The Shepherd and the Lady

A lady was summering in Switzerland.  On day she went out for a stroll.  Presently climbing the mountain side, she came to a shepherd’s hut.  She walked to the door and looked in.  There sat the shepherd, and near at hand on a pile of straw lay a single sheep.  Scanning it closely, the lady saw that its leg was broken.  At once her sympathy went out to the suffering sheep.  She looked inquiringly at the shepherd.  “How did it happen?” she asked.

To her amazement, the shepherd answered, “Madam, I broke the sheep’s leg.”  A look of pain and horror swept over the lady’s face.  Seeing it, the shepherd continued.  “Madam, of all the sheep in my flock, this one was the most wayward.  It never would obey my voice.  It never would follow in the pathway, but wandered to the verge of many a perilous cliff and abyss.  Not only was it disobedient itself, but it was ever leading the other sheep astray.  I had before experienced sheep fo this kind, so I broke it’s leg.

“The first day I went to it with food, it tried to bite me.  I left it alone for a couple days, then I went back to it.  Then it not only took the food but licked my hand, and showed every sign of submission and even affection.

“Now let me tell you something.  When th is sheep is well, as it soon will be, it will be the model sheep of my flock.  No sheep will hear my voice so quickly.  None will follow so close to my side.  Instead of leading its mates astray, it will now be an example and a guide for the wayward ones, leading them in the path of obedience to my call.  A complete transformation will have come into the life of this wayward sheep.  It has learned obedience through its sufferings.”

– From an unpublished collection of illustrations by Troy Moore.

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