There was once a shepherd, who had a great many sheep and lambs. He took a great deal of care of them, and gave them sweet fresh grass to eat, and clear water to drink; and if they were sick he was very good to them; and when they climbed up a steep hill, and the lambs were tired, he used to carry them in his arms; and when they were all eating their suppers in the field, he used to sit upon a stile, and play them a tune, and sing to them. And so they were the happiest sheep and lambs in the whole world. But every night this shepherd used to pen them up in a fold. Do you know what a sheepfold is? Well, I will tell you. It is a place like the court; but instead of pales there are hurdles, which are made of sticks that will bend, such as osier twigs; and they are twisted and made very fast, so that nothing can creep in, and nothing can get out. Well, and so every night, when it grew dark and cold, the shepherd called all his flock, sheep and lambs, together, and drove them into the fold, and penned them up, and there they lay as snug and warm and comfortable as could be, and nothing could get in to hurt them, and the dogs lay round on the outside to guard them, and to bark if any body came near; and in the morning the shepherd unpenned the fold, and let them all out again.
Now they were all very happy, as I told you, and loved the shepherd dearly that was so good to them—all except one foolish little lamb. And this lamb did not like to be shut up every night in the fold; and she came to her mother, who was a wise old sheep, and said to her, “I wonder why we are shut up so every night? the dogs are not shut up, and why should we be shut up? I think it is very hard, and I will get away if I can, I am resolved; for I like to run about where I please, and I think it is very pleasant in the woods by moonlight.” Then the old sheep said to her, “You are very silly, you little lamb, you had better stay in the fold. The shepherd is so good to us, that we should always do as he bids us; and if you wander about by yourself, I dare say you will come to some harm.” “I dare say not,” said the little lamb. And so when the evening came, and the shepherd called them all to come into the fold, she would not come, but crept slily under a hedge and hid herself; and when the rest of the lambs were all in the fold and fast asleep, she came out, and jumped, and frisked, and danced about; and she got out of the field, and got into a forest full of trees, and a very fierce wolf came rushing out of a cave and howled very loud. Then the silly lamb wished she had been shut up in the fold, but the fold was a great way off. And the wolf saw her and seized her, and carried her away to a dismal den; and there the wolf had two cubs, and the wolf said to them, “Here, I have brought you a young fat lamb.” And so the cubs took her, and growled over her a little while, and then ate her up.
Harry said that was a very naughty lamb.
It now began to be quite dark, so Harry and I returned home. Then we had a long talk about what we had seen during the day; and then Harry had his bread and milk for supper, and then he said his prayers and went to bed.