and other school staff tried to herd the cows away from the school entrance as they emptied buses one by one.
"We just sort of shooed them toward the fence. They complied, and then they came back again," she said.
She had a riding crop in her car, so she waved it around until they moved away for good.
"Not that we were really concerned about safety. You know, they were cows," she said, adding they were more worried about children becoming nervous than any physical danger.
The farmer came and collected the cows within an hour, and the school went back to teaching.
They asked the children to write stories starting with "If you bring a cow to school," in the style of the 1985 book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Numeroff.
They also tweeted some photos of the visit on Twitter. Three curious but docile cows could be seen standing by the school and peering through the front door.
"Hi Minister Kirby," the school tweeted, referring to Education Minister Dale Kirby.
"We have new students who arrived at our school. It puts our population over capacity. Can you assist us with a bovine allocation. We have absolutely no clue as to whose class they should go in."