Audio Story: Shelby the Unique Sheep

written by Keri Schmidt-Early
edited By Pam Schmidt
read by Gary Burbank

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Shelby the Unique Sheep

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When I woke up this morning I was green. I don’t know how it happened. I tried to cover it up with mud after PJ Pig said that would work, but it just didn’t work. I guess I’ll be green the rest of my life.

Calvin Cow walked by and just stared at Shelby for a few minutes. Calvin had never seen a green sheep before. Then he said, “ The answer is very simple…paint.” “Paint?” Shelby asked.

“Sure,” said Calvin. I saw Farmer Bill painting the old red barn with white paint last week. Now the old barn looks good as new. I’ll bet that white paint would make you look good as new, too. And I know just where Farmer Bill put the leftover paint.”

“Oh Calvin! That’s a terrific idea. Paint will make my wool white again. Will you help me?”

“Well…I guess I can…but only so you’ll leave me alone. I want to eat grass in the pasture in peace. “

“Thank you Calvin, let’s go!”

Calvin led Shelby to an old shack near the barn. He went inside and came back out carrying a can of white paint and a brush. Calvin opened the paint can, put the paintbrush in his mouth and began to paint Shelby. After what seemed like hours, Calvin stepped back and announced that he was finished and off he went toward the barn.

“Did it work?” She called to Calvin as he walked off. But he didn’t answer. He was anxious to get in the barn for he had noticed some very dark clouds in the sky. All of a sudden it began to rain very hard. Shelby ran toward the barn, too. After she reached the barn door she turned back to watch the rain. But what she saw was a trail of white paint. The rain had washed the paint off of her wool. She got a sick feeling in her stomach. Another idea that just didn’t work. Shelby was still green.

Shelby tiptoed back into the farthest corner of the barn, hoping that no one else would see her. She laid down in the dark corner. There was no hope. Here is where she would spend the rest of her life, hiding from the world. No one would ever accept a green sheep, she thought. Her thoughts were interrupted by a small rustling noise in a nearby haystack. Was someone there? “It must just be the wind,” Shelby reasoned to herself. “What am I going to do? I’ve tried so hard to get rid of this green wool, but nothing seems to work.” As Shelby was thinking out loud, Millie Mouse was sitting very still in the haystack listening intently to her friend’s sad words. As Shelby fell asleep, Millie went to work.

When Shelby woke up to the cock-a-doodle-dooing of the Randy Rooster, she was surprised to see a big pile of green wool next to her. There was a note at the top of the pile that read:

I hope this will help solve your problem. From Millie.

Shelby was confused. Millie was a very shy mouse and hardly ever left the barn. How did she know about my problem? Then Shelby remembered hearing the rustling noise from the haystack last night as she had been talking to herself about getting rid of her green wool.

Millie must have been listening. With that Shelby looked down at herself. Millie had gotten a pair of scissors and cut all of the green wool off of Shelby. This is wonderful!! No more green wool. For the next few weeks Shelby was happy again.

Then something happened that Shelby hadn’t thought about. She was out in the pen with all her friends around her. She realized that they were all looking at her strangely and snickering to themselves.

“Is something wrong?” Shelby asked nervously.

“What is happening to your wool Shelby?” asked one of the other sheep. “It looks like it is growing in…green!”

“Oh, no,” Shelby yelled in despair. Cutting off the wool didn’t change a thing. It was growing in green again.

Once more Shelby ran to the barn to hide in shame. How could she ever go out again with GREEN wool? But she didn’t have long to think about that. The barn door opened with a creak…someone was coming! As the tall figure came closer and closer, Shelby recognized it as Farmer Bill.

Oh no! What would he think of her hiding in the barn? What would he do when he discovered her green wool?

“Is that you Shelby?” Asked Farmer Bill with concern in his voice.

“Yes”, she replied quietly. “How did you know where to find me?”

“Let’s just say a little mouse told me that your were in the barn and that you had a problem. Is there something I can help you with?”, he asked kindly.

When Shelby heard the kindness in his voice all her fears went away. She walked out of the corner and into the light where Farmer Bill could see her and her green wool.

“Shelby! Your wool is GREEN! It’s BEAUTIFUL!”

“What?” Shelby was shocked.

“It’s great,” Farmer Bill said. “We are all different, Shelby. That’s what makes each of us special and unique.”

Shelby thought for a moment. Farmer Bill was not mad at her. He wasn’t ashamed of her. He thought she was special…and at that moment Shelby realized that he was right.

The world would be a boring place if everyone was exactly the same. Shelby was getting very excited about the thought of being unique.

“What should we do about my green wool?” she asked. “We’ll sell it.” Farmer Bill said triumphantly.

So Farmer Bill and Shelby went into the shearing shed and cut off the green wool. Farmer Bill sent it to a large sweater company where Shelby’s green wool was a huge success. Sweaters made from her wool became very popular and expensive. From then on, no one ever made fun of Shelby’s green wool ever again

Being different is special and being special is unique.

Keri Schmidt-Early of Celina, Ohio wrote the story while in the eighth grade and won a local writing award. Keri is now a Speech Pathologist in the Harlem, Illinois school district.

Gary Burbank is an award-winning radio broadcaster, formerly of WLW radio (700 AM) in Cincinnati, OH.

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