THE GOOD SHEPHERD
 THERE was once a Shepherd who had a flock of an hundred
sheep to care for. There were the old sheep, and the
tiny baby lambs with such weak legs that the Shepherd
was obliged to carry them over the rough places in the
road. There were black sheep and white sheep—a very
large flock to tend; but the Shepherd was always
patient, and kind, and good.
Each morning he opened the sheep-fold and led the flock
over the mountain roads and beyond the hills to a
wonderful green pasture where the sun shone brighter,
and the grass grew thicker, and the brook ran clearer
than anywhere else. All day the sheep grazed, and
drank in the brook, and lay under the shade of the
olive trees; and the little lambs frolicked and played
in the sunshine with no fear, for the Shepherd was
quite close by, always, to keep away the wild beasts
who hid in the mountain passes. When night came he led
them home and watched through the dark while the sheep
But one day that I am going to tell you about, the sun
forgot to shine. Thick, black clouds covered the sky,
and when the Shepherd gathered his flock to start for
home in the evening the thunder began to rumble, a cold
wind blew, and the blinding rain fell, until it was
hard to see the road at all. But the Shepherd wrapped
his cloak closely about him and pushed from the road
with his crook the branches which the wind had torn
off; and he called softly to the sheep, each one by its
name, for he knew them all.
They were nearly home when the Shepherd heard a
 low "baa, baa" close at his side, and he stooped down
to listen. A mother sheep was looking up into his
eyes, and trying to say something which he could not
understand. And the mother sheep kept tugging at the
Shepherd's crook and running back a little way and
bleating again, to tell him that something was wrong.
"Are not my sheep all here?" asked the Shepherd, and
then he went up and down the path, touching each one
gently, and speaking its name, and counting: "One,
two, three——" But, ah! there were only ninety and nine
sheep in the flock. The mother sheep had known. Her
own little lamb was lost!
So the Shepherd turned back, leaving the ninety and
nine sheep in the wilderness, and he hastened through
the dark and the storm to find the lamb that was lost;
for he was a good Shepherd, and he knew that he could
never lock the door of the sheep-fold with one of the
The rain beat into his face, and the stones and the
branches caught at his feet, but on and on he went, up
the mountain side, looking under every bush and in
every hollow for the little lamb. There were no stars
to light his way, and the wolves came out of their dens
to snarl and growl as he went past. But he whispered
to himself in the dark: "What man, having an hundred
sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the
ninety and nine in the wilderness and go after that
which is lost until he find it?"
At last, when he had gone a long, long way, he found
the smallest lamb of the whole flock, caught in some
brambles by the side of the road and crying most
pitifully, for one of its legs was cut and bleeding.
And when the Shepherd had found it he laid it tenderly
 on his shoulder and covered it close with his
warm cloak, and "he went his way, rejoicing."
The sheep were waiting for him, and they hastened
together down the road, the Shepherd carrying the
little lamb all the way. They were weary, and wet with
the rain, before they reached home, but just as the
fold was in sight the storm ceased and the stars shone
out in the sky.
Then the good Shepherd opened the door of the fold and
led in his flock, and he called his friends and
neighbors, saying to them: "Rejoice with me, for I
have found my sheep which was lost!"