PostScripts from Blessing

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

Dec 19, 1902 A Sheepish Christmas Installment 3

A Sheepish Christmas
Jesse N. Visser
Installment Three

In what seemed like seconds, the two people who had come in earlier had become three.

The donkey made himself a comfortable place to lay near the people with whom he had come, and the cats that were once oblivious to the people, were now curiously sniffing the air around the new baby. Daniel couldn’t help but stare, until he was jolted out of a daze. A cow and two goats were making their way in, along with three ducks, two pigs, and a sheep. He looked around in shock to see that all these barn animals had managed to arrive at this stable at the same time unnoticed, all to crowd around the newborn baby. No animal bumped into another and none of them appeared frightened.

But there was something about the single sheep; it seemed familiar to Daniel. “It’s that stubborn sheep!” Daniel exclaimed to himself, “How did he get out?” he questioned. Daniel was sure he locked the gate good and tight, and yet that sheep managed to escape…again. Daniel shook his head in disappointment, but then he was confused, why was that sheep here? Could he smell Daniel? He wasn’t sniffing around as if he was looking for him. He was content with the other animals; actually that was the first time that sheep had ever been content standing still!

Daniel was trying to reason why that sheep was here, especially with other animals that he usually would fight with, then he thought back to when he was first leaving. He remembered that he woke the sheep, and that it wanted to go with him, which was peculiar since earlier that day the sheep didn’t even want to stand next to him for more that a minute. It all didn’t make sense.

Daniel turned his attention back to the family. The man was building a little place for the baby to sleep, as the lady rocked side to side with the baby in her arms, holding it extra close, and the cats curiously crept closer. Daniel rested his chin in his palm that was propped up on an old feeding trough. He couldn’t help but stare for some reason. He had seen plenty of babies before, but this one was different. He felt like one of the barn animals that had come in, just watching and ignoring his surroundings. Daniel didn’t feel lonely anymore.

He looked around at the curious scenery, and wondered what it was like at his own home. He wondered if they all were still asleep, or if maybe his father had woken up to the noise that was made by the sheep escaping, realized that he and the sheep were gone and went looking for the both of them. He wondered if they would find him here at the stable if they did look. Maybe the sheep would give him away, and he would be in even bigger trouble. Daniel cringed at the thought and gave the stubborn sheep a glare; after all, this whole thing wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for that stubborn sheep.

But it too seemed different, it wasn’t hyper or mischievous. How could that sheep be peaceful? But it surely seemed to have a peaceful look. A frown crossed Daniel’s face. Was the sheep only a miserable chore of an animal when Daniel was around? Daniel sighed in defeat and decided to leave his thoughts about it at that. He decided that since the family was obviously going to stay there, then he would eventually have to find another place to stay. His hiding place wouldn’t be so discreet in daylight after all.

He looked around behind him to see if there would be an alternate exit way. There was a small, thin doorway about four feet tall that he could squeeze through when he decided to leave.

Daniel thought that he would go back home when he left. He figured that he had been gone long enough. After seeing the family, his troubles didn’t seem so severe after all. Daniel watched, as they made themselves comfortable for the night. He silently yawned and quietly put all of his things in his bag. He decided that he should start heading back home, so he took his bag and slowly pulled the small door towards him. He looked back once more and saw that sheep sniffing the air around him just like before when he wanted to go with Daniel.

“That’s strange,” Daniel thought to himself, but he then ignored the sheep just like before. He started to crawl out when he heard something outside. Looking around, he noticed one big shadow moving towards the stable. Daniel gulped and shut the little door, crouching in the corner. He didn’t know what the shadow was, but he knew he didn’t want to be seen, especially while he was trying to get out.

A quick peek showed all the animals were crowded around the now-sleeping baby, and they were as they were before—peaceful—as if they didn’t even see what was coming up behind them. Daniel heard mumbling and murmuring coming from the approaching big shadow. What was it?

Then he heard a rustling in the bushes, Daniel blinked and swallowed hard as he braced himself for what was getting closer and closer to the stable…