I absolutely detest sheep; never before have I seen an animal so ornery, so mind-bogglingly stupid, as the typical Scottish sheep (except possibly my own species, but now I'm being cynical). As evidence, I offer this; sheep, for some odd reason, seem to be born with the irresistable urge to look over barbed wire fences. This usually progresses as follows:
"Oh dear," thinks the sheep (or at least, it thinks the proper ovine equivalent), "there seems to be a bit of wire just where I was about to place my foot." Lazily, it tracks its gaze upwards, pausing to burp, and realizes that the bit of wire is, in fact, a fence. It drops its eyes back to the ground, hoping that the motion will cause its two brain cells to collide and remind it of what's so terribly important about fences.
Ah, that's right. There are Things on the other side of fences. Very special and important Things, the seeing of which would obviously enrich a young sheep's mind, seeing as they're so difficult to get at. And to see these Things, one must find some way to get to the top of the fence.
(It is important at this point to note that sheep were the developers of downsizing. However, having nothing to downsize save themselves, which would be horribly uncomfortable and difficult to maintain, their fields, which would essentially necessitate downsizing themselves, and their brains, which were none too large or powerful to begin with, they chose the last, which resulted in two things: the appearance of yet another species intellectually inferior to the average amoeba, and the sudden hiring of millions of sheep in middle management positions.)
So the sheep decides to look over the barbed wire fence. As delicately as is ovinely possible, the sheep lifts a foreleg and, ever so gently, places it on the bottom strand of wire (after, of course, checking to make sure that no possible source of help is within five miles of its particular chunk of fence). It leans on the thin strand, testing its weight, at which point one of two things happens. Either the wire breaks, puncturing the most convenient major artery (sheep are notoriously good at dying) and providing a gap in the fence for the rest of the flock to wander through in search of Things, or...
The wire gives a bit, but not enough to cause alarm, especially not in such an instinctually challenged animal. It raises its other foreleg to the fence and shuffles its way upwards until its forelegs are on the second to last strand. Shaking with excitement, it raises its head above the fence, preparing to receive enlightenment.
It sees more grass. If it's lucky, there are some more sheep, possibly a cow or a horse on a really good day. Disgruntled (disburpled?), it goes to step down to the grass, a mission fixed in its mind: to inform the rest of the herd that the whole "over the fence" thing was a load of sheep pucky.
There is, however, a problem; the wool on its chin seems to be tangled in the fence's pokey-outy bits. Disregarding the thought that this could be taken as a phallic symbol, albeit a strange one (for all sheep are perverts of the worst order), it pauses to consider methods for regaining its freedom, and comes up with a halfway decent idea for once. Perhaps if it pushed instead of pulled, the wool would come off properly. What to push with...
Aha! It lifts its conveniently placed forelegs to the top strand and shoves against the fence. Its head is free now-- but its front legs are helplessly entangled. It brings its hind legs up to help push off, but to very little avail, and now all four legs are firmly attached to the barbed wire. It makes a final desperate struggle for freedom, resulting in: one upside-down sheep, burping hysterically as it waves its now-free legs in the air, and six or seven (or more: it depends on how far downsizing has spread in this particular flock, but six sounds like a nice round number) intensely curious sheep belching to each other about what could possibly be so interesting on the other side of the fence.
(Another important note on sheep: if they remain in any position other than standing for more than about half an hour, their lungs begin to fill with fluid and they die. This is presumably due to the Sheep and Goat Union (SAGU)'s institution of the Sheep Employment Act (1992), which, among other things, states that any sheep not complying with Section 15B subsection D (standing requirements) would summarily face termination.)
And so the oddest crop of fiber-producing plants grown anywhere in the highlands of Scotland (at least until one reaches the next sheep farm) can be seen; huge, greyish yellow bolls of wool on silvery horizontal stalks, being frantically harvested by a short, red-faced man in a brown tweed jacket and olive-green wellington boots, while an even shorter, even more rubicund woman shrieks at him with her hands on her hips.
Like any girl who's ever worked on a Scottish farm, I detest sheep.
As (will soon become) usual, questions, comments, and kvetches to [email protected], or to DonokoHikari via AIM.