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Chicks and Ducks and Sheep better scurry...  by Grey Wonderer

As I stretched out on the doctor’s couch, I gave a deep sigh. I know in my heart that this session will do little, if any, good. I am a hopeless case and all of the well-intentioned therapy in the world cannot cure me. What I have goes beyond obsession, beyond madness, in short, I am beyond any help that might be obtained from medical science. I have resigned myself to the fact that there is no cure for the strange malady that infects me and yet, here I am grasping at the thin straws of hope. Perhaps this doctor, who comes so highly recommended, will be the one!

Doctor: “Tell me about your week.”

Me: “I worked a great deal. I wrote a bit. I read some wonderful stories. It was the same as most of my weeks are.”

Doctor: “You say you wrote a bit?”

Me: (regretting my words) “A little bit. Nothing important.”

Doctor: (raises eyebrows slightly and sucks on the end of his pencil) “Nothing important?”

Me: “Not really. Just a short, one-chapter story. You wouldn’t like it.”

Doctor: “Something original?”

Me: “Well…”

Doctor: “Come on, I suspect that you want to tell me about it.”

Me: “Well, it isn’t all original.”

Doctor: “Original characters?”

Me: “Well, no, not really original.”

Doctor: (frowning) “Are you stealing from Tolkien again?”

Me: “It isn’t exactly stealing.”

Doctor: “Then you’ve managed the impossible and secured his permission somehow?”

Me: “The man is dead! You cannot get permission from a dead man.”

Doctor: “His estate then? Perhaps that relative of his that is suing several people? You spoke with him and he-“

Me; (interrupting) “No. I don’t have permission from anyone, ok? I hope you’re happy!”

Doctor: “Your continued interest in using the characters of another author can hardly make me happy. But let us concentrate on you. That’s why we’re here. How do you feel about your writing?”

Me: (shrugs a bit as best I can while lying on a couch) “It could be better. It could be a bit more-“

Doctor: “Original?”

Me: (sitting up) “I was going to say that it could be a bit more serious! I know it isn’t original! We’ve cover that already!”

Doctor: “Pornographic?”

Me: (trying to look innocent) “What are you implying?”

Doctor: “I’m merely asking because you have lapsed into rather lewd writing in the past.”

Me: “It’s perfectly acceptable for all ages. There is nothing pornographic about it!”

Doctor: “No improper acts?”

Me: “If you ask me, and I believe that you just did, you are too concerned with improper acts and such! Maybe we should examine your motives here for a second.”

Doctor: (pretending to write something on his note pad) “This is your session. We are dealing with your problems.” (clears his throat) “Now, you’ve admitted that the characters in this story are not original and you are claiming that this story is, I believe your words were, perfectly acceptable for all ages? So, is there anything else you’d like to discuss?”

Me: “No, I don’t think so.”

Doctor: “Are you certain? There isn’t anything else?”

Me: (standing now as if to leave) “Fine! I hope this makes you happy! The entire story is based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien! None of the characters in the story are mine! All of them were created by Tolkien! Happy now?”

Doctor: (raises eyebrow again) “Are you planning on attempting to profit from this?”

Me: (looking completely shocked now) “Of course not! Who do you take me for? I am not planning on making one, thin, dime on any of my writing! How could you sit there and imply such a thing?”

Doctor: (clears throat) “Just my attempt to keep you honest and to make you see exactly what you are doing with your life.”

Me: (throws hands up and rolls eyes.) “Fine! I am wasting my life! I am writing stories that will never make me rich or famous and I am using another author’s characters! I am not doing anything important with my life. There! Are you happy now?”

Doctor: “I just want you to think about your life.”

Me: “And I pay you for that?” (moving toward the door now feeling worse than when I got here) “I’ve had enough honesty for one day. I’m leaving.”

Doctor; “Did you at least have someone read over it for mistakes, this so-called writing of yours? Is it beta’d?”

Me: “Not exactly.”

Doctor: ‘Either it is or it isn’t.”

Me: “No! It was not beta’d. It is probably riddled with mistakes. Every other word in it is probably spelled wrong and the whole thing would probably make a literature major cry for hours on end. I am just posting it like I wrote it!”

Doctor: (sighs) “If you really think that’s wise.”

Me: “My beta is on vacation! Both of them are and so I am going to post this just like it is and if no one reads it then so be it! If people do read it then they can find the mistakes and point them out. It’s fun for them. It’s like those children’s books where you look for Waldo! Instead of ‘Where’s Waldo’ this is ‘What’s spelled wrong’. People love doing that sort of thing.”

