A tale of a sheep that seized the day
short story on the endless search of happiness
So, once upon a time, there was a green field beside a river, and a herd of jolly fluffy little sheep lived there. There were flowers and trees, birds and butterflies, and the grass grew so tall that it colored the sunlight green, so the sheep would spend their days in emerald twilights — playing, jumping, rolling, feeding on the juicy leaves.
Until one morning, when the sharp rays hit their eyes and woke them up. They looked around and realized that there was no grass anymore — it was all eaten. The opposite bank, instead, was full of green, and without much hesitation, the herd rushed into the river.
The river crocodiles threw a feast. They dragged down the slowest, the weakest ones, as the rest reached the bank kicking and shouting, fighting for their lives. They landed, hearts pondering with remaining horror and arising joy, and started to devour the grass, each trying to get the best piece.
When they finished fighting for the last sprout, they already knew what happens next. The treasure was waiting for them on the other bank, shimmering as a gemstone, and the price was clear. They headed to the water, preparing to fight, eyes full of hunger, and the crocodiles feasted again, and each of the survivors declared a victory. Shouldering each other, they sunk their teeth into the pulp, and the emerald juice was running down their chins and back into the river.
All except one.
“Isn’t it just odd?” — the Sheep thought, watching their backs disappearing underwater — “Why do we have to chase something that is not here? Why the grass is always greener on the other side? Why can’t we just be happy with what we already have, grateful for it? Why can’t we just live?”
So he stayed and sang himself to sleep under a spiky bush. In the morning, he saw that the remaining stubs of grass grew out enough to feed him for a day, and the day after that.
In a while, the Sheep was jumping and playing among little bushes, chasing butterflies and singing with birds. He would lay on his back and count celestial sheep passing by in the sky, and then he would roll on his side and breath in the smell of freshly cut grass, the smell of summer. He’d wake up with the sun to receive its blessing, and go to sleep whispering the words of gratitude.
One of the evenings, curling down on his bed of soft grass, he felt joy arising from within. As if something eternal, endlessly loving had stroked his head and touched his heart. He felt united with every creature around him, every flower, bug, and a tree, and yet the most himself he had ever been, full of love. At that moment, everything in the world made sense.
The next was the feeling of long sharp teeth sinking into his neck, and this was the last thing he ever felt.
The panther did a few gracious jumps, praising the gods that sent her such easy prey, lifted the warm bleeding body from the ground, and hurried home to her hungry cubs.
The sun set, and rose again.
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