Saturday, October 11, 2008

No Colour Baa

In these times, when skin colour, religion and ethnicity seem to be an obsession with humans, it is pleasant to report that in the animal kingdom, (mutton division), no such problem exists.
My somewhat charmingly eccentric neighbour, Jean-Paul, has a varied selection of livestock in his paddocks, to whit: two mountain goats, twelve donkeys, three Cameroon sheep, two Alpacas and a Baker’s dozen of very black sheep.
Amongst this flock there is a rotund and well padded female that goes by the unlikely name, for a French sheep that is, of ‘Sheepy.’ Apparently Sheepy was a domestic pet but she grew too large to get in and out of the family Renault and so was, so to speak, put out to grass among Jean-Paul’s flock.
Rather as do many British matrons, when let loose south of the English Channel, Sheepy revelled in her new found freedom, loosened her stays, unhooked her corsets and forsook her formerly blameless existence for one of hedonistic delights.
The result was that, the other day, she produced a snowy white lamb.
Questions were asked, of course, but she repeatedly responded with a ‘baa’ or occasionally a ‘bah.’ Sheep in this part of the world often still use the old ‘langue d’oc’ making an accurate translation difficult but it is pretty certain that “mind your own business” would be a colloquial interpretation.
But in spite of her offspring standing out like the white sheep of the family, Sheepy is as popular as ever in the flock. No stigma seems to have been attached to the event and the snowy white lamb is gambolling (I understand that this is what lambs do) quite happily with her black friends.
From this we can conclude that either sheep are colour blind or that they are far more tolerant than we humans.
Personally, I prefer the latter explanation.