Doctor: “I don’t. I prefer that the stories I read are original and that they have been corrected.”

Me: “Then don’t read it! If you, or anyone else, are expecting this to have been checked for mistakes then don’t read it because it hasn’t been. There! You’ve been warned. I’m leaving now.”

Doctor: “Then I can assume that you are over your obsession?”

Me: (stops just short of the door) “What obsession is that?”

Doctor: “You have given up this fixation that you have with sheep?”

Me: (groans, coughs, hurries to the door) “Yeah, no sheep. None at all. Seriously. I’m over that. I don’t think about sheep ever.”

Doctor: “You’re evading again!”

I slam the door and hurry to the elevator. As I told the insufferable, meddling, old twit before. I have had all of the honesty that I can take for one day! I am going home and post my story and there isn’t anything that he can do about it! If anyone reads then I’ll thank them for it and if they don’t then no one was hurt by any of this.

GW 07/16/2008

One Night, In the Barn…

Merry was partly asleep. He liked sleeping in his Uncle Paladin’s barn. The hay smelled sweet and it made a very soft bed. At home, the barns were so large and so full of ponies that someone was always moving about. It would have been almost impossible to rest in one of the Brandybuck’s big barns. His Uncle had two barns on his farm. One was for tools mostly. It was large enough for one or two animals and even had two stalls in it but the Tooks rarely kept any livestock in that barn. Now and again they might put a sick animal in there to keep it quiet and separate it from the other animals but for the most part that was a working barn. They repaired tools, changed the wheels on the pony cart, and did other maintenance work in that barn.

The barn that Merry was drifting off to sleep in now was the larger of the two barns. In this barn there was a stall for the family milk cow, a stall for the plow pony, a stall for Uncle Paladin’s pony, and a pen, or lambing jug, used for animals that were giving birth. That was why Merry was sleeping in the barn. One of the Took’s many sheep had been placed into the lambing jug* earlier that evening and was expected to give birth sometime that night.

Merry didn’t consider the birth of a sheep to be a very exciting event. He’d seen plenty of sheep in his thirteen years of life. The Took’s farm was coated with them. Everywhere you looked there was a sheep! The Brandybucks didn’t keep sheep but they had a few now and then after a trade at the marketplace or from time to time someone would give his Father a couple of the wooly animals in payment for some service. Merry preferred lamb stew, lamb chops, mutton, and roast lamb rather than the live animals. Wool jumpers made his nose itch and the only pair of wool trousers that he’d ever owned had given him a very uncomfortable rash. As far as Merry was concerned, sheep were for eating. Everything had to have a purpose, right?

On the other hand, Merry’s younger cousins seemed to adore the silly animals. Pervinca named them. Pervinca was ten and she named all of the farm animals. Merry couldn’t tell one sheep from the other but Pervinca seemed to know each and every one of them. She would call them by name and pet them and fuss over them as if they were members of the family. Merry sometimes suspected that Pervinca couldn’t tell them apart either and that she was only pretending to know which sheep was ‘Jumper’ and which one was ‘Fuzzy’. Also, Pervinca had a habit of naming the sheep the same thing. There were at least five sheep named ‘Snowball’ and at least ten sheep called ‘Cloud’. Pervinca was not very good at coming up with original names for the flock’s new members but then again Merry suspected that naming sheep was a very dull pastime. They all looked exactly alike and so if you named them based on appearance then all of them would be named the same thing.

Merry shifted slightly in his blankets and adjusted his pillow. Pillow would be a good name for a sheep he thought drowsily. Perhaps he’d mention that at the birth. His youngest cousin, Pippin was actually why they were sleeping in the barn. Pippin had never seen a newly born sheep and when the lad had heard the adults talking about the event, he had begged to be there when the new baby came. Since Paladin Took was spending the night in the barn with the mother-to-be and Pervinca was sleeping in the barn so that she might be there to name the new arrival, it was agreed that Pippin could spend the night in the barn too.

Merry was pleased with this development. He didn’t care about the birth of the lamb but he did like sleeping in the barn. It was a bit like camping out with Frodo only it didn’t matter if it rained or not. The barn was in good repair and so the rain wouldn’t get in if it did happen to rain. He wondered why Frodo didn’t just camp out in his barn rather than sleeping outside under the stars. Merry reasoned that one could look at the stars all they wanted and then go into the smial or the barn and sleep somewhere sheltered. It only made sense. Once you were asleep the scenery didn’t really matter that much.

