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TITLE: A Rooster Crowed
By Donnah Cole

Chapter 1
Sheepling Rivalry
"Cock-a-doooooooodle-doooooo!" screeched the golden red rooster.

My eyes sprang open.


They bounced against my eyelids.

"That ol' pesky rooster," I fussed. "Every cock-a-doodle morning, he wakes me up early. One of these days...You wait and see...One of these days...I'm a gonna send him to the moon!"

"And...how do you plan on doing that, Peter?" Bleater asked as he rolled over in the tall grass.

Annoyed, I looked at Bleater and replied,

"Well-l-l-l, that's a hard one. Um...let me see. Hmmmmm. Maybe I'll just use my horns! What do you think, An-"

"Don't you DARE call me that!" Bleater jumped to his feet and snorted real loud.

Now, little book-lover, let me take the time to tell you why Bleater got so-o-o upset with me just now. You see, we've been brothers for a really long time...since birth actually! We grew up in Bethsaida. (If you don't know where Bethsaida is, I'll give you a hint. The air always smells of salt and every day a nice breeze blows our wool around.)

That's right! Bethsaida is near the sea - the Sea of Galilee. You're so smart!

Anyway, we lived there with our parents, of course. Mama and daddy named me Simon Peter. Most of the time, they called me by my nickname - Pete. They gave Bleater his name 'cause when he was born, he wouldn't stop "baaaa-ing." He "baa'd" if he was hungry. He "baa'd" if he was wet. He "baa'd" even if somebody looked at him wrong. But he really got wound up when somebody called him by his middle name - "Andrew!"

I personally always liked the name Andrew, and therefore, I used it a lot. He sure didn't appreciate my fondness of it though. So, on the rare occasion, when I slipped up and called him "Andrew," Mama would tell me to apologize. I'd look at him with my most pitiful sheep eyes and use my most smart-alecky voice and say,

"I'm sor-eeee...Andy!"

And for some unknown reason, he'd start "baaaaa-ing" all over again. Then the whole flock of sheep would get upset and glare at me. I never did figure out why they glared at me.

"I didn't call him An-drew, Daddy!" I'd cry big sheep tears hoping Daddy would feel sorry for me and not use his huge horns to discipline me. It never worked!

So you see...today, when that ol' rooster crowed, he thought I was gonna call him Andy again. But I really wasn't...I'm telling the truth! Anyway, here's what happened next...

"Calm down, Bleat! Don't get your wool in a wad! I wasn't gonna call you..." I
lowered my voice so the flock wouldn't hear..."Andy."

"Ooooooooooooooooooo!" Bleater charged at me like a raging bull. His eyes were
flaming red and he was spewing red fire out his nose. For a moment, I thought my brother had transformed into a dragon! Dodging his fury, I flung myself over and over and over and over. Yelling at the top of my lungs, I apologized.

"Oh-h-h, Ble-e-a-a-ter...Sor-eeee!


Thank goodness for wool! When I hit the tree, I didn't feel a thing. The only thing I did feel was - dizzy! As I laid on my back, I could see clouds spinning around and around through the empty branches of the dancing tree.

"Whew!" I shook my little sheep head and heard my little sheep brain making jiggly noises. Then, the jiggling stopped and I heard footsteps approaching. There, covering me with His shadow, was the Good Shepherd.

He placed His arms around me, pulled me close to His chest, and started the journey back up the hill. Bleater was watching as we approached. His eyes were brimming with tears.

"Peter." The Good Shepherd's voice captured my attention.

My heart ached to tell Him that it was an accident - that the words just slipped out. They always did it seemed like. I always spoke before I thought! How could He ever forgive me for the stupid things I said?

It was as though He read my mind.

"Love your brother. Forgive and forget. Be kind to each other." He patted His hand over my wooly head before placing me beside my brother.

I put my nose in Bleater's neck, and my tears ran down his fleece. He pushed me away. My heart quickened.

Then our eyes met allowing us to discover the deep bond between us. We were brothers. We were blood-kin. We belonged to the flock of the Good Shepherd. We were His.

We smiled...

then giggled...

then went totally berserk as our laughter became hysterical!

"Come on," I said, "let's see what the others are up to!"

"Yeah, let's go."

We galloped over the dell and found the flock grazing peacefully on the prettiest green pasture.
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