Maa the Zodiac Sheep Spirit
The Custom Dawn Hipottu
Age: 1 year, 5 months, 3 weeks
Born: September 28th, 2017
Adopted: 1 year, 5 months, 3 weeks ago
Adopted: September 28th, 2017
- Level: 1
- Strength: 10
- Defense: 10
- Speed: 10
- Health: 10
- HP: 10/10
- Intelligence: 0
- Books Read: 0
- Food Eaten: 0
- Job: Unemployed
Gets you a little bit further down the road each day
And before you know it, you'll hear someone say
"That'll do, Babe, that'll do."
That'll Do – Peter Gabriel
The sky had just started to dim when Farmer Hoggett and his animals began to head for home. The excitement of their victory at the day's sheepherding competition had left all of them feeling tuckered out, and the drive back was mostly spent in comfortable silence, save for a short conversation that happened just as the truck pulled out into the road.
Babe was nearly ready to fall asleep when he heard Rex's deep voice grumble something that sounded like his name. The piglet lifted his head towards the older border collie, tilting it a little in curiosity and blinking back sleep. "Huh?"
Looking hesitant, Rex avoided Babe’s gaze until Fly nosed his cheek and licked him gently, murmuring something in a gentle tone that Babe couldn't hear. Rex straightened up and looked Babe in the eyes. "I said... You herd good."
"Oh..." Babe took a moment to absorb his words before giving him a proud smile. "Well, thanks, Rex! That's awfully nice of you to say."
Rex’s eyes darted to his mate momentarily as she settled into the blanket laid beneath them. He looked back to Babe. "I... Perhaps you could...teach me."
"Me, teach you?" Babe couldn't help but chuckle at the request. "Well, I'd be happy to, Rex, but—you're already a champion!"
"I'm only a champion using my methods." He felt a pang of guilt at the thought of how he used to treat his herd. "My old methods. I made a promise to the sheep to be...kinder."
"It's not so hard," Babe assured him. "They're really quite friendly."
Rex nodded, maintaining eye contact with Babe for a few more moments before turning away and quietly making himself comfortable next to Fly. Babe watched the two of them curled up together and smiled, a peaceful feeling blooming in his heart as he allowed his eyes to close.
“Don’t be nervous, okay? You’ll do a great job!”
“I’m not nervous,” Rex huffed, but couldn’t deny the worry in his gut as he watched his herd grazing in the distance.
“Just remember what I told you!” Babe went on, not acknowledging Rex’s grumblings. “Treat them the way you’d like to be treated. It’s the golden rule. Your mom taught you that, right?”
“I don’t remember my mother,” Rex said flatly.
“Oh.” There was an awkward silence between them for a moment, but Babe pushed past it quickly. “Well, that’s okay! You have me to teach you now.”
The absurdity of it all, thought Rex, a sheepdog taking lessons from a pig. “Yes, well—”
“Rex!” Hoggett called, and, grateful for an end to the conversation, Rex quickly made his way over to the farmer. Rex stood at his side and braced himself, eyes locked on the herd.
"Away to me, Rex!"
The command triggered something instinctual in Rex's brain, and he bolted towards the sheep at an intimidating speed. He didn't realize that he had slipped right back into his old ways until he was about halfway towards the herd and was able to catch one of their terrified gazes.
He forced himself to slow his pace, ignoring the niggling feeling that was telling him to go all-out and instead focusing on Babe's voice repeating in his head. Slow and steady, slow and steady. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.
"Hey!" he barked, slowing down to a trot as he circled the sheep. "Time to go, ladies!" A few of them seemed startled and began to meander in the direction of the pen, but most of the herd ignored him. He felt his hackles raise, frustration coursing through his body. "Hey! I said let's go!"
Back at the pen, Fly, Babe, and Hoggett watched as Rex fruitlessly circled the herd. Worry creased Fly's brow. "Oh, Babe... Maybe you should...?"
Babe shook his head. "It's okay, Ma," he said. "He'll get it!"
"It's not just him, dear," she sighed. "The sheep—they don't trust us. Rex's kindness can only get him so far if they don't cooperate."
"They will," Babe assured her, not a hint of doubt in his voice.
Rex was panting as he came to a stop, surveying the grazing herd. He needed to try something else. He inhaled sharply, preparing for the blow to his pride as he barked, "please!"
That got their attention. Several of them turned towards him, staring.
"Yes!" Rex exclaimed, his tail wagging a little. "Ladies, please—it's time to go. Come with me."
"Well, I'm not done eating," huffed one of the sheep, lowering her head back down to the grass.
"Me neither," another agreed.
"Why should we listen to him? Where's Babe?"
"Babe would want you to listen to me," Rex grumbled before taking a deep breath. “Listen... The wolves like to hunt around this time of night. It’s not safe. And if any sheep were to die because of my failure to herd you in properly…” He trailed off. Painful memories flashed through his mind. “I...I could never forgive myself.”
After a brief moment of silence, one of the ewes stepped forward towards Rex. “Really and truly?”
“Yes. I’m a sheepdog. A sheepdog without his sheep has little purpose.”
“Well!” another ewe exclaimed with a smile, strolling over to join the one in front of Rex, “this certainly is something. Never thought I’d see the day old Rex gave us our dues!”
Rex huffed. “Will you come with me, now?” he asked, gesturing towards the pen with his head. “We’ve wasted enough time, and I was serious about the wolves.”
“Of course,” she said warmly, and then turned to the rest of the herd, now speaking with more authority. “Let’s go, girls!”
Rex barked excitedly, tail wagging a little as his herd obediently made their way towards the pen.
“Here they come!” Babe exclaimed. “Ma, look! He did it!”
“So he did,” said Fly, smiling softly and feeling warmth blossom in her chest as she watched her mate lead the sheep back.
Farmer Hoggett opened the gate as they arrived, and the sheep filed in. Rex came to sit at his side, panting and looking up at him. “‘Atta boy, Rex.” Hoggett gave him a smile, and when Rex turned to see Babe and Fly smiling too, he knew he had done a good job.
As the last ewe walked into the pen, she paused to shoot a soft smirk Rex’s way. “Babe taught you well.”
Rex chuckled to himself, turning to look at the wise little pig. “Yes,” he said affectionately, “he did.”
coding, overlay, and story by me
background by pexels
babe (1995) belongs to universal pictures
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