Tuesday, 7 August 2007
THE WOOLLY JUMPER - a story from April
The sheep ear-marked number 5041 is continuing to escape from the flock of eight sheep and two lambs. It is either very clever or very stupid. It has "une habitude", that is, a habit! It has become an expert hurdler and learned to jump a fence into our meadow. The shepherds have now decided to prevent the flock entering our field through the open gateway because they say they do not know how it escapes into and out of our field. Once in our meadow, the woolly jumper saunters nonchalantly over to the growing mount of rocks and soil on which we have put our grass mowings. We hope this will become a rockery once the sheep do not graze near it. From this small colline the sheep leaps into mid-air with front legs forwards and back legs backwards as in the drawings of "counting sheep in dreams", into the next field where the flock once used to graze. It straightway crops the grass, for it's only intent as an eating machine is to eat! When it realises it is alone, he/she munches in the direction of the gate and with another leap across another barbed wire fence it is cheerful to be on the chemin/lane. Pleased with itself and tail wagging, number 5041 proceeds along the lane to the entrance of the field from whence he came. Friends and family regard it with great interest, bleating all the while but the silly singular sheep cannot fathom out how to rejoin the sheep plural. The rising slope at the gateway makes the fence appear higher than it's high-jump skills permit! We have rescued it more than five times. Ar first it was amusing BUT our sense of humour and shepherding days are numbered. We have tired of this game. Therefore, the lonely mouton awaits the real shepherds who are befuddled when they see him freed from the flock, yet again! This in itself is amusing to us because the French shepherds think it escaped under the gate. Now they have padlocked the gate, added more barbed wire and weighted it with rocks! We have tried to explain, within our language limitations, how the sheep achieves this feat of houdini, but we are still unsure if the two brotherly shepherds comprehend our franco-anglo language. Obviously it is not normal for a sheep to leap! A ewe should chew!
The real shepherds have certainly not understood or accepted our explanation as several days later they are installing electric fencing and repairing our fencing. Number 5041 has continued on a daily basis to ram the fence to greener pastures and every single morning appears outside our gate because it wants to enter the next field to be with it's chums!
One evening one shepherd is looking quite mad, as whilst he repairs the fencing, the numbered one goes on walkabout, appearing in our garden as I had inadvertently left the gate open!! The farmer looks very frustrated as he comes to help me return the sheep into our meadow and so into his. The sheep gets a quick kick whilst receiving the sign of a slit neck!! Although I quipped that it would be fine as a leg of lamb for Easter Sunday lunch which is at the end of this week, there was a hint of remorse in me. I vow that I will not "tell" on it again and I will continue to secretly encourage it back unto the fold as often as I can because as a former vegetarian for 24 years I do not wish it to come to any harm!! The following morning I am seen to be outside first thing in the morning, coaxing the doomed one to re-enter the back field and encouraging it to leap the fence into our garden and then leap again to it's flock. I continue throughout the day to count the sheep .... 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 Ha, they are still all there!!!
A few days later, they are moved from the field adjoining our garden to the barn and field opposite our land. Behold, I see a new born lamb, and on day two, the shepherd proudly shows us the little creature. Woolly jumper has stopped her leaping and has become a contented mother. Would you believe it?
Posted by Sweetpea in France at 23:02