The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea
By Tony Johnston
Illustrated by Warren Ludwig
Farethee Well is the heiress to a great amount of land and longhorn cattle in Texas. Her father is dying and he wants to make sure she marries a real cowboy, not just someone who wants to marry her for her wealth. She creates a test—a way to make sure that she will find a real cowboy. She decides to put a black-eyed pea underneath the saddle blanket of any man who claims to be a cowboy. She knows that a black-eyed pea underneath a saddle blanket would bother a real cowboy, but others wouldn’t even know it was there.
Fake cowboy after fake cowboy pine for her love and her longhorns. She puts a black-eyed pea under each saddle blanket, but it doesn’t affect any of them. One evening during a storm, a stranger knocks on her door and wants to come out of the rain. She lets him in, but she asks him to go check on her longhorns. He keeps coming back saying that he is so uncomfortable.
Farethee Well keeps putting saddle blanket after saddle blanket on, but he is still uncomfortable because of the black-eyed pea. She has found her real cowboy and love of her life.
What makes the telling unique:
I really like how it’s the girl looking for a man. The cowboy western setting makes the story have a unique cadence to it. And of course, the black-eyed pea instead of the regular green pea is a different twist. This is a fun modern retelling with many changes, but still the familiarity from the original storyline.