Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Death of a shepherd

Give a young child a blank sheet of paper, some colouring pens or crayons, and ask them to draw a picture of the countryside, stand back and expect the unexpected.

The imagination of a five year old won’t be held or contained by a prescribed landscape. There may well be elephants climbing a mountain and a rocket ship in the farmer’s back yard. More importantly, there will be good reasons for both.

When we came across a shepherd’s mobile dwelling, in the grounds of Mottisfont Abbey, last weekend, the grandchildren were all over it like a rash. Instinctively, you want to inform and enlighten, but it’s so much more fun to hear what they have to say.


We climbed the steps and entered the tiny space where the shepherd would have sheltered when he wasn't out and about, tending his flock. At the far end of the caravan was a short bunk. “That’s where the shepherd would have slept,” I said.

Yes, and he died there too,” came the solemn response.

“Well, we can’t know that for sure, can we?”

I do. I know that.”

Later, when we were taking a final look from the outside, one of the twins tugged at my elbow. “You see those wheels, Ga?

“Yes, I see them.”

They’re on the shepherd’s house because he’s allowed to go on holiday.”

“Oh, I see.”

So nice to know that the poor chap managed to enjoy a short break before expiring in his bed.

14 comments:

  1. I’m so glad you’re recording these little gems here Martin. If only they would retain these viewpoints into adulthood. A few more years and they’ll be embarrassed if you remind them of these magical moments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hoping they won't be too embarrassed, Nell!

      Delete
  2. Wonderful! And I agree with Little Nell -- keep giving us these glimpses of SW and the two Things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure there's plenty more to come, Vicki.

      Delete
  3. It is so nice to see the sheperd's house on wheels. I do remember as a kid seeing these over here in Colorado where the shepherd too was following around the sheep with a couple of dogs. The horse that drew the wagon was staked out a ways away from the wagon. The twins do know things I am sure that we wouldn't know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you, Larry. Interesting that you remember seeing something similar in Colorado. Yes, the twins are a mine of information.

      Delete
  4. This is fantastic, Martin, thank you. I agree with L.D. that children probably have insights into truths that elude us grownups! Thanks also for your kind comment on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christine. Children see the world in ways that constantly surprise us, don't they?

      Delete
  5. We should always make time to listen to their insights. E told me yesterday that her new baby sister was going to come out of mummy's house on Wednesday. I wonder if that is a premonition?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't bet against it, jennyfreckles!

      Delete
  6. Out of the mouths ... I love the child's eye view of things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel very much at home in their company. Not sure what that means!

      Delete
  7. children say the best things so often. I like the mobile home too, just the thing for following the flocks round.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just the thing for a bit bird-watching too, Juliet. What a luxurious hide!

      Delete