Are the cows of North Bali so attractive that their beauty outshines the charms of local maidens? Or is it something in the water?
In any case, front-page news in several Bali newspapers carries the shocking revelation that a 33 year-old farmer, I Made Widiana, from Kebutambahan on Bali's north shore, has been caught in flagrante delicto with a local cow on October 13, 2009, just as Bali began its Galungan celebrations marking the victory of good over evil.
Although Widiana's unnatural act was witnessed by a neighbour, it was the perpetrator himself who admitted his act to local community leaders. Freely admitting that he had sinned and put him community at risk by defying the natural order of things, Widiana claims in mitigation that the cow cast some sort of spell over him causing him to see a beautiful woman instead of a cow. It was only when his neighbour scolded him for his behaviour, that he awoke from his smitten stupor and became aware of his act.
Widiana, married and the father of four, must now wait for a meeting of village elders to be convened and a course of action laid out that will restore order to the cosmos which is now off-kilter because of his transgression.
This is second time such an incident has occurred in that otherwise quiet corner of Bali. On August 17, 2008, a 70 year-old man, Sutarya, who lives only a few kilometers from Widiana, committed a similar act that demanded elaborate ritual cleansing and the sacrificial drowning of the pregnant cow in the nearby ocean.
Both Widiana and his "contented" cow await the decision of local religious leaders as to what must be done to restore good order to the Universe.