The tinkling of cowbells echoed across the peaceful Frisian countryside. Dusk had fallen, and the summer air was heavy with the smell of drying hay. Insects hummed in the thickets between the fields, and an occasional locust trembled his shrill music.
Two black Frisian cattle ambled contentedly across the lush pasture field only a mile outside Leeuwarden. Now and then they paused, lowered their heads, reached out long tongues, and pulled off mouthfuls of grass. One cow raised her head, ears forward, as the lowing of a cow from a neighboring farm drifted on the wind. She answered, a long drawn-out moo that startled all the frogs in a nearby pool to stillness.
The cows walked on, and the bells hanging from their necks tinkled a fine melody of peace and plenty.
The harsh noises of the city fell softly upon the field muffled by the distance. Then came the deep, deep tones of the tower bell in the cathedral, proclaiming the hour of nine. "Ding-donggg-dongggg-donggggg," the low tones of the massive bell reverberated in the night air, mingling with the light ting-a-ling of the cowbells near at hand.
For a moment there was a light at the edge of the pasture field, then it disappeared. One cow turned to look, alert to anything unusual. Seconds later the light was on again, then out once more. Footsteps drew near and the cows began to amble off, slowly.
"Oh, what is it?" came a girl's voice.
"Cows," answered a second voice. "Nothing to be alarmed about."
A man spoke softly, "Only a little farther now. At the far end of the field, between the two thickets. That is where we are to meet tonight."