Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Big Bad Wolf and the Gullible Sheep

The flock of sheep stood within the enclosed pen surrounded by tall fencing, peacefully enjoying the sweet green grass and the safety from evil forces lurking outside. Because the sheep were trusting they welcomed the new black sheep into their fold even though they were different; actually, because while the flock all had white wool, and to the naked eye someone might mistake them for being identical, they each had unique personalities.
All of the sheep--black and white-- frolicked and played happily within a set of boundaries that was flexible enough to allow for changes and fresh pastures as the enclosure was moved to fresh fields. However, although everything appeared serene and calm, lurking among them was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so cleverly disguised that not even the shepherd knew a danger lurked within arm’s reach.

Methodically, systematically, meticulously, precisely, whichever word you choose to use, the wolf began to plot his moves. One day the wolf was standing inside the enclosure with all the other sheep and the next day he was on the outside looking in. He was hungry for more than grass but until his trap was set he could only pretend as he tried to forget about his hunger pains.

Even though the black sheep had been accepted into the fold, because of their own insecurities they began to stir and want all the other sheep to try to become like them. They forgot that they chose to ask for recognition and admission into the flock; they weren't recruited to be part of the flock.

Restless in not being able to change white sheep into black sheep grew among the black sheep and the wolf watched as he circled the pen in his sheep’s clothing. He encouraged the black sheep to rebel, to jump the fence and join him in freedom and greener pastures. The black sheep were fearful of the unknown but defiant in wanting their own ways, and this led them to being easily swayed by the hypnotic words of the wolf as he whispered promises of a great future in their ears.

After jumping back and forth over the fence several times and seeing no immediate danger, the black sheep did not return to the enclosure at night but still stayed close to the fence until morning light. Each day they strayed a little farther away from the safety of the flock and safety of the structure the shepherds had provided, getting drunk on the clover, alfalfa, and forbs until their eyes were glazed over and a fog clouded reality.

The wolf continued to wait. He was starved by now but why settle for one of the sheep that had strayed when he could if he waited patiently, savor a feast for weeks and months to come. The black sheep would baa in taunting sounds to the other sheep who watched from the safety of the fencing and under the shepherds' care. Baa…baa…baa!

A frequent alcoholic stupor and the black sheeps' own stupidity in thinking they were invincible, led them farther astray until one day they could no longer see the safety of the enclosure or even find their way back to safety if they had tried. The wolf had managed to cleverly erase all paths back to the safety of the pen and slowly led the black sheep into the wilderness and his own pen with cleverly hidden brambles that would prevent the black sheep from leaving once they were herded inside.

This was not a quick process but eventually the Big Bad Wolf succeeded in luring the self-satisfied, but weak, black sheep into his holding pen. He fed the smug black sheep (they were so proud of themselves--after all, they could defy tradition and order) fattening them up with food and especially drink, knowing that when he relished his first banquet of braised mutton, lamb chops, shanks, flanks, and racks, that he would be victorious over the weaker of breed, those who would normally be culled out of herd because they couldn't play nice with all the other sheep.

Even better than anticipating the feast, the Big Bad Wolf was excited about the day he could throw off the disgusting deceitful disguise that he had endured for so long in order to accomplish what he considered his Pièce de résistance.

The original flock continued on with a long life, cared for by the shepherds, and they were praised not only for their loyalty but they produced the finest wool in all the world; the white sheep were more far more valuable to the shepherds alive than just being fattened up to serve on someone’s dinner plate and inflated ego.

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