Leo liked the smell of the fresh manure;
he loved all the little animals.
But it was the loneliness of the place that
pricked at his angelic heart.
He hummed a little,
and picked up another shovel-full of hay;
the sheep came to nuzzle
his angel's gauzy gown.
Leo had names for all of them, and
carried them to the Father, when they
died. But, as always, Leo had to come
right back to Earth;
it was his assignment,
for the past four hundred
years: in this little hamlet, far far away
from Heaven, and Home.
The Angelic Host were usually
sent on Assignements in pairs: for
protection against the ambush of demons,
and for sweet companionship,
on alien, sin-filled Earth.
But the Father, this time, had chosen
for Leo to go alone to Earth....for
some indeterminate Time, only known
Leo sighed; he was feeling desolate, again.
Another fuzzy sheep, just a lamb
really, gave a little noise and gently
lay at his bare feet. Leo chuckled;
he bent down to scratch behind the
little lamb's soft ear, and spoke softly.
There were humans around, but none
could see or hear Leo....and Leo could
not befriend them; it was like standing
outside a city, where people were
living, and talking, and laughing togther:
he could watch them,
but he was not allowed to go
inside the walled city.
The wind whistled across the hills
of pasture where the sheep were
grazing, and feeding: chilly, and
damp. Leo continued shoveling
more hay into the feeding trough; it
was nestled inside the cave, and used
for feeding the animals on the cold,
dismal nights. Just now, the wintery
weak sun was beginning to sink into the
Earth's cloudy sky: soon it would
be another long, lonely night
spent in the cave
with only the little sheep,
and a few oxen,
and perhaps a stray donkey,
Suddenly a bright warm light shone
inside the musty cave. Leo stopped
shoveling hay, and looked up at the
entrance. What was it?
All of a sudden, something fell,
rather abruptly, into a pile of manure
right in front of the entrance of the
Leo was a little startled: was what
it....a big BIRD? A human....jumping
from a nearby TREE? Leo scratched
his head: pushing his halo back up
over his small brows. Humans didn't
usually do things like that, unless they
were little children playing.
The pile of manure suddenly moved.
Leo didn't know what to do; he wasn't
supposed to help humans, unless the
Father commanded him so....and, then
only on very special occasions. But
Leo had heard nothing so far,
What should he DO?
The manure pile moved again; feathers
were sticking out, but there was no
beak, or bird-like sounds.
Nobody on Earth, in this tiny little
village, so far away from Home, knew
his NAME! Leo put down his shovel,
and with a little lamb around his
shoulders, stepped over to the entrance
of the cave.
A plump face was gazing up, from the
lumpy, smelly pile of manure.
"Can you help me.....UP?"
Leo nodded, and stared;
humans could never see,
hear, or talk with him.
He squatted down, and reached out
"Here ya.. GO!
Are you......from the VILLAGE?"
Can't you tell that I'm an ANGEL?"
Leo squinted. His loneliness was all
forgotten: was this a FRIEND...,
"Do you see my.........HALO?
It fell off....upon LANDING!
Maybe it's here, in the MUD!"
The little plump,
rather plain, person scrambled out
of the sticky manure; he did have
wings, but one of them was badly
Leo helped the little creature stand aright;
then he noticed, with great joy, that
he was looking at a fellow angel.
"What's your.........NAME? It looks
like you hurt one 'a your wings....
coming down here!"
"Uh, uh! It ain't HURT!
I was CREATED...that way!
My name's BRAVE-HEART!"
Leo reached out and hugged the
little manure-covered angel: bent
wing, and all.
I'm SO GLAD...to see YOU!
Did you come to take me....HOME?
I've been so.....LONELY...here!"
The little plump angel limped about;
he obviously couldn't fly that well,
due to his bent wing. He didn't know
how to walk that well, on Earth,
"Uh, uh! I don't THINK so....?
I'm not SURE!
I was on my CLOUD....just takin'a
NAP...when the Father suddenly summoned me
to the Throne Room...and gave me
Did you see.........
Leo was so happy to see somebody that
he could talk to,
that he just started chatting,
and laughing happily.
"Oh, we'll FIND IT!
I'm so HAPPY...to SEE you!
When are we goin' HOME?"
Brave-Heart had mud, and manure
all over his cherubic cheeks, but he
didn't seem to care. He was just
beaming a big angelic smile.
"Don't KNOW, Leo!
The Father just TOLD me...to come
Leo scooted down in the mud: looking
about for his new friend's halo; it was
stuck in a fresh-smelling, newly
made mound of manure. But it still
held its bright, warm light.
"But....all I'm doin' is making sure
the ANIMALS...get inside to get
Brave-Heart accepted the muddy,
smelly halo from Leo's hand, and
clumsily tossed it over his head.
From out of nowhere, Brave-Heart
pulled a little shovel out from behind
his good wing; he didn't seem a bit
worn out from his trip, or falling
into the manure pile.
We got WORK to do!"
Leo run a hand through his ruffled
brown hair: his own halo slipping down
again onto one side of his cherubic face.
understand? The Father didn't
tell you anything...ELSE...we were
supposed to do?"
Brave-Heart was already busy shoveling;
he smelled just like the small, warm
cave, and already, two of the lambs
were following him around like baby
ducks. He was whistling a little tune,
"Uh, uh! All I was told was to come
on down here....and help you put fresh
HAY in the TROUGH!"
Leo scratched behind his own left
wing, with a puzzled smile on his contented
face. All the loneliness of the past
four hundred years was gone. He
had a buddy.
Brave-Heart limped over to pick up
some more fresh hay: his bent wing
always made him walk a little eskew.
Only the FATHER....KNOWS!"
Leo picked up his shovel, once more.
The wind outside was still chilly and
cold, but he didn't mind it anymore;
he had a friend. The sun was shining
again, in his heart.
she brought forth