In 6th grade a classmate invited me and my friends to her house for a birthday party. She lived in what is affectionately deemed “The Country.” Her parents had a lot of land and a lot of occupants on said land. These included a few horses, some sheep, chickens, and, if memory serves, a llama. The party occurred near Easter time, so arts and crafts for the day consisted of decorating hollow egg shells with yellow dyed cotton balls, colored construction paper and markers to somewhat resemble baby chickens. I failed wildly at this task, as four other girls and I became engrossed in another (perfectly logical) project: chase the sheep around the yard in an attempt to corner one. We ran back and forth, to and fro, in circles around the yard. Every time we managed to isolate one sheep from the other five, it would bleat, violently swing its head around, alarm playing in its eyes, and leap off and away. The five of us would shriek, run a few steps clear of the sheep, and then persist in our quest, once again harassing the sheep. Eventually, we did manage to corner a sheep. My friends and I advanced, slowly, in an arc, the sheep retreating until against a corner of the fence. Hands out, crazed smiles on our faces, we progressed, lessening the space between ourselves and the two-hundred-pound wooly beast before us. The sheep swerved its head, assessing the situation. The situation being, of course, six 6th grade girls walking empty-handed towards a weighty, dim-witted animal with no reverence for what young girls might consider fun. The sheep glanced at us, terror reflecting in its eyes. I watched as the dirty white mass at least twice my size soared through the air towards me. And then I was on the ground on my back, looking up in shock at the sheep’s face less than six inches from my own. Its eyes yellow, its ears upright, its elongated snout hovering above me, it exhaled and my nostrils were accosted with a semi-pungent grass scent. The sheep’s front hooves were on my chest (this might have been painful except that I had absolutely no breasts to boast of), and hind hooves on my thighs. It raised its head, bleated loudly, the noise echoing in my ears, and bounded away, hurdling itself towards the other sheep some distance away. Immediately my friends swooped down upon me to find me laughing. In no way was I damaged. However, I do believe (I hope, at least), my brain became slightly more intelligent that day. I’m hoping some brain cells were knocked into my head with the fall.
Disclaimer: no animals were harmed in the schematics of our mission. Harassment was solely in the form of chase-and-yell. No rocks were thrown, no sticks were wielded, and no rabid attacks by humans on sheep occurred.
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