oh, not your everyday circumstancethe elephant sharing peanuts with the rats
The first time The Farmer saw Hailey, he had every intention of shooting her.
Farmers were allowed the privilege of shooting Jollin that trespassed onto their properties; Jollin often stole chickens, sometimes they'd kill new lambs, and farmers had every right to protect their livestock. The Farmer had watched Hailey slowly make her way towards the chicken coop from the kitchen window. He'd gone and grabbed his gun and had silently gone out back, tracking her movement. He roostered the rifle as she approached the coop.
One ... two ... three ... and he watched as Hailey bypassed the coop altogether, not even turning her head when the chickens squawked in alarm. The rifle lowered as he watched Hailey approach the small crop of blueberry bushes that he kept. He nearly dropped the gun as he saw the Jollin delicately begin to pull the blueberries off with her teeth. He shook his head as he walked back inside. A Jollin. Eating blueberries. Must be getting senile in his old age, he decided.
His wife said that they should name her Hailey; she had a bit of a liking toward Jollin, and, as she pointed out, she really wasn't doing much harm. Women. The Jollin - well, Hailey - hung around for months, picking blueberries, grapes, peaches, even the apples that fell from the trees. Technically she was stealing his crop but The Farmer couldn't find it in his heart to shoot her. Hailey became bolder; one day, tending to an apple tree, he turned around and not a metre away sat Hailey, watching him curiously. He shrugged and went back to pruning. His wife later admitted she'd been leaving out fruit especially for Hailey, which probably accounted for her familiarity and friendliness. The Farmer merely grunted. Though he would never admit it, he quite liked the company Hailey provided whenever he was out tending to his crops.
Neither he nor his wife had any inclination of making Hailey a pet; it was well known that Jollin couldn't be kept as pets, no matter what the crazy couple up at Veta Lake were doing. Hailey definitely wasn't a pet, but she wasn't 'full wild', as his wife put it, either. She'd often disappear for months but she'd always come back, and her timing was always impeccable. When The Farmer's wife passed away, moving through his house in a state of hazy, numbed grief, he opened the back door to find Hailey sitting there. Hailey had never shown any sign of ever wanting to be confined in the house, but as he dumbly stood with the door wide open, she brushed past him and walked right in. That night she slept curled at the foot of his bed, but after that, she never came in again.
The Farmer cops a lot of flak; friends tease him for keeping a pest as a pet, but he ignores them because 'she ain't a pet.' Each year he drives down to Delphi with his load of fruit for the Summer Markets, and each year Hailey accompanies him. The first time he almost jumped out of his skin, getting into his truck and finding a Jollin sitting in the passenger seat, who merely looked pointedly at him, then at the road. He opened his mouth to shoo her out, but thought better of it, turned the ignition, and drove.
Every summer, if you visit the Delphi Summer Markets, you'll find a man and his Jollin sitting at a stall laden with fruit. It's well known that the fruit they sell is the most delicious, but it's also well known that the Jollin gets the best pick of the lot!