Irma led her flock towards the promised land. “See, the grass is greener over there,” she said. “We will feast as we never have before. This is a day that your children’s children will remember.”
Just then, a young ram in the back baaaed in dismay. “But, look back. I think it looks greener where we just came from. Doesn’t it?”
The ewes and rams stood in the middle of the road and looked back and forth. “That side is greener,” one said.
“No, that side is,” another said.
“Which side did we come from again?” an elderly ewe asked a friend.
“I have no idea,” her friend said.
Irma baaed for attention. “Don’t stop now. We are almost there. Look at the green grass and go forward.”
The young ram charged forward to stand next to Irma. “Listen to me. The grass ahead looks brown and dead. We know the grass behind us is sweet and green. Why leave? Let’s go home.”
The flock began to murmur as the sheep discussed their options. Some wanted to go forward. Others wanted to go home. No one could agree which side had greener grass. It was hard to tell from the middle of the road.
It didn’t take long for the sheep to separate themselves into groups that either wanted to move forward or go back. Within each of these groups, the sheep began to argue whether they should make a clean break between the groups or wait until the entire group could come to a decision.
Of course, among this second group, some argued that only a unanimous decision would work. Others thought that if most of the group wanted to go one way, the others should follow along. As sheep don’t count well, there was some difficulty in deciding how they’d be able to tell which group was bigger.
A few very vocal rams thought that battling everything out in a ram rumble would decide the whole thing nicely. They weren’t very clear on how that would decide anything. Most of the sheep just ignored them.
In the end, after a lot of discussion, Irma and the young ram decided on a series of debates. They invited the leaders of each of the smaller groups to come and join them and share their opinions and ideas. Unfortunately, the smaller groups didn’t have leaders.
The flock began to argue about how to decide on leaders of each of the groups. As sheep began to quarrel over the leadership of the groups, the groups began to splinter and divide even further. There are always some sheep ready to dart off and follow a new path. Once enough sheep expressed an interest in being leaders, others followed along behind them and decided they wanted to be leaders, too.
The quarreling became so fierce that everyone was speaking and no one was listening. So, it is perhaps unsurprising that no one noticed the rows of cars stretching back in either direction, blocked by the indecisive flock. A few cars honked their horns, and people yelled things out their car windows. This only added to the noise.
The lambs began to bleat sadly that they’re hungry. Can’t they just pick somewhere and go? But the arguing continued, and the flock remained in the center of the road.
And then, the shepherd and his noisy sheepdog arrived. They rudely interrupted the flock and began to herd them back to their original pasture. Several groups tried to break away and head towards the far-off pasture. But in the end, they all had to follow the flock and return.
Of course, this didn’t mean that the arguments were forgotten. Many sheep refused to speak to any of the others for weeks. A few rams held their promised rumble. It didn’t decide anything.
A year passed. Finally, the journey to the promised land was completely forgotten. Until, one day, Irma was grazing near the fence that ran along the road. In between bites of sweet green grass, she happened to look up through the fence and saw the grass in the pasture across the road.
It was so green. Irma was certain it was greener than any grass she’d ever seen. It must be the promised land. She was sure that her mother had told her something about the promised land and it’s never-ending supply of clear water and green grass when she was a lamb. Irma wanted to go to the promised land.
She decided to convince the flock to journey to the promised land together.