Our Limerick neighbors have a second home in Fahamore, Co. Kerry, a windwashed scrap in the shadow of Mount Brandon. It was there that my mother met the sheep, as it skittered past the French windows followed by a barking dog.
“I thought the dog was worrying the sheep,” she confided. “So I went out to save it.” My mother is scared of dogs, but she has a very good heart. “I went out the door, and somehow I got between the dog and the house, and next thing, in the sheep went into the hallway, and me outside with the dog. So I made a dash back for the house to get him out, and he’s standing on the hall carpet, filthy dirty. It’s good carpet, they brought it down from their other house, and it’s still a good carpet. He has a terrible sheepy smell.”
“I suppose he’d smell sheepy, right enough.”
“I wave at him to get out, and instead off he trots down the hall and into the bedrooms. Bringing his sheepy smell all over the house.”
“The carpet was sheepy once. He was probably reuniting with his granny.”
“So I had to climb over the bed to get on the other side of him to herd him back out of the house. And he’s in no hurry, mind, to get back out there to the dog, but eventually I give him a shove so that he runs back out to the hall, bleating away. And there’s a young farmer lad standing outside the door beside the dog, with his arms crossed. And it dawns on me… ”
“So I say, ‘was the dog trying to herd the sheep? ‘”
“You were sheepish, like?” She ignores this.
“And, oh, he’s not impressed at all, this lad. He says–he’s real Kerry–“Well, ma’am, he was _tryin’.”_