* * The poetry of Ruth T. Whittlesey * *

The Sheep

A great and good Proprietor had sheep in folds galore.

He put an overseer in charge, as He had done before.

This overseer was very good except when he was bad-

He had a shepherd for each flock-the youngest but a lad.

He said, "This smallest flock is sick and half of them have died:

The former shepherd was ill too-and maybe hasn't tried;

Do what you can to save the flock-the climate here is cold.

We do not hope for many lambs but we may save the old."

This lovely lad worked day and night, and all the sheep got well.

He met a girl out on the hills nursing a lamb that fell.

She loved the lambs, she cherished them as if they were her own-

And so they started life anew as soon as they were grown.

A wicked thief came in at night as often he had done-

They fought him madly side by side, and in the end they won.

The sheep were well; the lambs were safe; the flock just grew and grew.

The overseer had a friend who wanted them, he knew.

So this good man was sent away-his young wife cried and cried.

The little lambs went after them-and would not turn aside.

The shepherd said, "I am no thief"-and took them back again.

They tried to follow afar off and scattered in the rain.

The wicked thief got quite a few-the old caught cold and died;

The new man didn't know his flock; the Proprietor just cried.

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