Bert & Harry on the hill

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Just south of the border of the kingdom Peak District, lies an old, abandoned and weathered shed called ‘Sheep’, where two gay sheep called Bert & Harry live. Bert & Harry have lived here all their lives, from when they were tiny balls of wool on sticks, darting around in spring’s warm sunlight with all their furry friends. They had always been together, sticking their heads in the hedges in their backyard to talk to the rabbits, who were hiding in their safe places from the angry dogs from up-and-over the other side of the hill. There were many trees near the dangerous road, and even though they were not supposed to, they went close to the trees to chat with the birds that rested, before carrying onward to Dovedale.

Then one morning, when Bert & Harry were in the prime of their lives, the farmer they lived with called them all back to the other side of the road. To the farm and the farm land, the stables and the unfamiliar sheds, with the scary-looking sheepdogs that bark and bite when they go in the wrong direction. Bert & Harry don’t want to leave – they like their field on the border of the kingdom, with views in every directions except the farmer’s house, the ditches and the sand slope in their backyard, their rabbit friends in the hedges or the tall grass, the birds near the road whom they see off and watch them fly off into the valley, towards family in Dovedale.

When the farmer calls for ‘home’, Bert and Harry go home and stay.

They’ve grown old now and as the farmer has forgotten about Bert & Harry, he has also forgotten about their shed. It’s still upright, still standing, but so high on the hill it is prone to suffer from the hard rain and the heavy wind. It’s okay though – Bert & Harry have thick, wool coats to keep them warm and dry. And grass grows inside the shed and right through the windows too, so when it’s really bad they won’t even have to go outside.

Then one morning, a scary-looking sheepdog trails around their home, his nose hidden in the grass. He notices the sheep and he looks unsure. Then he hurries off, towards the hedge. Thinking he was like the frightened rabbits that had to hide, Bert & Harry look at each other and think the sheepdog is an odd duck. Then Bert, or Harry, hears the cracking of some twigs and the rustling of grass. A human appears in his window. Bert – or Harry – looks up dumbstruck. They are not used to visitors, but the human doesn’t look like the farmer, and the sheepdog that is clearly hers is not angry or mean, and when the human does that funny thing with her mouth the little humans do too, he thinks it’s okay.

If he still had a kitchen, he might have offered her some milk.

The human and the sheepdog show up every now and again, usually in the morning. Harry, or Bert, still isn’t sure of their intentions so when they interrupt him during his morning walk, he hurries back into his shed, nearly tripping over his front door. For a while – neither Bert or Harry can tell time – she shows up and does nothing, just looking, at them, their shed, their back- and front garden, the view, their land – and then she leaves again. Bert, or Harry, thinks they’ve been rude for not inviting her in for tea, or milk, because clearly she didn’t mean any harm. And her sheepdog was really an odd duck because every time he saw either Bert or Harry, his eyes would grow so big and he would hurry off like they’d seen the rabbits do. Harry, or Bert, thinks it would have been strange to invite her into their shed, but agrees that she wasn’t like the other humans. She always comes from the direction of the kingdom, so maybe she wasn’t really a human after all. However, after a little while, she stops showing up and Bert & Harry think she’s gone forever.

Then, when at least four seasons have passed, there is some rustling in the grass. The human is back. But Bert & Harry were not home – they had gone shopping to get some milk. Just in case she’d come back.

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