It’s a special year here in New Zealand. Hairy Maclary, beloved pooch of literary fame, is thirty years old! Can you believe it? That includes, therefore, Schnitzel Von Krumm, Hercules Morse and Muffin McLay. Not to mention, Scarface Claw, the toughest Tom in town. Stories about animals are a bit hit in our house, as I am sure they are in yours. Possum Magic and Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox are bedtime reading staples, Elmer the Elephant on audio book is a hit, Mog is our favourite cat and Come by Chance hosts the best menagerie. Then there is Chilko, master of mysteries and giver of unconditional love, in the brilliant novel, Nobody’s Dog by, ahem,… you-know-who!
So tell me – why are animal stories so appealing? So timeless? I once visited cave paintings in Dordogne, France and animals were the main feature in them too – bison, horses etc. It seems our fascination with telling animal stories is deeply embedded in our DNA and stretches back looooong into our history.
This past weekend we created an animal story of our own. In the (new) tradition of taking weekend adventures, we packed our city-slicker selves into the car for another drive up North. This time to my parents property at a place called Omaha. Next door to Mum and Dad’s digs there are five sheep that graze happily on the long grass, including one “Rambo” – named by my Dad several years ago. He’s the friendliest of the lot and very keen on back rubs. B2 hadn’t met him or any other sheep before so this was a brand, new experience.
Once upon a time there was a sheep. His name was Rambo.
He lived in a place where the sun shone, the sky was blue and there were daisies with pretty faces…
He liked to eat beetroot leaves.
He was curious about small children.
Small children were curious about him.
He sidled up for a back rub and told the small children to come back again soon. And bring more beetroot leaves.
And they said yes, they would.
Do you have family stories about animals? We have a legend about a dog called Sputnik who ate my Nana’s roast, straight off the table. What is your favourite animal story?
HUGS, Hannah x