The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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172 SHEEP FARMING ON THE BOEDER
one's fire shuddering to think of the wreaths or drifts piling up outside. Well, in this year of storm there had been a long spell of snow and frost, and the surface of the snow had hardened, and the sheep were weakened by want of food. In the end of January a change seemed coming, and the shepherds were rejoicing to think of relief. Little they thought what the change would be! The wind rose and drift set in, nor did it cease nignt or day for thirteen days. The accounts doubtless lose nothing in the telling ; still it seems certain that in all those days the sheep never broke their fast; nor was the drift constant from one quarter, for the wind shifted so continually that the shepherds knew not how to dispose the poor animals for shelter. On the ninth and tenth days the dead grew so numerous, from hunger and the most intense cold, that the shepherds built up dykes or walls of dead sheep in a half-circle to shelter the living. It availed but little; and on the fourteenth day, when the storm at last abated, nought remained on any farms but these walls of dead sheltering a small flock, all likewise stiff and cold. One happier experience is recorded in our long diaries.
A certain Bobbie Scott, of Priesthaugh, in Upper Teviotdale, never left his sheep day nor night all through the weary storm. He scraped away what snow he could where the drift had left ground comparatively bare, and he led the sheep to where the rough tops of heather afforded them some little food. A fine fellow he must have been, and of most wondrous endurance; but, worn out at length, on the thirteenth night, he went away to get the sleep he could no longer do without. By morning it was thawring, so his sufferings were not in vain; and later he was rewarded by his sheep bringing eight score lambs, which was more than the whole district altogether could show.
But the greatest storm on record is that of 1794, known as the Gonyal storm—no one knows why—when
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