Klaus was a farmer in Austria. Every autumn he would move his flock of sheep down from the mountains where they had been grazing over summer. It was always a task he dreaded because part of the way down to winter shelter involved taking his two hundred or so sheep along a public road. Not that the road was busy, but he nonetheless got his wife and children to help – someone at the front, someone at the back, someone at the side – to warn any approaching vehicles that a flock of sheep was “just around the corner”.
The worst bit was the intersection. It was a crossroads with four roads heading north, south, east, and west. He had to get his flock of sheep to turn left. After that it was easy-peasy.
All went well until he reached the crossroads. The sheep were calm, and the kindly driver of a large, old truck had stopped at the intersection to let the sheep pass. It would be foolish not to presume that the sheep had right-of-way.
The sheep had just arrived at the very cross of the crossroads. They were about to turn left. That was when the truck back-fired.
Henri and Minerva were eight and nine respectively. Henri had a brilliant idea.
‘You know how those couple of wild ducks in the paddock don’t care about sheep? They waddle around the sheep without a care in the world. Whereas the minute we appear they fly off. So what if we pretended to be sheep? We could catch the ducks.”
Henri and Minerva put on large raincoats, even though it was a sunny day. They began crawling towards the ducks on all fours.
“Baa!” said Minerva.
“Baa!” answered Henri. They were certainly realistic sheep.
When they got within roughly a hundred yards from the ducks, the ducks flew off.
The experiment didn’t work.
“I have no idea,” said Minerva, “why the ducks still knew we were humans.”
Dear Reader – let me interrupt. As the narrator, interrupting a story is something I rarely do, but in this case an exception has to be made. As a hobby-scientist I feel duty bound to point out a fact: the ducks flew off not because they thought Henri and Minerva were humans. They flew off because they thought Henri and Minerva were ducks, and ducks don’t go “Baa!”
What a wonderful international gathering! Some are black and some are white! But it’s not so much their place of origin that counts; it’s more where they are going to. They are destined to be sent all over the world! What inspiration in just one flock of sheep!
The sheep third left towards the middle is destined to end its days facing Mecca and will travel to Saudi Arabia. The sheep it is currently talking to will be sent to China – Beijing to be precise. For all we know it could end up in the house of the President of China himself. Arabia and China! And to think how Lawrence of Arabia’s and Marco Polo’s adventures were once regarded as exotic. Now with such exchanges common throughout the world the planet is both smaller and culturally enhanced.
The sheep second top left is looking through the gate. It is as if it cannot wait for the adventure to begin! It is destined for the United Kingdom, and it is particularly exciting because it is the place of origin of recent ancestors. In fact, its grandmother came here from Wales as a frozen embryo a few years back. In a jet plane! Can you imagine?
Some of the sheep with black faces are a little disappointed. They were destined for American and European countries, but there was such a fuss. People (those things on two legs) claimed it was like the Black and White Minstrel Show and was making fun of other races. So now they are going to countries that don’t care what colour people are, such as Sri Lanka.
Those going to Canada are a little worried about the cold, especially if they are sent to northern parts and are without any woollen coat. But they have been reassured that the cold will not affect them as they will be frozen before they leave. Not to mention well-wrapped.
Such a United Nations! Such enriching cultural exchanges! And yet, just a flock of sheep! The time can’t come fast enough. Chop-chop, I say.
A sheep, a cow, and a pig are standing at the farm fence watching the arrival of a truck with new livestock.
Sheep: Who do you suppose is arriving this time? Cow: It could be a cow. Pig: It could be a pig. Sheep: It could be a sheep.
Two ostriches step off the truck and on to the field.
Pig: What are they doing here? Cow:(calling out) Go home, you dirty foreigners. Sheep: We have lived on this land for generations. Pig: No room here. It’s crowded enough as it is.
Cow: They messed up their own land, and so now they have to come and mess up ours. Sheep: Here goes the neighbourhood. Pig: They say ostriches can kick something terrible. They’re introducing violence into society. Cow: Next thing they’ll expect us to welcome alpacas.
Claudia and her three friends all shared accommodation in a rickety old house that they rented for a song. They were students. Claudia attended the Nanny School. It was a three year course. Her three friends studied various subjects at university.
Between them, they owned a rickety old car. Being young and party-prone, they easily ran out of money, but this time it was serious. They had hardly eaten for a week. Desperate times call for desperate measures. One night, they headed in the car for the hills to a sheep farm. They would capture a sheep in the dark of night and bring it home in the car. Claudia, being of farming stock, was appointed chief butcher.
They captured a sheep. But Claudia was a little loath to use the knife that night. They kept the sheep in the living room for early morning slaughter.
Claudia rose early. Overnight, the sheep had given birth to twin lambs.