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The Sheepdogs Who Stopped Watching Sheep
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R K Thill
Over the rolling hills, across the babbling brook, and past the pasture of weeping willows lived two sheepdogs named Chester and Stanley.
It was their job to protect and guide the sheep of Farmer O'Reilly, whom they had worked for since they were puppies. Although the old farmer warned them not to leave the sheep, Chester and Stanley could not help but wonder what lay beyond the hills that surrounded their home.
One day, Chester and Stanley decided that they were tired of always watching the sheep.
"Stanley," asked Chester. "Do you ever wonder what is on the other side of that hill?"
"Yes, I do," replied Stanley.
"Then perhaps we should venture there to see," said Chester.
And with that, the two restless sheepdogs left the pasture and grazing sheep behind in search of adventure.
When they finally got to the top of the hill, Chester and Stanley were able to see for miles around them. The sheep could be seen in the distance scampering farther and farther away from the farm.
"Stanley, I wonder what is on the other side of the babbling brook," said Chester.
"I don't know," replied Stanley. "Perhaps we should venture there to see."
As the pair trotted down the hill, Stanley noticed a squirrel crying near a weeping willow tree. As they approached, the squirrel became frightened at the mere sight of the two giant creatures, and he ran up the trunk of the tree.
"Don't be afraid," said Chester. "We heard you crying and would like to help."
The squirrel removed his paws from over his eyes and looked down at the two great dogs.
"My name is Simon, do you know where my family is?" asked the squirrel."I was playing in the forest, although my mother warned me not to, and somehow I got lost."
"Where is the forest?" asked Chester.
"It is just beyond that babbling brook," replied Simon. "However, I have been walking all day, and I am too tired to go back."
"If we can guide the sheep back home, I am sure we can help you find your family," said Stanley.
The sheepdogs continued on past the babbling brook with Simon sitting squarely on Stanley's back.
"There it is, I can see the forest!" yelled Simon. "I am sure my family is in there looking for me!"
The group moved forward into the forest, zig-zagging around the gargantuan trees and prickly bushes for hours.
"Chester, do you know where we are?" whispered Stanley.
"Of course I do, we are headed in the same direction in which we started," he replied with great confidence.
Soon they could see sunlight streaming in between the trees ahead of them.
As they emerged from the darkness of the forest, Simon began to shout, "Mom and Dad, I'm back! Over here!"
But there was no answer.
"Is that the same babbling brook we crossed earlier?" asked Stanley.
"Oh no!" cried Simon. "We're back where we started, and everything looks the same! I'm never going to find my family!"
Suddenly, in the distance, a cry was heard that sounded like someone yelling "Simooonnn!"
"Hey, that sounds like my Mom!" exclaimed Simon.
A moment later, two squirrels appeared from behind a tree. Simon jumped down from Stanley's back and raced to greet his parents.
"Thank you, Chester and Stanley!" he yelled as he and his parents scurried away in delight.
Chester looked at Stanley, and Stanley looked at Chester.
Simon's reunion with his parents reminded them of the countless times they had helped the sheep find the way back to their flock.
"Stanley, do you miss the farm?" asked Chester.
Stanley replied, "Yes, I do. But won't Farmer O'Reilly be upset that we left?"
"Perhaps," said Chester. "However, I am sure he will be just as happy to see us again as Simon's parents were to see him."
As the sun began to fall slowly in the distance, the two sheepdogs set off on their journey towards that same hill that had lured them away from the farm earlier that same day, knowing that no matter what, you can always go home again.
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