THE LOST SHEEP
Grandpa finished reading his little Megan a bedtime story. The little girl told her Grandpa, “I am not sleepy yet.” “Will you read me another story?” Grandpa replied, “No, no, I have to go to sleep. It is past my bedtime too.” Megan then remarked, “But Grandpa, I cannot go to sleep now.” Grandpa said, “Do you know what I do when I cannot go to sleep? “ “No”, said the little girl. “What do you do Grandpa?” Then Grandpa replied, “I count sheep!” The little girl asked, “Does that really work?” Grandpa said, “Sure it does! The trick is to keep your eyes closed while you count. Now you try it. I bet you will be asleep in no time!” Then Grandpa kissed Megan on the cheek, turned the light out, and told her, “Goodnight.”
Megan lay there with her eyes closed and began to count. “1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep, 4 sheep, ……5 sheep, 6 sheep…7 sheep, …….8 sheep, 9 sheep”, and then she stopped. She could not remember the next number. The little girl knew the number, but just could not remember it. So, she decided to skip it and go on to the numbers that follow the number she could not remember, “11 sheep, 12 sheep, and 13 sheep.”
Then she felt a tap on her shoulder and a voice said, “Excuse me! Excuse me!” Megan was afraid to open her eyes, but she did. Standing on her pillow looking right at her was a sheep. The sheep told her, “You know you skipped me when you were counting sheep.” The little girl sat straight up and asked, “Who are you?” The sheep replied, “I am 10”. Then the little girl asked, “How did you get here?” The sheep replied, “ I got here because you skipped me. You see all of the other sheep you counted jumped over the fence. You did not count me so now I am lost, still on this side of the fence talking to you. Do you think you could count me, so that I may join the other sheep?”
Megan looked closer at the sheep and sure enough, there was a big 10 written on both sides of the sheep. Then the sheep told her, “You know, it is just not fair that you let 11, 12, and 13 go ahead of me. After all, I am number 10 you know.” Then the little girl said, “I am so sorry but I just could not remember your number! I did not mean to do it.” “Now, I don’t know how to undo it!” Sheep 10 then said, “Undoing it is easy. Just count backwards starting with 13 until you get back to number 10. Then say 10 sheep, and I can jump over the fence in the order I am suppose to, and everybody is happy.”
“So, will you do it?” said sheep 10. The little girl readily agrees, “Yes, of course I will do it!” So she started counting, “13 sheep, 12 sheep, and 11 sheep” Then Megan said, “Nothing is happening.” Sheep 10 then says “Of course not!” “Remember what your Grandfather said. The trick is you have to keep your eyes closed.” So, closing her eyes, Megan began to count backwards again. “13 sheep, 12 sheep, 11sheep,” Then she stopped and opened her eyes. There were now four sheep standing on her pillow, all lost and waiting, to jump back over the fence. All four of the sheep said, “What are you doing? Hurry up and get us over the fence. At this rate you will never get to sleep and it will soon be morning.” And then sheep 11 and 12 said, “And when do you expect us to sleep? You know we sheep have to sleep during the day, while little girls and boys are awake.”
Now this made perfect sense to the little girl, so she said, “Okay, okay, I will start counting again.” Then sheep 13 said, “Before I go, I just want to let you know that 13 is not an unlucky number like people seem to think. As a matter of fact, I have had a very lucky life.” Then Megan said, “You have! How so?” Then sheep 13 says, “I have had a lucky life, because I get to meet little girls like you.” The little girl then said, “You have met other little girls too?” “Yes”, says number 13, “And little boys too! You don’t think little girls are the only ones who forget how to count do you?” Then the other sheep told sheep 13 to stop talking so much and also told the little girl to start counting, so we can all get some sleep! The little girl lay back down, closed her eyes, and started counting where she left off, “10 sheep, 11 sheep, 12 sheep, 13 sheep, and 14 sheep…………..15 sheep”, and she finally drifted off to sleep, after watching each one of her new friends jump the fence to join the other sheep.
“Honey” “Wake up!” “It’s Grandpa.” “Your Mom is here to pick you up, Honey” Megan began to wake, and gave a big yawn. She then said, “Grandpa, you were right! Counting sheep does work! And another thing you were right about………you have to keep your eyes shut, but if you mess up on the count, before you know it, you will have talking sheep in your bed!” Grandpa said, “Boy, it sounds like you had quite a night. Now your Mom will be in shortly to help you get ready.” Then Grandpa got up to leave the room. He paused, looked around, and said, “I love you Honey.” Megan replied “I love you too Grandpa.” Then Grandpa left the room. Then the little girl whispered to herself, “I don’t think Grandpa really believed me about the sheep.” Just at that moment, Grandpa poked his head back into the room and said “Honey?” “Yes Grandpa?” Did you get to meet sheep 13?” “How did you know Grandpa?” Grandpa then replied, “13 was my favorite little talking sheep when I was a boy!
BY STEPHEN R. JORDAN
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