Animal Dilemmas – Sheep Cow
After unknowingly nearly killing the snail the Sheep settled on what it did best – munching green grass. Gnawing on the moist juicy grass was what most sheep did all day long. They bit and chewed the grass with their jaws endlessly grinding in a circular fashion. They never tired or complained of this routine being. They loved it and were firmly convinced that it embodied the whole meaning of life.
They ate, pissed and shitted without relocating, heads down in the green. They only moved when all grass was consumed. Their blissful tranquil was only interrupted when a treat against their painless existence was felt. Any sign, true or false, that indicated danger was held in utmost regard and reported. Usually the sign was a noise. A mouse or a lizard in the bushes running about would trigger a wave of concern among the sheep.
When the first one registers it, it stops grinding green grass and looks up. In the sea of sheep backs, the Sheep’s head stood out paranoid and alert. Then the sound occurred again. It was the lizards’ mating season and their chasing each other in the grass. The Sheep judged it was better to be on the safe side and give the alert. ‘Bee-eee-eee’. It went.
More heads poked up and looked around. The distress signal was passed along in an exponential fashion. First the immediately close circle of four or five sheep found it reasonable to repeat at their own pace. ‘Bee-eee-eee!’ From them it spread like an explosion across all sheep in all directions, until the entire flock stopped eating and ‘bee-eee-eee-ed’ like a symphony conducted by a drunken genius.
The giant shepherd was awoken from his nap, rose and looked about. His dog was alert but it didn’t bark which usually meant a false alert. The shepherd trusted his dog. He cursed the Sheep for waking him up and lay back on the grass. He knew there were no natural predators left in these hills. The giants have taken extreme actions to hunt and kill all wolfs and other troublemakers.
The flock quieted down and all heads dived back into the sea of grass. Wool backs gently shifting but mostly static. Hours passed in tranquil with busy bellies and slow heads. On several occasions other sheep gave the ‘bee-eee-eee’ signal but promptly corrected the false alerts with the ‘baa-aaa-aaa’.
In the late afternoon the sheep started their descent from the hill and the several hours long walk to the co-operative farm of industrial size. The Sheep knew very well they had to walk orderly and follow the flock within the enclosures, otherwise the dogs would bark at it or the shepherd would kick it with his boot. All sheep were tightly packed in the first enclosure when the door behind them was shut.
They were waiting for the door in front of them to open so they can decant into the inner court. In the enclosure next to them, separated only by a few horizontal metal bars held together by polls in the ground milk cows were packed just as tight, also returning from the fields. They had large yellow tags on their ears with serial numbers. They were less content with their current situation and voiced their opinions freely in a tender baritone – ‘moo-ooo-ooo’.
The Sheep was pressed neatly against the cow enclosure and its head was sticking out on the other side. It was not comfortable but it knew it was temporary so it stood still and waited for better times, in-between ‘moos’ and ‘bees’ against the cold metal. A cow tail was hanging over its head, flapping from time to time to chase away the flies. The tail belonged to caw number 7018.
The Sheep still didn’t mind. Suddenly the tail was lifted up unlike before, a farting sound echoed around, followed by gas. The Sheep looked up to see a giant heap of fecal mass pouring out from under the tail on its head. At that time the enclosures’ doors opened and sheep and cows ran out to better lives.
The Sheep stood shocked and blinded by feces raising the alert ‘bee-eee-eee’.
next story: ANIMAL DILEMMAS – DUCK COW
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photograph by Ryan McGuire