Once upon a time there was a wide green valley at the edge of a forest. In this valley lived a peaceful flock of sheep, guarded by a collie dog.
The sheep loved the collie dog very much. They saw him as gentle and wise. He would listen to their problems, and help out wherever he could. He would help them find food. He would get them unstuck from bramble bushes. He would circle the flock every day, around and around, barking to let them know when one had wandered off too far. The little lambs would beg him to play. And even though the collie dog was always busy, he always found time to chase the little lambs and pounce on them and tickle them, to their delight.
The collie dog had been protecting the sheep for many, many years. He had seen wolves and bears and mountain lions in the forest. He had seen these predators carry off sheep and kill them and eat them. He did not ever want that to happen again. At night he told the sheep stories of the dangers in the forest, so they would know what to be alert for while he slept.
The sheep had been protected for so long, many of them had forgotten what a predator looked like. Some had lived their whole lives without ever seeing one.
Gradually, the sheep began to grow restless. They wanted to wander from the valley and decide for themselves where to go. Some of the sheep rolled their eyes when the collie dog barked at them. Some of them bleated back.
And then, without anyone realizing where it had come from, the idea began to spread that the collie dog was imprisoning them.
"The collie dog is so terribly rude with his loud barking!" one sheep said.
"I feel afraid when he tells those awful stories," said another.
"Sometimes I see him yawn, and I see his wide mouth and huge sharp teeth, and know he's not really yawning, he's threatening me," said another.
"I'm not comfortable letting the lambs be near him," said another.
The sheep continued to murmur. Each day they would discuss the collie dog, analyzing his behavior to unravel the true motivation behind it. They gathered as far away from him as the valley would allow. And the less they saw of him, the more their memories changed. Each day they remembered something else the collie dog had done that was horrible. And whichever sheep recalled the most horrible memory would be praised by the flock.
Some sheep still remembered the predators, or had lost loved ones to their attacks, and tried to warn the others. They were ostracized. Fools who believed the collie dog's obvious lies. Traitors to the flock. Some sheep went missing by the morning. The collie dog was blamed.
Finally the sheep voted to declare their independence. They elected a representative, who led the flock to confront the collie dog. They told him all they had uncovered about his tyrannical behavior, and ordered him to leave.
The collie dog was shocked, confused, and deeply hurt. He tried to plead his case.
The flock's representative rushed forward and butted the collie dog with his horns. And in a flash, all the other sheep rushed forward too.
There followed a terrible chaos.
Afterward, the collie dog lay bruised and defeated. He picked himself up and limped away, out of the valley. When he looked back, the sheep jeered at him and kicked dirt. Some, who had kept silent, wanted to leave and follow the collie dog. But they dared not in front of the others.
That night, the sheep celebrated their freedom. Now they could do whatever they wanted! Go and see and say and think whatever they wanted, with nobody to stop them!
In the morning, a pack of wolves appeared at the edge of the forest.
The sheep went out to greet them warmly, apologizing for the terrible lies they had been told about their kind.
The survivors blamed the collie dog.
1 month ago
18 Aug 2021 00:03 CEST