The shepherd and the Lamb by Anne Rees

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On a mountain not far from here there lived a small flock of sheep. These sheep were very lucky to have a very kind shepherd.
He took very good care of them all, especially the sick and the old sheep. But he had a real soft spot for the lambs. He knew they had yet to learn about danger. And they had so much energy. It was all too easy for them to come to harm.
It happened that one spring quite a lot of lambs were born. Of course, they were all special, but one really caught the shepherd’s attention. Her name was Lucy.
It wasn’t that she was naughty. She just had so much energy and was full of fun. He needed to keep a careful watch over her. What worried him was that she was always looking over to the fields in the distance. He knew how much she loved to play and frolic. There just wasn’t enough room for her in this field, large as it was.
One day, Lucy spotted a puppy dog on the mountain not too far away. He seemed to be having so much fun. After all, he had lots of space all to himself.
He came near to the flock. Lucy liked him at once. He looked as if he might grow up to be a sheep dog, like the kind ones who looked after her. He told her his name was Brad. It wasn’t long before he had persuaded Lucy to come and play with him. She was more than happy to say yes.
Before long they were playing catch and hide and seek. Suddenly she realised it was getting dark. She heard the Shepherd calling her name. She told Brad she must go. But not before she promised to come and play with him the next day. She had not had so much fun ever!
Brad and Lucy had lots of fun over the next few days. But she had to sneak past the Shepherd and his two dogs, which wasn’t easy.
She noticed that every time she came back for supper, the Shepherd would look at her in a way that said he wasn’t happy with her. But she was having just too much fun to care a lot.
It happened on the Friday. Brad had appeared close by, wagging his tail, and she had sneaked off once again. After playing for a while, Brad suggested she come home to meet his mother. Lucy wasn’t sure.
However, Brad told her it wasn’t far. Well, what harm could it do if she went? And he was such a good friend. She agreed and she followed Brad as he led the way. Lucy began to feel uneasy. He was taking her quite out of sight of the flock. She had never gone that far away before! Brad assured her it was only just over the hump.
What a terrible fright she had! On the other side of the hump was a huge dog. O no! It wasn’t a dog! It was a wolf! Lucy remembered stories about wolves, and they weren’t good. When she looked at Brad, she realised that he was a wolf cub after all, and not a puppy. Lucy didn’t like the way the wolf looked at her.
Brad didn’t seem to notice. He was too interested in his dinner which was waiting for him in his lair. O dear! The wolf came towards her, licking her lips and snarling at the same time. She knew she was in terrible danger.
Just then, a large shadow fell over them. She turned to look. O, it was her Shepherd. The wolf turned and ran away at once. It was no match for the shepherd!
Lucy’s heart was pounding. She was expecting to have a real scolding. But no! The Shepherd picked her up and gently laid her across his strong shoulders. He spoke tenderly to her. He had been keeping watch over her all the time. He knew what Brad was. But Lucy needed to learn about danger. He also wanted her to know how much he loved her, and always would. What a lovely shepherd!
The bible says that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. It tells us He was born at Christmas time, so that He could die just over 30 years later at Easter time. It tells us that He died to rescue anyone who trusts in Him, that He’s alive now and we can know Him as our friend and saviour. Are you interested in finding out more?
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay, close by me forever, and love me I pray. Bless all the dear children in your tender care and fit us for heaven to live with you there.
With grateful thanks to Angharad for her very helpful suggestions and contribution.