When I was eleven or so, I read Twain's Huckleberry Finn. Many things about the book puzzled me, but one in particular bothered me a lot. No, not the substantive issues (slavery, the frontier as personal freedom, etc.). It was the cows. In Chapter 11, Huck dresses up as a girl and calls on a random woman to try to get information about Jim. The woman sees through his disguise, and then Huck tells her another story, part of which is that he's a country boy. She asks him some questions, one of which is this:
"If fifteen cows is browsing on a hillside, how many of them eats with their heads pointed in the same direction?"
"The whole fifteen, mum."
"Well, I reckon you have lived in the country. I thought maybe you was trying to hocus me again."
For years after, I studied cows in fields. They did not all eat with their heads pointed in the same direction. I was confused. Now, mumbly-mumbly decades later, science has taken up my confusion. A team of German and Czech scientists studied satellite photos of 8,510 cows standing in pastures around the world. They found that two-thirds had aligned their bodies in a north-south direction. Since this is more than would indicate chance, the scientists speculate that the magnetic poles have something to do with the bovine alignment.
Even so, Twain got it wrong. Only ten of those fifteen cows should have "had their heads pointed in the same direction." In fact, it might be fewer, since some animals in north-south alignment might have their rumps pointed at the other pole of the Earth. Now, I ask you -- if you can't trust great writers, who can you trust?