The Ewe which returned to her old Home
by W. H. G. Kingston
I have told you of dogs making their way from one end of the country to the other in search of their masters, and of horses traversing wide districts to the pastures where they were bred, but you would scarcely expect to hear of a sheep performing a long journey to return to the home of her youth.
A ewe, bred in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, was driven into Perthshire, a distance of upwards of one hundred miles. She remained some time at the place, and there became the mother of a lamb. She took a dislike to her new home, and thoughts of her early days stealing
upon her, she came to the resolution of returning to the scenes of her youth.
Calling her lamb, she one night set off southward. Often she was compelled to hurry on her young one with impatient bleatings. She took the highroad, along which she had been driven. Reaching Stirling early in the morning, she discovered that an annual fair was taking place, and that the town was full of people. Unwilling to venture among them for fear of being caught, or losing her lamb, she waited patiently outside till the evening, lying close by the roadside. Many people saw her, but believing her owner was near, did not molest her. During the early hours of the morning she got safely through, observed by several people, and evidently afraid lest the dogs prowling about the town might injure her young one.
Arriving at length at the toll-bar of Saint Ninians, she was stopped by the toll-keeper, who supposed her to be a stray sheep. She escaped him, however, and several times when the gate was opened endeavoured, with the lamb at her heels, to make her way through. He each time drove her back. She at length turned round, and appeared to be going the way she came. She had, however, not abandoned her intention, for she either discovered a more circuitous road to the south side of the gate, or made her way through; for on a Sabbath morning early in June she arrived at the farm where she had been bred,—having been nine days on her journey.
So delighted was her former owner with this exhibition of affection for the farm, and with her wonderful memory, that he offered her purchaser the price he had received; and to the day of her death—when she had reached the mature age, for a sheep, of seventeen years—she remained a constant resident on her native farm.