THE SHEPHERD LAD

       Once upon a time there was a hunchbacked shepherd lad who had ten decrepit sheep, and struggled terribly to make a living. The little wool he had paid for the grazing, and the bit of milk that he struggled to squeeze from the sheep’s udders was made into cheese he exchanged for the few things he lived on.

       One day the sheep were grazing in a narrow gorge where the grass was taller and greener, when an eagle spotted them and took them off one by one and then ate them one by one!

       The poor shepherd lad cried over them for a whole day, and had already tied a rope around a forked olive branch with his head already in the noose that was to wring his neck, when he thought…that this wasn’t right. In a furious rage, he suddenly slipped his head from the gallows howling out: “If I was to kill myself the eagle would only laugh at me! But no!”

       He disguised himself as a sheep, and went back to the narrow gorge where the grass was taller and greener with a large net in his hands; he was in such a fury that he really started to browse the grass! The eagle spotted the strange-looking sheep and hovered in the air before touching the ground to seize the sheep in its talons- the shepherd lad cast the net and caught it like a blackbird.

       Very slowly, he freed one of its wings and furiously chopped it off; he then did the same with the other wing. The eagle was freed and he slapped it around before dragging it off into a narrow, narrow hen-house where there lived but one big Cock who was showing off his magnificent shiny comb.

       The eagle, sunken-eyed and humiliated, stared at the shepherd lad and said: ” What’s got into you? I’m an eagle and must behave like one- that’s nature’s law.”

       “And I’m a shepherd lad; I’m after milk! That’s nature. Milk! Milk! And I want milk from you now, just like my ten little sheep that you took away used to make. I’ll not free you until I get my milk.”

       The poor eagle had to undergo the Cock’s arrogance and bullying and died wretched, closed in the hen-house without ever

being able to…

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