Every year our pet sheep had lambs. One year they had three between them. Dad noticed that the biggest one had a foot that looked funny.
“We better catch him and look at his foot” said Dad.
So we helped Dad catch the lamb, and the lamb had a funny growth on his foot.
“I don’t know what that is.” said Dad.
Fortunately, our friend Ray rode past our paddock on his bike at that moment. He stopped and looked at the lamb’s foot too.
Ray said: “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah you can fix that but you’ll need to keep him with you all the time!”
Then Ray named some stuff, which could be purchased from the vet, which we would need to soak the lamb’s foot in twice a day if we wanted to make his foot better.
Then Ray said “It’s a lot of trouble to do that!” and I think he was acually offering to help Dad…well…turn the lamb into lamb chops but he didn’t want to say that in front of my sister and me.
Dad and Mum said “Hmmmmmmm”
Then Mum said “Will he be okay of we take just him home? I mean, is he big enough to be okay if we don’t try and take his mother home too.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Ray, “Just take him home in the car, he’s old enough, he’ll be fine!”
So the lamb came home with us in the car, and we decided to keep him in the garden by Mum’s art studio. It had a fence all the way around it except for over the driveway.
Dad and Mum made a temporary piece of fence to go over the driveway out of wire netting. They tied it to the fence on either side and said that the lamb would never get through it.
The next morning, the lamb was looking straight through the netting, straight into our dining room window, going: “BAAAAAAAA! BAAAAAAAAAAA!”
“Hmmmmmmm.” said Dad.
“He’s just lonely” said Mum.
Mum promised us that as soon as Dad had gone to work and my sister and me had gone to school, she would go to see the vet and get what we needed to fix the lamb’s foot.
“Then he can go back to the paddock.” said Dad
“Yes, he’ll be much happier there.” said Mum.
“BAAAAAAAAAA!” said the lamb.
At 7:50, Dad said goodbye and drove to work.
My Mum and my sister and me sat at the dining room table, reading magazines, and munching on whatever snacks were handy, and just quielty filling in time until it was time for my sister and me to walk to school. (The school was one block from our house so it didn’t take long to get there.)
Then I realised that the lamb had gone quiet. I looked out the window and I saw the lamb slowly walking down the street.
“HE’S OUT!” I screamed.
The three of us sprang out of our chairs and ran outside.
The lamb continued to slowly wander down the road.
My Mum trurned to my sister and her exact words were:
“Go and get your bike and I’ll phone Dad!”
With that, my Mum and sister both turned and ran back inside. I was left outside, alone, and with the lamb wandering further and further away.
“I suppose I better follow it, or we won’t know where it is” I said to nobody, because nobody was there.
I started to walk briskly after the lamb.
When the lamb saw me walk briskly, he started to run!
So I started to run after the lamb!
So the lamb started to run faster!
So I started to run faster!
So he started to run faster!
This carried on until we were both running faster than I though a lamb could run!
I thought to myself : “Well, at least that growth on his foot’s not bothering him!”
The lamb ran to the corner, over the road and into the school with me in pursuit.
He ran past the music room, around the gym, beside the car park, and behind the science wing. I finally cornered him between the senior science room and the fence on the outside of the school gardens.
I got right up close to the lamb and quickly wrapped my arms tight around him and whispered: “I’m not letting go.” He didn’t try to run again. I think he was tired.
My next dilemma was: What to do next? I knew my family had no idea where I was, and they might be starting to get worried. It was getting closer and closer to the time of the morning that teachers and kids started arriving at school, so I knew that sooner or later SOMEBODY must walk past.
My concern was: What sort of person would walk past first? If it was a teacher or a sensible kid, they would likely offer to help or to find my family. But, if the first person to walk past was a non-sensible kid, I would likely be laughed at and described as: “so uselsss she can’t even get a lamb home” for the rest of the year.
Very quickly I decided that I would try to carry the lamb home by myself. I was not much bigger than the lamb, so it was not going to be easy. At first I thought of picking him up like we picked up our pet rabbits – one hand under the front feet, one hand under the rear end- but my arms refused to loosen their grip around the middle of the lamb. My brain was just not going to let my arms let go of that lamb!
My only option was to keep my arms around the lamb and try to stand up, which I managed to do.
The lambs four chubby, wooly legs pointed out infront of me and I started to stagger in the direction of home.
Very soon I was approaching the corner of the school that was closest to our house. My Mum and my sister were riding around in cricles on their bikes.
Dad was driving towards the us from the driection of town, he’d only just arrived from work to help us.
When my Mum and my sister saw me they dropped their bikes and ran over.
“Let us carry the lamb.” they said.
“NO, I’M FINE!” I replied.
The lamb was returned slowly (by me) to the garden by Mum’s studio. We stopped briefly on the way to talk to Mr W, who was a very kind teacher and just on his way to school.
“Our lamb got out!” I said
“Look at the growth on his foot!” said my sister.
“Have you seen anything like that before?” asked Mum.
“No, no, I teach physics,” said Mr W “but it does look interesting.”
With the lamb back in the garden, Dad and Mum re-tied the wire netting up with many more knots. They purchased a big gate to replace the netting later that week.
I told Mum that I understood why she had phoned Dad to ask him to come home and help catch the lamb. But, what I could not figure out is why she had asked my sister to get her bike, and then got her own bike.
“Well, said Mum “I thought it would be faster if we rounded up the lamb on our bikes.”
“Did you think the lamb would just stay on the road and not go anywhere that you could not ride a bike, Mum?”
“Well, yes dear. I had it all pictured in my head of just how smoohtly everything was going to go. I mean I once saw a horse walking down the road that had got out of it’s paddock, and the people trying to catch the horse just drove up to it in a car, and someone got out and the horse just stood there and let itself be caught.”
“Do you think that horse might have been a bit better behaved than our lamb, Mum?”
“Well, I just thought, and I had to think of this in a hurry, that if someone can catch a horse with a car, why couldn’t we catch our lamb with our bikes?”
We taught the lamb to drink milk while standing with his foot soaking in a bucket of the vet’s stuff. The growth eventually dissappeared from his foot.
Mum was worried that the neighbours would complain about how loud he was. When none of the neighbours complained, Mum went to visit them and ask them why they hadn’t complained. It turned out that our neighbours could hardly hear the lamb. When he went “BAAAAAAA!”, he was throwing his voice straight at our dining room window!