16 September, 2011

Sheep Mutiny

Another old account of shepherding on Vancouver Island, this time with mutiny:

A green truck was waiting at the wharf with its motor running.

"Sorry, can't help you," the farmer explained.  "Got pigs expecting."

He took my money, opened the tailgate, and the next moment I was alone, waist-deep in woolly gray creatures.  Their bulbous eyes seemed to glare at me.  For an instant I had the feeling I was surrounded by hostile Indians.  "We're going to be good friends, aren't we?" I coaxed, vastly relieved to see that they had no horns....

A hundred yards from Wallace [island near Salt Spring Island, B.C.], a tail got caught in the propeller shaft.  The motor stopped as a horrible bellow of pain pierced the air.  Then the revolt was on.  In blind panic, the beasts broke from their ropes.  Snorting, kicking, trampling each other, they began bounding over the side.  One wide-eyed creature charged at me.  I went over backward, arms flailing, with the grace of a circus clown.  The next thing I knew, I was pawing the water while the sheep raced toward shore.

David Conover, Once Upon an Island (New York: Crown Publishers, 1967) p. 169, 170

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