The Enlightened Sheep

Once there was a herd of sheep. They were the kind of sheep with bitter tasting meat, and luxurious wool, so they knew that they were safe. Some sheep have wool that doesn’t’ fetch a very high price, so their owners have no choice but to try and sell their meat. Those sheep are constantly on the worry, because sheep really don’t know how to produce good wool or bad wool. Obviously, if they knew how to produce good wool, they would do so and save themselves from being sold as meat.

There is a large amount of argument in the sheep community about what makes good wool. Good wool being so incredibly important to sheep, there is naturally a lot of discourse on the proper way to make it. Not too many sheep, actually none at all, give any thought on what contributes to good tasting meat. That would be silly. On the topic of producing good wool, there are as many theories as their are ways to sheer a sheep.

As long as sheep have been herded into groups, and they became aware of the two reasons for their value, ways to increase the value of their wool have been of great importance to sheep. There are several methods, which have been taught for generations, with some coming in and out of favor based on several different circumstances. One of the most ignored is that of pure genetics, because that would mean that the sheep have no control over their own fate, and it is only up to their owners to determine their fate for them.

Many times a particularly charismatic sheep will convince others that by belonging to his group, they will have a higher chance of increasing the value of their wool. Usually their arguments are based on being in close proximity, specifically just after a shearing. The rubbing of bare sheep skin is somehow conducive to the wool growing back more luxuriant than before. The sheep that follow this philosophy crowd together with a large display of affection, or what would appear as affection, immediately after a shearing. There is a belief that the first few moments after a shearing are crucial to growing luxuriant wool. There is said to be some kind of statistics that support this. Sheep that seem to rub together after shearing are much less likely to end up in the slaughterhouse, than the outcasts that don’t want to, or are not allowed, to participate.

So this particular heard of sheep, who had its particularly charismatic leader, were in the process of getting sheered. Each sheep, immediately after getting sheered would rush to join the slowly growing group of just sheered sheep. A couple of sheep that didn’t belong, who weren’t allowed in the group for some reason or another, wandered of to mingle by themselves. The sheep that mingled together considered themselves enlightened, as if they had discovered the secret of producing fine wool, much finer than those that didn’t rub their bare skin together.

“See that?” The master sheerer said to the journeyman.

“These sheep are funny. Most of them, really like to be sheered, look how they go and play with each other afterwards. These are the best sheep, because they like to be sheered, and they are easy to herd. The ones that wander off like that are a pain. More pain than they are worth.”

“What do you do with them?”

“Well, if they don’t want to be sheered, it takes too much time to chase after ‘em, so we just sell ‘em for dog food. At least we get something out of them.”

“What about their wool?”

“Wool’s all the same. It all gets processed together in the large wool factories with all the other sheep. The most important time is making the most amount of wool with the least amount of effort. Gotta stay profitable, you know?”

“Yea, I get it,” the young journeyman said. Sheep shearing certainly was an enlightening enterprise.

Nov 4th, 2015 | Posted in Art
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