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Counting Sheep

2006-07-13 21:40

  Sue's bedroom door softly opened, and her mother peeped in.

  “Dear, dear, not asleep yet, Sue?” she said. “You are thinking too much about your birthday tomorrow. Why not shut your eyes and pretend to count sheep jumping over a gate, as I told you.”

  Sue closed her eyes tightly and counted slowly: “One, two, three, four . . .”

  The sheep all jumped over the gate as she counted, and then, before she could say “thirteen” a little lamb tried to jump over the gate, but couldn't.

  “Oh, the poor little thing!” cried Sue. “I wish I could help him.” Then, strange to say, she seemed to be standing by the gate helping the little lamb over.

  The sheep on the other side turned and looked at her calmly but sadly.

  “You don't look happy,” said Sue.

  The sheep nearest to her shook its head.

  “We are too tired to be happy,” it said. “Every night we have to jump over a gate just when we are settling down to rest. Why do people always count sheep jumping over a gate? Why can't they count elephants or cows instead?”

  “I must ask Mummy about it. Perhaps I can count pigs or goats sometimes. I'm sure she will be sorry she told me to count sheep,” said Sue gently.

  The twelve sheep said it was time for them to go, and the lamb walked behind them as they went down along the narrow lane leading from the gate.

  “Many happy returns of the day, Sue,” said her mother, giving her a parcel at the same time. Sue gave a little cry of joy when she opened it and saw a box of toy sheep.

  “Thank you, Mummy,” she said. “Now I can really count sheep of my own at night, and let the poor dream sheep have a rest.”

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