There was a sharp cry and then the sound of someone sobbing. Merry didn’t know how long he’d slept but he was jarred awake by the sobbing. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. The tangle of blankets next to his was empty. Pippin must have got up at some point. Pervinca’s bedding was also deserted. The sobbing grew louder and Merry climbed out of his own blankets and followed the sound.

“It’s not hurt, Pippin,” he heard Pimpernel saying. “Hush now. You don’t want to frighten the new baby lamb or scare the mother while she’s lambing*.”

As Merry neared the lambing jug he saw that Pimpernel, the middle Took sister, had joined them. She was standing next to the fence that surrounded the lambing jug with her arms wrapped tightly about Pippin who was looking into the pen and sobbing. Pervinca was standing on the bottom rail of the fence and peering into the pen with interest. Merry could see his Uncle standing just beside of Pervinca and studying the animal inside the pen. The lambing had begun.

As Merry joined them, Pippin sniffled. “Merry, the baby is coming and it’s hurt.”

“No, Pippin,” Pimpernel said gently. “The baby isn’t hurt.”

Merry looked into the pen and wrinkled his nose. He didn’t blame Pippin for thinking that the lamb was injured. As far as Merry was concerned anyone who told you that birth was a beautiful thing was full of beans. Nothing was more disgusting looking! Merry had seen ponies born and piglets born and kittens born and none of it had been beautiful. Chickens had the right idea. Eggs were easier on the mother giving birth and the chicks did all the work. The chicks weren’t beautiful at birth but they were nowhere near as disgusting as other baby animals.

“Merry, it’s hurt,” Pippin whimpered his face red from crying.

“Tell him, Merry,” Pimpernel encouraged. “He won’t listen to any of us.”

“The baby isn’t hurt Pip,” Merry said glad for an excuse to look away from the lambing. The lamb was only partly out and it was not a pretty sight. The ewe was in a standing position and Merry knew that the birth could take anywhere from an hour to several hours. That was if everything went well. “Things just look disgusting when they’re born.”

Pippin looked interested now. He wiped his eyes on his sleeve and, still staring at the ewe, asked, “Was I disgusting when I was born?”

“Yes,” Pervinca said quickly and firmly before Merry could respond.

Pippin, mimicking the words he’d heard from adults in the other situations, glared at Pervinca and said, “Is your name Merry?”

Pimpernel and Merry giggled.

“Well, you were disgusting,” Pervinca said glaring back at Pippin.

“Was I, Papa?” Pippin asked looking at his father.

“What?’ Paladin Took had been concentrating on the lambing and had not been following the conversation.

“Was I dis-custing when I was borned?” Pippin asked looking interested.

“You were all beautiful when you were born, each and every one of you children were beautiful,” Paladin said with a smile.

“See, Vince,” Pippin said smiling proudly. “I was boo-ti-ful!”

“Yes, Pervinca,” Merry grinned. “You were too, apparently.” Merry peered intently at her and then asked, “What happened to you?”

Pervinca glared at Merry. “Why don’t you go home? You’re always here.”

“Pervinca,” Paladin said sternly. “We do not speak to company in that fashion.”

“He isn’t company. It’s only Merry,” Pervinca said annoyed.

Pippin moved over to the lambing jug now and peered between the rails of the fence. His lower lip quivered and he said, “Is the baby stuck in there?” The newborn was only partially out and the part that could be seen was coated in something rather slimy looking.

“No, lad,” Paladin said patiently. “It isn’t stuck. Having a baby just takes a while. The rest of our new lamb will be out directly.”

“How does it breath in there?” Pippin asked.

“That is part of the miracle of birth,” Pimpernel said realizing that her father was rather busy just now and knowing that once Pippin’s questions started there was likely to be an onslaught of them. The child hadn’t really begun speaking properly until he’d been five but now that he had the language mastered, he made constant use of it.

Miracle of birth! Merry thought slightly annoyed. That was what everyone always said. They never fully explain all of this stuff, they just told you it was a miracle. How did the lamb breathe?

“How does the baby know when it’s time to come out of there?” Pippin said still looking a bit nervous about all of this. “Does the mum tell it? Does she just say, ‘get out now’ and it comes out?”

Merry grinned. The questions were getting good now.

