Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)
TITLE: Lily and the Valley of Death
By A. E. Cuthbert
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“He looks like a prized poodle”, Bianca the black sheep mocked.
“Now it really isn’t that bad”, encouraged Sarah sheep. “It is just a little short in places.” She glanced at Sean the sheepdog. He was keeping watch and looking very uncomfortable in new trim.
“Hello there”, exclaimed Lily joyously as she grabbed a mouthful of grass.
“It’s Lily’s first day in the pasture”, Sarah said with a smile. “Are you enjoying it dear?”
“So much”, Lily said with her mouth full.
“Are you excited to go through the valley on the way home?” asked Bianca with a sly smile.
“What valley are you talking about?” Lily asked with another mouthful of grass.
“You don’t know?” Bianca smiled from ear to ear. “Why, on the way home we pass through the dark Valley of Death!” She raised her voice to make it sound scarier. The effect worked. Lily’s face feel and her eyes grew wide.
“We have to go through the Valley of Death on our way home?”
“Sure do, and that is where all the wolves gather. Hope we don’t lose another sheep to them like we did last week.” Lily’s eyes grew even wider.
“W..w…wolves?” she stuttered.
“Don’t listen to her dear”, she Sarah. “The Shepherd takes good care of us through the Valley of Death. We have never once lost a sheep.”
“Well you never know when the record will be broken”, Bianca snuffed.
Lily glanced at the sky. The sun was beginning to set and she suddenly wished that she had never left her warm safe pen at home.
“Time to go sheep”, the Shepherd tapped his long wooden staff on a nearby rock.
The sheep made their attempt to form some sort of line; with Sean helping the stragglers find their places. They slowly made their march off, following the Shepherd. Lily was scared stiff and kept her eye out for anything that might resemble a valley. She watched as the landscape got rockier, and the sweet grass began to disappear. The sunset reflected on the rocks giving it an eerie feel.
They slowed a bit before a very narrow chasm. The high cliff walls seem to be doing their best to keep any amount of sunlight from hitting their dark faces. Lily could not see a blade of grass or a single butterfly.
“The Valley of Death”, whispered Bianca in Lily’s ear. The sheep entered the valley quietly, though none seemed too frightened. The Shepherds eyes roamed the rocks and cliffs along the valley walls. Lily tried to keep up, yet because of her nervous legs, she quickly fell to the back of the line.
“GRRRRR.” Lily froze. There by the side of a large rock with his eyes on her sat a wolf. His fangs were dripping and his red eyes looked with delight on the small helpless lamb before him. He crouched down to pounce, as Lily was unable to run. Her eyes were helplessly fixed on the creature that was about to bring her doom.
“Back foul creature!” called the Shepherd stepping between Lily and the wolf. The wolf eyed the Shepherd and his staff and then made his flying leap at Lily. Yet before he could even reach her, the Shepherd’s staff came cracking down on his head. He howled in pain. Then, to Lily’s amazement, with one clean sweep the Shepherd plunged his staff under the wolf’s body and sent him flying over the valley wall.
“There little one, there is nothing to fear.” The Shepherd reached down and patted Lily on the head. “Off we go!” He announced to the sheep, who had stopped to enjoy the show.
Lily stayed right on the Shepherd's heels all the way through the rest of the valley. She was so happy when they reached the edge and turned to make their way towards home. With the beauty of the sunset in front of her, Lily spotted the Shepherd’s house and her little pen. She would not be afraid of the Valley of Death again.
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