The older sheep circle have been concerned at the young sheep’s attitude.
“I have been sheared more than ten times in my life,” One older sheep intoned in his grim voice. “I never complained!”
“I agree with brother long-beard,” Another sheep supported. “Young ones need to develop some stoicism. Otherwise, what is the point of being a sheep? I have endured through so many storms in my life. I have never even thought of anything like that. I condemn this thought process and anyone who bears and supports it!”
Other old sheep shook their heads as he finished. “Yes, we condemn this thought process!” They all spoke in unison.
The younger sheep circle were quite volatile as opposed to the older ones. They believed in a crueler form of justice. An-eye-for-an-eye is what they wanted. An absolute obliteration of the shepherd’s tyranny. They were ready to pay the price. Whatever it maybe, but must be served, is the form of justice they desired. Cruelty rises when it is answered with kindness and passivity. Tyranny is best faced with courage. Courage shoves it into the ground where it belongs.
However, the one with the resolve and common sense never took part in any of such discussions. He lied silently in a corner. Away from discussions of fatalism and mutiny, his mind processed every bit of information he had gathered in last few years. He knew what he said in the morning. He knew the gravity of it. It is not just the death of shepherd he was contemplating but also the after effects of it that made his mood grim.
Anarchy is the mother of chaos. Moreover, there must be a plan to contain that chaos.
Nevertheless, Nattu thought methodically.
Q: How does a shepherd die?
A: Somebody has to kill him.
Q: Can you do it?
A: No! You are a sheep; you can’t kill a man! You are as harmless as anyone can be.
Q: How do you kill him then?
A: You don’t. You get someone else to kill him.
Kudos to How-How analysis!
In the hour, when darkness had fallen over the village and light had retrieved to another part of the world, Nattu jumped the walls of the barn. Another male sheep jumped after him.
It was cold out here. White-nose shivered as he followed Nattu on a trail leading into the darkness. He looked around. Among the heavy clouds, moon spread his light like a bulb trapped in a translucent glass cage. Worms chirped around them. It was scary. He looked at Nattu. He was as passive as a stone. They kept walking and walking, and then the trail ended. They climbed a slope and then followed a plane road among the trees. They walked down a slope and then climbed another one. This time sharper and stonier.
Along the way, white-nose had been presuming at every turn at transition. Maybe this is where we stop. Maybe this is our destination! But they did not stop at any of those landmarks. However, when they did, his prayers took a U-turn. No, no. No, no, no, no! Not here! Of all the places, not here! I did not even say goodbye to my girlfriend.
They stood in front of a large cave. It’s mouth thrice the size of a sheep. Its length seemed infinite. Even Nattu quivered with fear as he looked around. They were in a small ditch. Stones grew around them unevenly. The easiest way out of the ditch was the cave, and the cave smelled of death. Nattu mustered his spilled-around guts and pushed a small piece of rock towards the cave’s face. Cluttering, it settled at the face.
A few seconds later, something snarled inside. The grunt grew louder and louder until they saw a breath congeal in the cold air. It shone in dull white before disappearing. Then appeared the eyes. Glittering like a pair of stars in a night sky. A gray beast appeared behind those eyes. It was as big as a dog. But a lot more strong than a dog. Its canine teeth shimmered finding two sheep outside his cave. Party! The wolf lowered his neck and bent his knees. He created a pressure on the ground beneath his front legs.
All we need is a leap, and the sheep are dead before they can say cheese!
“We have a proposition for you,” Nattu blurted out before the wolf could give it a jerk.
It relaxed his legs. Confused, he looked at the naked sheep that stood below his cave. He spoke in his formidable voice, soaked in pride of having a higher position in the food chain. “You are a sheep! What proposition could you have for me? Even if you have a proposition, what makes you think I am interested?”
“Please exercise your detachment after you here our proposition,” Nattu said in a polite manner.
“You see, that is very hard for me to do. You are a sheep without wool. How often do you get a peeled banana?” The wolf said and jumped down. Right in front of Nattu and white-nose. Scared, the sheep haphazardly took a few steps back. The wolf laughed crookedly, enjoying their discomfort. “Anyway, I can spare five minutes! But if I didn’t like your proposition, thanks in advance for the second dinner tonight!”
“We give you the shepherd.” Nattu gathered every bit of his courage as he said that. This is the vision of this deal. If it is not put properly, he may as well be the dumbest sheep ever walked on earth. No wiser sheep would come to a wolf’s cave at this time unless it is suicidal. And sheep aren’t suicidal. Suicide is for wiser people. Dumb people tend to understand the nature of life.
The wolf laughed as if it heard a joke. “The shepherd is not yours to give.”
“Of course not!” Nattu smiled. “But what if I can arrange that? What if I say please come tomorrow when the sun touches the top of the mountain, and I give you the helpless shepherd, ready to die under your clutches? What do you have to say about that?”
“I say I would rather eat two sheep today than regret trusting an over-confident one tomorrow. What do you have to say about that?” The wolf growled.
“Think about it,” Said Nattu. “You trust me, you get human flesh. You can even fetch some remnants to your pack. They may even take you back.”
The wolf stares at Nattu. Who is this little sheep? How does he know I am an outcast?
Nattu shrugged before the wolf could ask. “I hear things!”
“Even if I decide to trust you,” The wolf said. Gone is the pride from his voice. It is softer this time. “How would you ensure that the man would be alone? I have tried before. It doesn’t take him much time to gather five-six more of his kind. I cannot handle all of them at once. I have seen wolves being killed by three humans once. Hard for me to even think of taking on more than two now.”
Nattu smiled villainously. His voice colder than the night and harder than the mountain. “You leave that to me. You just be there when I tell you to be and I promise you will get the man’s flesh.” He said and turned around. White-nose first looked at him, then at the wolf. It was hard for him to comprehend what just happened. Nevertheless, he seemed happy to be making out alive.
The sheep climbed out of the ditch, on their way back to their barn. The wolf stood transfixed at the mouth of his cave. “You may not be the smartest, but I am sure you are the bravest sheep that has ever walked the face of the earth!” The wolf murmured from behind as the sheep disappeared in the darkness of the night.
…To be continued on 20 August 2017.