PostScripts from Blessing

The official blog of author Lauraine Snelling and the fictional town of Blessing, North Dakota

12-13 -1902 Installment two A Sheepish Christmas

Installment #2
"A Sheepish Christmas"
Jesse N. Visser

Daniel decided that he must run away.

If he wasn't home, then there wouldn't be a stubborn sheep to lose. So, in the middle of the night, Daniel fumbled around his bed, gathered some of his things, tied them up in a sack, and took his water jug.

As he headed for the doorway, he stepped on a squeaky floorboard and froze in his position. He heard his father mumble something in his sleep and turn over. Daniel sighed in relief and started moving closer and closer to the doorway.

Before he knew it, he was outside, in the silent of night, deciphering which direction he should go. Daniel looked to the left, to the right, and something caught his eye—an unusually bright star sparkling in the sky above him, towards the North.

"I'll follow that!" Daniel said to himself, then realized that all the roads he knew well would take him away from the star, so he didn't bother with roads or walking trails, he just started heading for that star. He began to trudge through the field when he looked back to see his home one last time. He could barely see an outline of it in the void of midnight. A bump rose in his throat and it was hard to swallow.

As he passed the gate where all the sheep were, suddenly that stubborn sheep that had given Daniel so much trouble before lifted its head to look at Daniel and gave a snort. Daniel did nothing but glare at the sheep; it pushed and prodded the lock on the gate, hinting to Daniel that he wanted to go out.

"I wouldn't count on it if I were you, I secured it pretty tight," Daniel bragged to the sheep. It prodded again, and looked in the direction that Daniel was headed. "No, you can't come with me; you'll just run away again." But the stubborn sheep wasn't stopping, he kept nudging the lock, and looking toward the North. "Yes, I'm going that way, following that star, to…" Daniel stopped himself. He was explaining what he was doing to a sheep that didn't understand him, and didn't care! "Why am I telling you, of all creatures to tell?" Daniel continued.

He noticed the sheep was now sniffing around, looking for somewhere to escape. "Bother," Daniel murmured, and kept walking. He walked through bushes, tip-toed through gardens, and climbed up various sizes of hills, all just to follow a lone star, still shining abnormally bright. While he walked he thought about his father and that stubborn sheep. If only his father had given him another chance! If only that sheep were not so stubborn!

Just as he was able to walk freely on flat ground, he stepped in a deep hole, and tumbled to the ground. "Mud! Oh, that's wonderful!" It seemed he would never get to where that star was shining, but he couldn't give up. After all, he had already run away, and given that stubborn sheep his goodbyes. That sheep! He certainly never wanted to see that sheep again. He wiped off his sandal, and stood back up, now walking more lightly, and cautiously.

As he continued plodding along, Daniel looked around at all the houses, and took in the quiet air. He had always wondered what it was like to be the only person alive, and now he was getting that lonely feeling. He looked at the star and the city abroad. He noticed a small stable a short distance away was catching small glimmers from the star.

"Then that's where I'll stay," Daniel decided. His feet were tired and he was beginning to wonder if running away had been a good idea. He made his way down the hill into a familiar village that seemed to be a busy place during the day and headed towards the stable.

Once he reached the stable, he looked around. There were a few cats and feeding troughs, but no farm animals. He made his way into the back, set his things on the ground, and pushed around some hay, that was lying freely, to make a small bed; he emptied his sack that contained some food, a blanket, and extra clothes. Daniel felt even more lonely. He put the food back in the sack, and spread the blanket over his legs as he sat on his new bed.

"I don't really have much of an appetite, and neither would you if what happened to me happened to you," Daniel explained to one of the cats who stared at him unblinking. "You know, you do one thing wrong, and then you're shunned. I'll bet that doesn't happen to cats, does it?" The cat regarded Daniel for a moment, and then went back to licking its paws.

Even though he was lonely and kind of afraid, Daniel felt his eyes closing. He was so tired. When he saw the light from the opening door at the inn, his eyes flew open and he ducked. He saw two people, one on a donkey, but they were being shunned by the inn keeper, and started heading for the stable.

"Oh no! I'll be caught!" Daniel panicked. As they came closer, Daniel scooted his things and his new bed behind some feeding troughs. They came into the stable, and let the donkey roam. It sniffed around the feeding troughs. Daniel tried to shoo it away. He didn't even realize what was happening to the people, meanwhile, but once he looked beyond the curious donkey, Daniel couldn't believe what he was seeing. His eyes widened…