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Summary: Fed up with the leadership of their shepherd, a flock of sheep seek to go it alone.

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Some time ago we heard of Roger, an uncooperative, troublesome sheep who caused much distress among his fellow sheep when the shepherd left all the good, cooperative sheep to go and find the uncooperative, annoying Roger. Things have been pretty quiet for Roger, but there is news from his flock.

One day, a big rain came and the creeks became very treacherous. Upon seeing the rising water, the shepherd began leading his flock AWAY from the succulent meadows, toward craggy hills, where nothing grew but thorny scrub and unappetizing stubble.

Three of the sheep began to assess the situation. They were headed the wrong way, that much was certain. The good grazing was THAT way, and they were headed the OTHER WAY.

So, ever so slowly, the sheep began to edge away from the shepherd. The shepherd was busy trying to choose a safe path away from the rising water, so he did not notice that the sheep were sneaking off. This was unusual, but so were the circumstances.

Once the sheep had separated themselves from the shepherd, they quickly found the stream separating them from the good grazing, and leapt into the water to swim across. Their joy was soon replaced by horror, however, as the waters washed several sheep downstream. The others scrambled for the bank, but by the time their panic had lifted and they were safe on dry land, they found out that several others were lost as well.

It didn’t take long before a very snappily-dressed fellow walked right up to them and began to lead them right along the way.

“Well!,” thought the sheep, “That’s service! This fellow certainly seems to know where HE is going! And look! He even has a WAGON we can ride in!” Sure enough, the door was opening on a wagon that read, “Orville Kleeber, purveyor of fine lamb and mutton.”

The sheep began discussing a way to memorialize the victims of their earlier misfortune with the creek, when they noticed that the wagon had come to a halt. In their efforts to see what was going on, one sheep noticed some odd stains on the floor, and after a couple of careful sniffs she realized that it was sheeps’ blood!

Outside, their shepherd had stopped the wagon to ask if by any chance they had seen a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Upon recognizing the shepherd’s voice, the entire fold began to bleat and bray, raising such a ruckus that the mutton monger could only apologize for having made such a mistake. Sunlight flooded the interior of the wagon as the doors flew open and the sheep burst forth to greet their master.

The sheep had resented the difficult path chosen for them by the shepherd, and they had struck out on their own, only to find disaster. The shepherd picked up the pieces when they tried to make it on their own, and he rescued them from the consequences of their own folly.

The moral of the story is this: Those who promise you comfort and ease are not necessarily your friends, and those who put you through difficulty and pain are not necessarily your enemies. But whatever happens, when things go wrong, and you are in trouble, if you listen to the voice of the master, you will be saved. ✢


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