Sebastopol looked up at Pogue the elf, who was playing a tune on his lyre as he smoked his pipe. For a moment Seb, as he was known to the other sheep, was bewildered by the music. Then, as Pogue played on, Seb and the rest of the flock became enchanted by the beautiful sound that seemed to fly like a magical breeze around the elf. The music rose with the smoke from the elf’s pipe joining the clouds who themselves appeared altered in some way by the music. It was as if they were drawn into a hypnosis that made them equally happy and sad with each changing note.
“I wish I could make that sound” said Seb. The other sheep all nodded and baa’d in agreement.
Pogue stopped playing for a moment, removed the pipe from his mouth and puffed the shape of a cloud that turned into a lamb appearing to jump. “Why there’s nothing as glorious as the sound lambs make when playing on the hills,” he said appearing to talk to all the sheep as well as himself. “I have heard the sea tumble into the rocks of Ballybunion. Desert winds steel around the pyramids in Egypt. Coyotes call across the Grand Canyon at midnight. But the lambs playing in spring? For me this sound captures the sanctity of life.”
The flock listened to Pogue who somehow always made them feel better about themselves. “We will miss you Pogue, when you leave for the western shores with your kin,” said Sebastopol.
Pogue smiled at his friends and nodded with a look that returned the compliment. He then played again and watched the sheep dance.
Several years passed and the stories of Pogue became legendary among the Highland flocks. Although many of the lambs grew up not really believing the stories of music and magic. Then one day in spring, as the lambs were calling across the moors, Pogue returned to the flock. By this time Seb had died and none of the sheep recognised Pogue. But as soon as they heard the beautiful sound of his lyre and saw the mysterious elf smoking his pipe, something inside them understood. Their shepherd had returned.
©DMM “The Shepherds Return” #inspirational_photograph by: @eastwestphotos