January 15, 2023
He was still a young ram, and was spending his first season as the senior ram of a small flock. Frankly, most of the ewes in the flock knew more than he did about being a sheep on the mountain slopes, and several of them were smarter than he was, too.
Fortunately, being senior ram of a small flock doesn’t require a lot. Basically, you have to wake up in the morning and look around. If there’s grass where you are, you stay there and everybody eats. If there isn’t, you look around some more, and if you see a spot with grass, you say, “There’s a spot with grass,” and everybody goes over there and eats. And if you don’t see a spot with grass, you ask, “Anybody see a spot with grass?” and somebody says, “Over there.”
And then everybody goes over there and eats.
It’s not a great baaahther.
He was feeling his way into responsibility, however, and he tended to be a bit rambunctious – I’m afraid this story is rather full of puns, and I feel a little sheepish about it – so he could be a little nervous and irritable. Instead of waking up calmly and looking about, he’d spring to his feet and turn around wildly in all directions, like a confused compass. “On your bleat!” he’d shout (he meant, “On your feet!”) and then “Come along, ewe!”
I did apologize for the puns, didn’t I? It’s shearly a pity I didn’t stop making them, isn’t it?
His greatest confusion, however, came the morning that the first lamb arrived. Suddenly the flock was bigger – not much bigger, as it was a small lamb, but he was used to the numbers before, and now there was one more.
“Oh, no,” he said. “That’s too many. Take it back.”
“You can’t take lambs back,” they told him.
“Then I’ll take it back,” he said, even if he had no idea where to go. He walked over to where the lamb was standing by its mother, and said, “Come along. I’m taking you home.”
That was when he noticed that the other ewes of the flocks were crowding in between him and lamb.
“What are you doing?” he said, making the same pun a second time.
“We are ending a rampage,” said the ewes, making a new pun for the first time.
“What are you talking about?” he said as the wall of ewes pressed him away from the lamb.
“Lambs,” said the oldest one, “aren’t for giving back or sending away. Lambs are for treasuring and protecting. Lambs are for raising and celebrating. Lambs are for the joyful present and the promising future of this flock. If you want to be a rampion” – oh, good, another pun! – you will start taking care of this lamb and the other lambs coming right now.”
“Well,” he said, “if ewe put it that way.” He was too rattled to come up with a new pun.
“Think it over,” they said. “Take a ramble.”
He did do a little lam(b)enting, but he came around. The smallest and newest ones in the flock are for treasuring and protecting, for raising and celebrating, for the joyful present and the promising future. For sheep – and for us.
by Eric Anderson
Watch the Recorded Story
In the recording above, I told the story from memory of this prepared text. My memory is… not perfect. But I did remember most of the puns.
Photo of a mother and lamb by Wanderschäfer Sven de Vries – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=116038086.