The Sheep Thief

I sat with a coffee in my hand watching the raindrops pour. I was reminded of my college days when I was pursuing my Political Science (H) only for my father’s happiness. It was during then I came across a book in my college library. Titled The Sheep Thief and authored by Al Walker, this book turned out to be more than just about a sheep thief. It was an extension of real life and gave me inspiration to fight the war with Political Science when I needed it the most!

The story is about a village where there were two young men who worked for a wealthy shepherd who had a huge flock of sheep. He had around 300 sheep,one fine day these two men stole 2 sheep each and tried to run away with them. To their bad luck they were caught and were punished for the crime they committed. The punishment was that ‘ST’ would be written on their foreheads using hot iron letters. Hence,this would leave a permanent mark on their foreheads. These letters would haunt them and hence constantly remind them of their wrong doing.

The first man could not tolerate the humiliation that he was facing in that village. So,he left the village and decided to take shelter in some other city and start a new life. He wandered from village to village but could not find peace anywhere,where ever he went the story of the theft spread like wild fire. He spent days and nights just walking down the street all alone with the mark of his wrong doing on his forehead. Unfortunately one day he died suffering from loneliness and starvation.

On the other hand the second sheep thief decided to stay in the very same village. He decided that he would stay there and work for the same shepherd from whom he stole thesheep and pay him back.

So,when he went to the shepherd to ask for a second chance he agreed and again gave him work,but the condition was he would not be paid for some time,the thief agreed to all the conditions.

He worked hard for days and nights and one day the shepherd agreed to pay him for his work. The thief decided to save a part of his wage every month. And one day, after months of hard work and struggle, the thief was able to pay back the shepherd the amount of the stolen sheep. He then worked for some more time, saved more money and then left his job and bought some sheep of his own.

With this he started a sheep farm of his own gradually with time he was the owner of a sheep farm holding seven hundred sheep. After that he decided to diversify his business,he then started weaving sheep wool. As a result of his hardwork and patience he made a respectable living for himself.

With the money he earned he not only made his own life worth living,but also donated money to the village orphanage and old age home. He helped those who were in need or were deprived of happiness.

One fine afternoon when he was walking down the village market, a young boy standing at the bakery asked the old baker, ‘what does the ST Mark on his forehead mean’?

After a lot of thinking and recalling all the events of the life of the sheep thief,the baker replied SAINT.

ST stands for SAINT he said,instead of telling the boy the real meaning of ST that was SHEEP THIEF.

This transformation of image and reputation happened only because the sheep thief stayed back and decided to fight and face the situation that was created by himself and his wrong doings. The sheep thief stayed back to work hard and clean his image.

While the other sheep thief ran away from the village and its people, he couldn’t run away from his wrong doings.

The moral isthat we are all human beings and all of us commit mistakes. But the difference is how many of us stay and try to reverse those mistakes,how many of us work hard to earn the lost respect.


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