“Just trust me, alright?” Chris said to the assembled mass around him. His protestations were met with grunts, head bobs and the familiar bleat of disapproval. He’d have to win them round.
“I know what I’m talking about,” he continued confidently. Because rams don’t know what humility is, they only know confidence and expect all others to follow them. It’s funny how thin the line between confidence and arrogance can be amongst sheep.
“I have it all sussed out. I’ve been planning this for a while, ever since we were in that bleatin’ trailer. While you lot were all blethering and blaaahing I was watching everything, keeping track of everything, preparing everything. Just over that hill is - what are those two eejits doing?!”
All eyes, or rather most eyes, turned to the other two rams of the group; Barry and Basil, who were currently preparing to run headlong into each other in an attempt to knock the other unconscious.
They had been born twins, or doubles to use the correct farmer spake, and had never spent a day apart. As two rams go, they got on extremely well. However the pair had been sheared just the day before and without their wool and their usually scent they no longer recognised each other.
“Go baaaaack to where you came from!” cried Barry dropping his head into another charge.
“Be gone you blaaaaagard!” Basil retorted as he thundered to the challenge and the air cracked as the two heads smashed together.
Each staggered back a few paces, stunned by the other’s ignorance but with a shake of the head they lowered and prepared to charge again.
“Stop!” roared Chris throwing himself between them. The twins stuttered to a stop just before him, blinking stupidly.
“Baaaaasil, it’s Baaaaarry. Baaaaarry, it’s Baaaaasil!”
The twins turned their heads slowly to each other, their round eyes widening a little more in recognition.
“Baaaaarry!” cried Basil.
“Baaaaasil!” cried Barry.
And they nuzzled each other tenderly, both heads still reeling from the blows.
Chris shook himself heavily as he turned back to the flock.
“Anyways,” he said, “just over that hill is a field so green it would knock the wool off your baaaaack!”
“Why!?” cried one of the ewes, “is it full of maggots?”
“Maggots!” baaed a few of the flock, unified in fear.
Chris snorted in derision.
“No! Not maggots! There’s no maggots, it’s just a bleatin’ saying! There’s green, green grass. Grass like you’ve never seen!”
This sent a murmur of excitement through the flock.
“We like grass,” an unseen ewe said.
Chris grinned. Or at least as much as a sheep can grin.
“So who’s with me?”
The chorus of support burst forth from the flock and filled the surrounding countryside, but to anyone not a sheep it merely sounded like a lot of baa-ing.
“Shush! Shush!” urged Chris as he looked around conspiratorially, “we can’t let the farmer know what we’re up to! And definitely not that damned dog!”
The mention of the dog ran a muted shiver through them and all the heads turned to ensure the coast was clear.
They hated the dog. She was so bossy and controlling and clearly had an anger issue. It was well known in the flock that if you didn’t do exactly what the bitch wanted she’d be nipping at your heels. Mind you, her bark was just as bad as her bite.
“Follow me.” Chris said in hushed tones and he led the way across the field whilst the flock followed like, well, sheep.
Arriving at the far hedge Chris turned to look back to the farm house one last time to check the coast was clear. No sign of the farmer or the dog. Just a green expanse between them and the farm. But as he stared he was surprised by the tinge of nostalgia that touched him, because he didn’t realise sheep could feel nostalgic.
But pushing that aside in his mind he turned and dragged back the branch he had meticulously used to hide the gap in the hedge, which had been particularly difficult given he had no hands.
“Quick!” he urged through teeth that held the branch and, one by one, the ewes and two rams dipped down through the gap into the neighbouring field that led up the hill.
The flock marched up the field two by two whilst Chris trotted along the outside to lead the way to the unknown.
“This grass is good here.”
“Why can’t we stay here, I can see the farm from here.”
“Baaaaarrry, is that you?”
“Is it much farther?”
Voices of dissent lurked at each pair that Chris passed but he encouraged some, cajoled others and reassured Basil that that was indeed his brother Barry walking along side him, albeit trimmed and cleaned.
As luck would have it the gate into the field lay open for them but they huddled before it gripped by a new terror.
There before them lay a road.
“It’s so blaaaaack,” someone bemoaned.
“It’s fine,” said Chris, his eyes fixed on the far side where the promised land lay, that vibrant green of his Garden of Eden.
Not that he knew what the Garden of Eden was, being a sheep of course.
“There it is!” he said almost in disbelief but the rest were staring at the obstacle in their way.
As though in a trance Chris stepped out onto the road, his trotters trotting along.
Gasps were heard throughout their little band which is very unusual amongst sheep.
But embolden by his brazenness the flock followed, whilst Barry and Basil continued to get acquainted.
But the venture was spoiled as a large wire fence encased the green grass, preventing their access.
“All this way and we have to go baaaack?” someone asked in dismay.
Chris stomped his feet angrily and stared through the fence. The grass was more lush than he had previously believed.
The rumble of an oncoming car broke their dismay and all heads, or at least most heads, turned to see a little Ford Fiesta heading their way.
“Everybody down!” cried Chris and taking their lead from him they all threw themselves to the ground, although they were still clearly visible being large white animals and there being nothing to obscure them from view.
The little Ford Fiesta slowed and approached with caution, the young blonde haired driver looking on with confusion and disbelief. But being a city girl she merely giggled, took a quick snap on her phone and drove off trying to think up a witty line to accompany the photo. She settled for “I see ewe!”
Chris was the first to get back to his feet.
“Come on,” he said with renewed hope, “we’ll find a way in.”
And the others arose and followed as he paced around the outside of the fencing, nosing at each step, looking for a weakness.
“What’s that?” said Basil to the group.
“It’s Baaaaarry,” Chris said without looking up.
“No!” Basil retorted, “what’s that there!”
At this Chris lifted his head and his eyes alighted, for there just a few paces on was a gap, no fence obstructing the way, just a wonderful opening to the perfect grass.
“Come on!” he cried his glee, lifting his front trotters off the ground and he ran ahead before the others had time to move.
He burst out onto the grass, leaping and jumping like a newborn lamb in spring as the flock pushed past each other to touch the hallowed soil.
They all bent in unison and allowed their teeth to rent the blades from the ground but a moment later all of them choked and spat their mouthfuls to the ground, the blades surviving as though they had never been chewed at all.
Chris stared down at the grass around him, the glistening blades winking at him in the summer sunshine. He ran his trotter across them and little black beads bounced free.
“Bleatin’ plastic?” he said, more to himself than to the group yet all eyes turned to him.
“Chris,” someone said from amongst the huddle, “you are one stupid baaaaastard!”