“The baby just knows is all,” Pimpernel said looking slightly uncomfortable. Merry suspected that Pippin was asking things that even Pimpernel didn’t know. Pimpernel was sixteen but obviously she didn’t know everything about this yet. Merry felt better about his own lack of answers on the subject.

“What if it doesn’t want to come out?” Pippin objected.

“Of course it wants to come out,” Pervinca argued. “It wants to see the world and to play so it has to come out.”

“Oh,” Pippin said seeming satisfied with this answer.

Maybe Pervinca knew more about birth than Pimpernel did, Merry thought. Her answers were making more sense. She hadn’t given Pippin that old ‘miracle of birth’ thing or just said, ‘because’. She’d given him an answer that made sense to him. Merry looked at Pervinca with renewed interest. Maybe naming all of those sheep had taught her a thing or two.

“Will it be ready to play when it gets here?” Pippin asked.

“It will be kind of tired at first. Getting born is lots of work,” Pervinca said. Merry suspected that the hard work was being done by the ewe but still, whatever it was that was happening to the lamb didn’t look pleasant.

Pippin nodded. “But it will play after a while?”

“It will eat first. They always eat,” Pervinca said. “It will stand up and walk around after a while but they always eat first.”

“I would want a bath,” Pippin said. “Can it have a bath when it gets through getting borned?”

“The mother sheep will bathe it,” Pervinca said looking a bit disgusted now.

“Can I help?” Pippin asked.

“If you want to,” Pervinca grinned rather wickedly. “The mother sheep licks the birth stuff off of the baby until it’s clean.”

Pippin squeezed his eyes shut, stuck out his tongue and said, “Yuck! Why doesn’t she put the baby lamb in water?”

“Animals don’t do that,” Pervinca said. “They lick the baby until it’s clean.”

“That’s dis-custing,” Pippin said using a word that he’d heard used earlier. “Isn’t it, Merry?”

“Yes, it is, Pip,” Merry agreed.

“It is not,” Pimpernel objected. “It just a part of the miracle of birth. Animals do things differently than we do.”

Again with the ‘miracle of birth’ answer, Merry groaned. Pimpernel had a very odd idea about what constituted a miracle as far as Merry was concerned. Licking the afterbirth from a newly born sheep wasn’t a miracle, it was disgusting. Animals did it but it was no miracle.

“What’s a miracle?” Pippin asked. He obviously knew what disgusting meant but he wasn’t clear about miracles.

Pimpernel looked startled. “Pippin, you know what a miracle is.”

“No,” Pippin said shaking his head. “What is it?”

“Tell him,” Merry urged.

“It’s, well, it’s something that,” Pimpernel trailed off and frowned at Merry. “I don’t think you’re old enough to understand that, Pippin,” she said falling back on an old favorite.

Pippin frowned now. “I am too. What is it?”

“It something that just happens and nobody can explain it so it’s got to be a miracle,” Pervinca said.

Again, Merry was struck by how much sense Pervinca was making.

Pippin considered this. “Oh, so that time that I couldn’t explain how I ate all of those biscuits and everyone was mad at me, was that a miracle?”

Merry sniggered.

“No,” Pervinca said rolling her eyes. “I said that nobody could explain a miracle. Just because you don’t know how to explain it, it doesn’t mean it’s a miracle. If anyone can explain it, then it isn’t a miracle. You ate all of those biscuits because you wanted to and because you don’t listen to rules. That’s not a miracle. That’s just you.”

“Oh.” Pippin went back to staring at the birth again and after a minute he said, “So being borned is a miracle cause no one can explain it?”

“That sounds right to me,” Merry agreed.

“Ducks are a miracle!” Pippin said suddenly. The lad did this all of the time. He just made random remarks that didn’t seem related to anything at all.

“Ducks?” Merry looked confused.

“I asked Uncle Bilbo how ducks could sit on the water and not fall under and he couldn’t tell me, so ducks are a miracle,” Pippin said. “Bilbo knows everything so if he didn’t know why ducks can do that then nobody knows. I wanted to know why I couldn’t sit on the water like a duck and Uncle Bilbo didn’t know.”

“You don’t have feathers,” Pervinca said. “Duck have feathers and it makes them float.”

“ If I took feathers out of one of our pillows and-“

No!” Paladin Took said quickly hoping to avoid a near drowning. “Putting feathers on yourself would not make you float, Peregrin.”

“Oh,” Pippin sighed but then he looked pleased again. “So, ducks are a miracle!”

“Apparently,” Paladin Took said. He gave Pervinca a warning glance so that she would not try to explain this miracle away. Any more talk of ducks and water might lead to serious trouble where Pippin was concerned.

