Monday, April 13, 2009

Brains and Bells

I compare three heads in a baking pan: a piglet’s, a lamb’s, and a chicken’s. The chicken’s head disappears; it is in the mouth of Bubul. The piglet’s and lamb’s heads are moved to a platter; it will disappear in the mouth of a guest.

While the lamb’s brain is the size of a baby’s fist, I do not believe they are estupido, as Pasquale claims. When I take the flock out to graze, I’m convinced that in their baa-baa-ing they are communicating: “Hoorah! It’s the inexperienced wwoofer. Quick, down the tractor path to the newly seeded barley patch.”

How do I know this? Because this is what they try each time I open the barn door. My flock runs for the forbidden zone. I hear their bells get fainter in the distance all the while I run behind them yelling “ALE!”

Pasquale’s herd never tries a stunt like this and he has 280 members in his group while I tend merely 70. Then, to bring his flock back from the fields, he simply barks a few commands and THEY come marching back to HIM. It’s amazing! Whereas to bring my clan back, I run, clap, wave, beg, plead and sometimes even carry the refusing animal; many look up, give me a sheepish grin, and return to eating.

Over dinner, a guest asks the significance of the bells. I listen from afar as I too am curious. Of the 350 sheep, my 70 sheep are predominantly the bell-wearers.

“Bells are on naughty sheep.”

“Really?” she exclaims. “We have 6 children and they all wear bells too.”

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