Knowing one’s own

Of course it had to happen. Just before a companion arrived, Martha escaped, and ran, panicking, under the fence and into the shepherd’s flock. They had just been gathered, and were milling around. There must have been about a hundred ewes and their lambs. Most ewes have two lambs. Half of the lambs are Martha’s half-siblings, having the same father.

Martha is a lamb of great sweetness, but my heart sank – would I ever see her in the great, milling, unsettled throng of sheep?

I did – I knew her at once. My own. One unique little sheep even among her relatives. And my neighbour’s children arrived (the wonders of the mobile phone) and managed to get her separated out, and back home, where she continued to call for her lost mother.

But happily another little lamb arrived, in definite need of some TLC, and she, now called Bernadette, and Martha are great friends, and, in the Biblical phrase, the days of Martha’s mourning for her mother are accomplished. It is a new era for my sheep.

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