Merry grinned. He wondered how long this answer would avert Pippin’s plans for trying to float like a duck. At least the Took’s farm wasn’t near the Brandywine River like Merry’s home was. Merry would have to try and remember this duck-feather-thing for the next time Pippin came to Buckland. The adults would think that Pippin had forgot it but Merry knew better. Pippin always remembered the things that could get him into trouble. It was the things that could keep him safe that Pippin forgot.

“Look! There’s more of my sheep coming out!” Pippin shouted excitedly. He pointed into the lambing jug and bounced on this toes.

“Your sheep?” Pervinca frowned.

“Yes, this one is mine. I get to make its name,” Pippin said as proudly as if he were one of the new lamb’s parents. “Papa said so, didn’t you, Papa?”

Pervinca looked at her father and her lower lip trembled. “I always name the sheep,” she said softly.

Merry actually felt sorry for her. She did always name the sheep. She wasn’t always very original with her naming but she did name them.

Paladin looked at his youngest daughter probably regretting his decision to allow Pippin to name the lamb, and said, “Pervinca, you do always name the sheep and you do an excellent job of it. But this one time since this is the very first sheep that your brother has every seen born I thought that he should name it.”

Pervinca’s eyes reddened and she said, “You let him do everything!”

“No he doesn’t!” Pippin objected.

“Yes, he does! Everybody does! You’re spoiled is what you are, Peregrin Took!” She stamped her foot and turned her back on all of them to pout.

“Am not!” Pippin shouted back.

“Are too!”

“Am not!” Pippin frowned. “Am I?”

“Pervinca,” Pimpernel said gently. “Pippin is just going to name this one lamb.”

“I don’t care! He can name all of them!” she said sniffling.

Merry wasn’t certain why anyone would want to name a lamb or why it might be important but he did think that Pervinca had a point. She always named them. Besides, Pippin was not good at naming things. He gave them odd names that didn’t seem to fit. Pippin had been the one that had named the family’s sheep dog. The poor dog’s name was Pony! Granted, Pippin had named it when he was four years old and didn’t talk very well but it still wasn’t a proper name for a dog. This poor lamb was going to have a very odd name.

“I was going to call it Snowball,” Pervinca whined.

“You have several named Snowball already, darling,” Pimpernel said.

“There’s its head!” Pippin shouted. “My baby has a head!”

“It’s a miracle!” Merry shouted and Paladin and Pimpernel glared at him.

Merry shrugged.

“I thought all of my lamb would never get here,” Pippin said crawling between the rails on the lambing jug and taking a step toward the new little lamb that was squirming about on the hay while it’s mother inspected it.

“Peregrin, that’s close enough,” Paladin said firmly. “Let the mother clean her baby.”

“But, Papa, that’s my lamb!” Pippin objected.

“No it isn’t! Pervinca shouted turning to the fence. “Not everything is yours! That lamb belongs to its mother.”

Pippin inched a step closer with a determined look on his face. “But this one is mine.”

“There’s a whole flock of the wooly little things outside on the hill, Pip,” Merry said. “Why don’t you pick out one of those? This one is rather messy just now.”

“I watched this one come out,” Pippin said trying to back up his claim of ownership.

“We all did,” Pervinca said looking as angry as a storm cloud.

“This is my miracle sheep,” Pippin said. “It has a head and everything!”

“Peregrin Took, if you come one step closer to that lamb, you will go into the smial and you will not be allowed back out in the barn until tomorrow,” Paladin said firmly.

Pippin froze in his tracks, his tiny hands twisting the hem of his shirt as he stood there.

“Come on over here with me while the mother cleans up your lamb and think of a name for it,” Merry suggested knowing that Pippin was just dying to get his hands on the rather gooey lamb.

Reluctantly, Pippin backed toward Merry while watching his lamb and allowed his older cousin to lift him onto the top rail of the fence so that he was sitting looking into the pen at the lamb and its mother.

Paladin now looked at Merrry with gratitude and the glaring was at an end for the present. “What are you going to name it, son?” Paladin asked.

“Is it a lad or a lass?” Pippin asked curiously.

“Well,” Paladin frowned. He leaned down carefully and attempted to find this out for his son and Merry resisted the urge to shout, ‘It’s a miracle.’ But only just.

“Snowball would be a good name either way,” Pervinca pointed out. She was leaning on the fence looking at the lamb.

