The Lamb and the Voices
It was a very gusty-stormy day, when the woodland trees were drenched and the animals were shivering in their homes from the bitter cold that a young lamb had strayed away from his flock. He was terrified not only, because he was lost, but also because he had heard about the various creatures that could attack him in the woods. Furthermore, he was soaked to the bone and was finding it difficult to carry on moving through the woods. It now turned dark and the lamb was sneezing aloud sending echoes throughout the woods.
He was now pretty much into the woods, far away from his mother and flock and so began to cry.
“What ails you lamb of a well-bred sheep?” asked a voice from one of the berry bushes near the lamb.
“I am lost and I don’t know how to find my way back home,” replied the crying young lamb.
“Why did you leave your home?” asked another voice from the top of an old apple tree which was more of a whistle than a real voice.
“In search of adventure and some fun,” said the lamb, his white head bent very low.
“Don’t you know it’s dangerous for tame animals like you to be wandering about the woods alone” came yet another voice from behind the lamb.
“Yes,” whispered the cold lamb, “I knew that, but, I was so taken up with the idea of being my own master for once rather than listening to my elders that I ———- left. I kept wandering, further and further away, just so that, I could escape them, but, in the bargain I myself lost my way.”
“Tsk — tsk,” said another voice behind a neighbouring bramble bush, “what a pity?”
“Yet, isn’t there anyone coming to get you?” asked the voice that was behind the berry bush.
“My master, the shepherd, has about a hundred sheep, to look after. One less, wouldn’t bother him, after all he is only human ——- they have no feelings and he would hardly risk his life to save me,” replied the sad and shivering young lamb.
“How sorrowful!” said the voice from behind the chestnut tree.
“What a pity!” exclaimed the whistling voice from the top of the apple tree.
“Can you’ll help me get home?” asked the lamb eagerly.
“Oh sure, we’ll help you,” said the whistling voice, “It’s just that —- we haven’t had our dinner yet, so first we dine, then —— we help.”
“Oh no!” shrieked the lamb for now he saw the faces of the company he was around. The one behind the berry bush was a wolf, the one behind the chestnut tree was a fox, the one behind the bramble bush was a hyena and the one up the apple tree with the whistling voice was a python.
The wolf said: “Now that we know that no one is going to help you, we will tear you to pieces.” “And crush your juicy bones” added the python flicking its forked tongue. Now the lamb was crying even harder and louder — he wept and he wailed for he knew that his time had come. But just as the hyena was about to claw the lamb with a chuckling snarl, an arrow soared through the air and stabbed the hyena in the heart.
The Python immediately slithered up his tree in fright. The fox made a jump at the lamb but another arrow cut him. The wolf now waited behind the berry bush to see the origin of these fatal arrows. His yellow and vicious eyes opened wide in surprise when he saw the shepherd with his bow and arrow, come towards the lamb.
Immediately, the wolf jumped on to the shepherd thinking that he would make a meal of him too, but, after a lot of clawing and frothing the shepherd pushed a knife into the wolf’s stomach and the wolf howled and ran back into the woods.
The shepherd then tenderly picked up the lamb and carried him out of the woods. The python, however, who was watching the whole scene hissed in the silence of the wood saying: “So, in the end little lamb, the master ‘did’ come – he ‘did’ love you more than the ninety-nine left behind.”
VALUE: God will never leave us even when we feel he is far away —- for he is a good shepherd who loves the lost lamb just as much as the ninety-nine who remained in the flock.
“I am the Good Shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” John 10:11
Copyright Fiza Pathan
A short story from my book ‘S.O.S. Animals And Other Stories’ .