Midnight Grew Strong Story
He was born on a cold morning in late December. There was nothing miraculous about his birth. It was no different from any of the other births that took place in the barn that winter. Yet one thing singled him out from the rest of the flock the minute he was born. He was white. That might not sound too unusual at first, but given the fact that the rest of the flock, including his mother and father, was black. It made him quiet a rarity.
The other sheep gathered around the stall and gazed in amazement. Imagine! A white lamb born into a black flock!
"perhaps he'll darken with age," volunteered his father.
And so, with this hope in mind, the lamb was named after the darkest thing the sheep had ever seen - Midnight.
Winter ended, and the sheep were turned out into the pasture. Midnight was still as white as the pure driven snow, and he was beginning to incur the jealousy of the other sheep in the flock. They pretended that Midnight was inferior to them because he was white, but really they wished they could be like him.
Midnight sensed their jealousy, and it hurt, especially since the little black lambs were forbidden to go near him, which meant he had to play all by himself. But he learned to be content alone, and his mother taught him games and showed him secret places in the fields where there was very sweet grass to eat. So Midnight grew strong, and his wool grew whiter as the year progressed.
One after noon in April, the sun had been particularly hot, and all of the sheep were suffering with their full wool coats. But Midnight's wool reflected the sun's rays. So while the other sheep were lying in the shade of some fir trees, trying to keep cool, he scampered over the hill and through the swamp to the far pasture to eat some clover flowers.
Midnight had just begun to eat the tender clover when suddenly the ground began to shift and shake. He dropped to his knees. The quaking stopped. Midnight looked up into the sky, and the blue had become hazy. Then the sky seemed to roll open, and Midnight saw a flock of black sheep in a green, fertile pasture. In the middle of the black flock was a tall, white ram. On the hill above the flock Midnight saw a creature he had never seen before. It was shimmering gold colored, and it had an extremely long tail; when it opened its mouth a sound came out of it that reminded Midnight of a thunder clap he had heard once during a storm.
The animal jumped off of the hill and ran toward the flock. The white ram looked up and, seeing the beast, broke away from the herd and ran toward the farmhouse, bleating with great fervor. The lion stopped in its tracks and its eyes fastened on the snow-white ram. The flock was suddenly forgotten, and the gilded cat now enjoined pursuit to catch and kill the white creature.
The strong ram ran as fast as he could, through the swamp and up the hill, reaching the farmhouse gate just as the lion caught up with him and pounced. The ram's throat spilled open, and his blood ran out all over the sidewalk. The last thing Midnight saw in the vision was his own Farmer Smith taking aim and blowing the lion apart with his shotgun.
The sky rolled up, and Midnight stood to his feet. Then he heard a voice whisper in his ear:
"For this purpose you were born into the world; to save your flock from the mouth of the beast. Now go, and tell your vision to the others. They will not believe, but they must be told nonetheless."
So Midnight ran down through the swamp and over the hill to where the herd still rested in the shade.
"Listen to me, everyone. Now I know why I am a white lamb in a black flock!"
And he explained to them the vision, that he would give his life to save the flock one day. But just as the voice has told him, the entire flock grew angry with him and demanded to know why he thought he was so special, and refused to believe his vision. Midnight grew up strong but even his parents gave him looks of disapproval.
And so he became more of an outcast and a recluse, but his love for the sheep of the flock began to grow. He would find green grass patches, and tell the chief ram where they were, and the flock would feed and grow strong there. As Midnight grew stronger and older, the young lambs would sneak away from their parents, and go to him for advice on games and finding good grass and clover, and other things that are important to sheep.
So even though he was considered a crazy sheep by the others, he gained much respect for the help he gave to the flock, and was especially looked up to by the lambs.
As the years went on, those lambs he had loved and advised became sheep. A lot of the "Midnight's Vision of Insanity."
He humbly accepted the new job and promised he would:
"...do my best until my time comes, and then I must depart."
A few of the older sheep remembered his vision, and wondered if the flock had made a mistake, but the rest of the group bleated with joy.
More time passed, season on top of season, and Midnight grew strong and wise. He constantly found better grass for the heard to eat, he set up a school for the lambs, and he showed the sheep little tricks like how to roll in the grass to get burrs and briars out of their wool.
Winter came and went once more, and Spring dawned for the tenth time in Midnight's life. As he led the flock out of the barn on the first day of Spring, he felt for the first time in his life uneasy.
He led them over the hill and down through the swamp, to the greenest grass patch he knew of. Clover intermingled with it, and it all tasted marvelous.
The sun grew high, and as noon neared, Midnight became exceptionally restless. He placed in and out of the flock, nodding to friends, smiling at lambs, and he knew suddenly that his time had come. Remembering again his vision of so long ago, he looked to the top of the hill. The mountain lion looked majestic here, so far from its home, he thought.
Midnight watched the lion jump, just as he had seen it leap in his vision so many years before. He watched it run toward the flock, and then the dream snapped into reality. Midnight bolted toward the swamp, bleating and moving faster and faster toward the farmhouse and away from the flock.
The lion's gaze left the flock, but Midnight did not see the beast take after him. He only knew it was occurring. The other sheep watched in amazement as the lion, fascinated by their bleached leader's glow, turned away from them and followed Midnight through the swamp and then up the hill.
The flock began to run behind the lion, somehow hoping (but not knowing how) that they could do something to help their beloved Midnight.
Sweat poured into Midnight's eyes; he had never run so fast. He could feel the lion behind him now, and he knew his life was over. He slowed as he neared the gate of the farmhouse, opened his mouth, and bleated harshly one last time. Midnight's mouth closed as the lion's claws tore his throat open, and he looked up just in time to see Farmer Smith puling the trigger of his shotgun, then everything went black.
The older sheep in the flock stood in awe as they saw the vision they had heard about but had not believed coming true.
That afternoon, they told the rest of the flock the whole story, as they all, with tears in their eyes, watched Farmer Smith bury their Midnight.
And each winter when the ewes gave birth, every sheep and lamb in the flock secretly hoped and prayed that perhaps the great God would bless them again and send them another great friend and leader such as Midnight had been, for they never forgot that the blood of the snow-white lamb had saved them all.
His Precious Love
By Judy Pearce
Stories Part One
Stories Part Two
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