“I like Lamb Chop,” Merry suggested with a rather nasty grin.

“Merry, don’t,” Pimpernel hissed.

Pippin didn’t seem to notice Merry’s reference to making a meal of his new lamb. “Is it a lad?” he asked.

“No, this seems to be a lass,” Paladin said straightening up.

The ewe was bathing her baby and it was starting to look less disgusting to Merry. Pippin, however, wrinkled his nose and sighed, “Why don’t we ever have anything around here but lasses? I wanted my lamb to be a lad.”

“Then I can name it since you don’t want it,” Pervinca said looking hopeful.

“I want it,” Pippin said quickly. “I just want it to be a lad-sheep.”

Pervinca sighed. “Well, it’s not!”

“Why are some sheep lads and most all of our sheep aren’t?” Pippin asked looking at his father.

“Nature decides what is most needed and that is what we get,” Paladin said.

“Well, I think we need more lads. Nature is wrong,” Pippin observed looking around the barn at his sisters.

Pimpernel giggled. “Just name your lamb, Pippin.”

“I’m not naming it Pippin,” the child objected, misunderstanding completely. “I’m not naming a lass Pippin. Pippin is a lad’s name. If it had been a lad, I was going to maybe name it Merry but it isn’t a lad and so it can’t be named Merry and it can’t be named Pippin. Those are names for lads.”

Merry was extremely glad this wasn’t a male lamb. He did not want a sheep named after him.

“So, what’s its name then?” Pervinca demanded still pouting.

Pippin frowned. “I’m thinking. Lass names are harder.”

“Then just name it Snowball and be done with it,” Pervinca said.

“Pervinca?” Paladin warned.

“Well, he’s doing it wrong,” Pervinca objected.

“How about Fluffy?” Pimpernel suggested.

“No, Nelly,” Pippin sighed. “This isn’t a fluffy sheep. It’s all slick looking.”

“That’s because it’s still not clean,” Pimpernel said. “It will be fluffy later on.”

Pippin stared hard at the new lamb. “Can I pet it, Papa? If I could touch it then I’d know its name.”

“You cannot touch the lamb yet, Pippin,” Paladin said and Merry wrapped his arms around Pippin’s waist to keep the lad in place. No sense taking any chances. Pippin was not very good at following orders.

“Name it so we can go back to sleep,” Merry yawned.

Pippin studied the lamb and then looked over at Pervinca. “It’s my lamb but if you were going to name her and you didn’t name her Snowball then what would you name her?”

Pervinca looked at the little lamb. “She’s kind of round so I’d name her Dumpling.”

Pippin grinned. “You can name her. I like Dumpling! Call her that, Vince.”

Pervinca smiled brightly. She looked at the lamb and said, “Your name is Dumpling!”

The tiny lamb ignored this completely but Pippin grinned. “She likes it! She likes being Dumpling! That’s a good one, Vince!”

“It takes practice to name sheep,” Pervinca said smugly.

“Well, if you ask me, it’s a miracle that anyone named her,” Merry yawned. He then lifted Pippin down from the fence railing and sat him on the ground. “Let’s go back to sleep, Pip. You can pet your lamb in the morning.”

Pippin rubbed at his eyes and yawned. Now that the lambing was over the child was tired. “Are we still sleeping in the old hay or can we go get in my good bed?”

Merry was disappointed about not spending the rest of the night in the barn but he decided that the smial was safer. If they stayed in the barn, Pippin would wind up in with the new lamb as soon as everyone was looking the other way. “We can go get in your good bed,” Merry said picking the child up. Pippin was suddenly very tired and Merry knew it would be easier to carry him than to let him walk.

“Merry,” Pippin yawned.

“Yes, Pippin?”

“Isn’t my lamb boo-ti-ful?”

Merry sighed. Sometimes you just had to lie a bit if you wanted to survive. That was especially true around Tooks and their sheep. “Yes, Pip. Your lamb is beautiful.”

“Lambs are just like ducks,” Pippin said.


“They’re miracles,” Pippin yawned.

The End

GW 07/13/2008

*A 'lambing jug' is a small pen to confine ewes and newly born lambs.

Apologies to Oscar Hammerstein for the slight rewrite of his song lyric. The title of this is inspired by a line from the song, "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top" which is from the musical, "Oklahoma" by Rogers and Hammerstein. The actual line is:

'Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry when I take you out in the surrey,'

Sadly, the song doesn't actually mention sheep. That must have been an oversight.

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