We got new sheep on Sunday. Two lambs, a black and a white one, and then an old sheep named Sofi. Sofi was Melissa’s pet. All three of these sheep are adorable and very sheep like. They don’t have horns or anything, like our other ones. The new ones are Corriedales. Zanimal wanted to take care of the new sheep, so I didn’t feed them today. I just looked at them over the fence, and decided they looked fine.
After Zanimal got home from school, she immediately went out to feed the new sheep some hay and corn. And then came back with a strange and horrified look on her face.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yeah, but… there’s some pigs or something dead in the pasture? I don’t really know what they are.”
“Maybe they are half eaten pumpkins?” I said.
“Then why do they have hooves?”
We went out to investigate. And, inside the small pasture where we are keeping Sofi and the two lambs, there were… ugh. Weird looking dead things. Looking up close, I decided they were deformed, hairless lambs that Sofi must have birthed. Sofi watched from a distance. So did Zanimal. The pink things had hoofs, and tails, and they had no hair, but they were just the right shape for lambs, except they had some deformity in the face. It was like their jaw bones were soft as pudding.
Both were clearly dead.
Looking at them, I could so easily see how people in old times believed in witches and strange, terrifying things in the night. And terrifying things in the day the day. I was queasy and I asked if Zanimal was okay.
“Yeah, I just want to go play Minecraft now,” she said.
So, I found a container with a lid. I put them into it. I carried it across the yard, and I started to dig a hole.
It takes an incredibly long time to dig a hole. It’s a pet peeve of mine in movies, how little time it seems to take people to dig a hole. Digging a hole to bury something (or someone) is difficult and time consuming. Sometimes, the ground is so hard that you just can’t dig a hole at all. I would like to see a murder mystery show where the entire program, the person is just desperately trying to dig a hole and failing at it. But I digress…
I dug the hole and them put them into it. I apologized to them.
“I’m so sorry. You just weren’t meant to live in this world.”
Then I covered them with dirt.
I reflected that, if they were just a little bit more deformed, I could have put them in a glass jar and sold them to some perverse curiosity shop, probably in San Francisco.
A petting zoo up the road lets people pay to come and watch sheep be born. Those people who own the petting zoo are insane. So much can go wrong! And when it goes wrong, it goes so, so wrong.
My friend Jane used to have sheep, before the internet. She once had a sheep born with two heads. It lived for a couple of weeks. They fed it with a bottle.
“The only problem,” she said, “was that we didn’t know which head to feed.”