“Oh, indeed!” sneered the ram, “you like it, do you? Have you any idea what you look like, all sheared down to your skin? How would you like to have someone come along and see you, now that you are all head and legs?”
“Oh, I would n’t mind,” said the lamb again; “I shall grow more wool by wintertime, and I ’m sure I do n’t look any worse than you do.”
Some of the sheep looked at the ram and began to titter, for he was old and thin, and looked very comical indeed without any wool. And this made him so angry that he went off by himself and began eating grass, and would not speak to the others at all.
“I do n’t know why sheep should feel badly about having their fleeces cut,” remarked the Black Sheep, thoughtfully, “for the farmer is very kind to us, and so is his dame, and I am glad my wool serves to keep them warm in the winter. For before the snow comes our wool will grow out again, and we shall not be any the worse for our loss.”
“What do those people who have n’t any sheep do for clothes?” asked the lamb.
“I ’m sure I do n’t know. They must nearly freeze in the winter. Perhaps the ram can tell us.”
But the ram was still angry, and refused to say anything, so the sheep stopped talking and began to scatter over the pasture and eat the tender, new grass.
By and by the Black Sheep wandered near the lane, and looking up, saw the little boy watching it through the bars.
“Good morning, Black Sheep,” said the boy; “why do you look so funny this morning?”
“They have cut off my wool,” answered the sheep.
“What will they do with it, Black Sheep?” enquired the little boy.
“They will make coats of it, to keep themselves warm.”
“I wish I had some wool,” said the boy,” for I need a new coat very badly, and mamma is so poor she cannot buy me one.”
“That is too bad,” replied the Black Sheep; “but I shall have more wool by and by, and then I will give you a bagful to make a new coat from.”
“Will you really?” asked the boy, looking very much pleased.
“Indeed I will,” answered the sheep, “for you are always kind and have a pleasant word for me. So you watch until my wool grows again, and then you shall have your share of it.”
“Oh, thank you!” said the boy, and he ran away to tell his mother what the Black Sheep had said.
When the farmer came into the field again the Black Sheep said to him, “Master, how many bags of wool did you cut from my back?”
“Two bags full,” replied the farmer; “and it was very nice wool indeed.”
“If I grow three bags full the next time, may I have one bag for myself?” asked the sheep.
“Why, what could you do with a bag of wool?” questioned the farmer.
“I want to give it to the little boy that lives in the lane. He is very poor and needs a new coat.”
“Very well,” answered the master; “if you can grow three bags full I will give one to the little boy.”