Once upon a time there was a shepherd that went about tending his flock as any loving shepherd would. He was known by other shepherds around the valley as the Good Shepherd, and for a noble cause too. He was once known to leave his abundant flock just to find one that had run off; for many dangers lurked about near Valleyhill, and it was always necessary to seek out that lamb to save it.
One of those many dangers was a trio of wolves, who had terrorized all the shepherds by stealing and eating any lamb they could come upon. The first wolf was tall and skinny; and as it was his position as the leader, he wore a hat with a red feather. He led the group up the hill to spot out the sheep in the valley. A bigger wolf followed behind him; and if you could look at this one, you could tell immediately that he was as dumb as a rock-although the rock would easily out-smart him on any given day. Behind that wolf was a short wolf, whose girth resembled a ball, and made it his point to tell the other two to slow down.
“Stop moving so quickly,” replied the short wolf, “I can’t keep up.”
“Silence or the shepherds will here you,” said the skinny wolf, “The last thing we need is to give our position away-you know what happen to our cousin last week.”
“A crying shame,” said the big wolf, “An axe right through the-“
The skinny wolf held up his finger to his lips as a little lamb came trotting near the bottom of the hill. All three wanted nothing more than to assail the animal, but the skinny wolf had bigger plans in mind.
“One lamb a day doesn’t pay. I got a plan for a big score: we’re going to take an entire flock.”
“Impossible,” said the short wolf, “no predator has done it.”
“Yeah,” said the big wolf, concurring, “We’ll end up like our cousin who got the axe right through the-“
Again the skinny wolf put his finger to his lips.
“Let us forget the fate of our cousin. We need to decide which flock to attack.”
The three wolves scanned the valley below. The flock nearest to them only had ten sheep, which was not the big score they were looking for. The next pen had a larger amount of sheep, but that shepherd was the one that put the axe right through their cousin’s-well, let’s just say they rejected that flock. The short wolf pointed out the biggest flock of all.
“How about that one?” said the short wolf.
“A large flock indeed,” said the skinny wolf, “I heard about that shepherd: they call him the Good Shepherd. I think his flock is fitting for our purposes.”
“When will we strike?”
“Tonight,” said the skinny wolf.
And that was the end of that.
The night came quickly and the wolves put their plan into action. The deed, although foul and devilish, was done with precision. The short wolf was the bait. He alarmed all the shepherds and they chased him over the hillside. At this point the other two wolves unlocked the gate and drove the good shepherd’s entire flock over the hillside in the other direction. By the time all the shepherds returned it was apparent that one of them was missing a flock.
By and by the three wolves reveled in the success and joked about it secretly in their cave.
“Look at all these sheep, a grand feast awaits us tonight,” said the skinny wolf.
“I should get first choice of the sheep,” said the short wolf, ” I was nearly killed last night like our cousin.”
The three continued to talk, until they heard footsteps coming yonder. The skinny wolf told the short wolf to stay behind as they went out to see what was lurking. They found a single shepherd (that is the good shepherd) drawing closer; for he had a good hunch that the trio had taken his flock and sought out his sheep as any good shepherd would.
“What do you think he wants?” asked the big wolf.
“Can’t be much,” said the skinny one, “He comes alone-and unarmed too!”
The shepherd stood before the two and addressed them as such:
“I have come for my flock. I know you have them.”
“What we have is ours,” said the skinny wolf, “Coming alone was foolish. Be gone, before we rough you up.”
“I know how dirty you three are and I am willing to offer a substitute for my flock that even you cannot dismiss.”
“What is your substitute even though nothing can replace a meal of one hundred sheep?”
“Myself,” said the shepherd, ” My blood for their blood.”
The notion nearly sent the two wolves to a faint. The proposal was so extreme that they call the short wolf over for a council. The three wolves huddled together and spoke as thus,
“He’s offering himself?” said the short wolf, “That’s crazy!”
“Crazy or not, I haven’t eaten a man in ten years,” said the skinny wolf.
“But is a man’s flesh better than a lamb’s?” replied the big wolf.
“Yes, and richer too,” said the skinny wolf, wiping the saliva from his accursed jaw.
All three return a glare at the shepherd. It was agreed that once the flock was released that the shepherd would guide them back to the pen. When night would arrive, he would return to the cave. The shepherd came willing that night to the wolves’ surprise; for they had thought he had lied, but a good shepherd does no such thing. The trio looked on as the shepherd came closer to the cave, each licking their chops and dreaming of what parts to consume first. Finally he was in the mist of the trio.
“I just want to say one thing shepherd” said the skinny wolf, taking off his hat ” I have never know any shepherd as noble and courageous-I’ still going to eat you, but I just want you to know I respect you.”
The shepherd said nothing as he walked into the dark cave and the wolves followed and did as they desired. They next morning came the three wolves, belching from their drunken splurge of meat and blood; each one had a fat belly. The short wolf held his belly in pain, for he had a tummy ache from eating too much of the man. The skinny wolf smiled as he picked his teeth with a rib bone.
“Ugh, too much,” said the short wolf, “too much.”
“Oh, be quiet,” said the skinny wolf, “He was worth every bite and when our food digest, guess what we’re going to do.”
“What,” said the big wolf.
“Get the sheep.”
Now this plan seemed a good one, and all was going well with the wolves; until they saw a certain man coming up the path with a particular instrument in his hands. The skinny wolves eyes enlarged with terror, for this was the shepherd who took his axe and whacked it right through their cousin’s-well lets just say he wasn’t there to talk.
All three wolves ran, and they would have gotten far; but because of the heaviness of their, they were not able to flee from the man. The short wolf was the first to feel the strike of the axe, and that’s all I will say of him. The big wolf was the second, and even tried crying for mercy, but the shepherd with the axe knew it was only vain tears. With two whacks of his axe he finished off the big wolf. The skinny wolf was last of all, and finding that he could not outrun the shepherd, the tried a hand a diplomacy.
“Wait, shepherd, wait,” cried the skinny wolf, “He gave his life willing. I’m innocent-INNOCENT!”
The shepherd raised the axe high and it came down with a terrible whack right through that wolf’s-well let’s just say he got what was coming to him.
Tales such as this are not joyous ones; but let us not forget the shepherd who gave his life for his flock. There is a Good Shepherd that has given his life; and yet He is not dead as the one shepherd you have just read about. If you don’t believe me take the time, by and by, to read the Good Book that speaks of the Good Shepherd and you’ll see that he gave his life for His sheep, and even for a single lamb, which is you.