Jonathan: If sheep, too, can be Venus and Mars, then there’s no doubt at all that Tolsta Faolan , aka The Beast of Tolsta Moor lived up to that particular ideal of ram masculinity. It’s certainly true that he was always ready to put up a good fight! Not the easiest of animals to work with, when he arrived in early November; but he was, little by little, getting used to me ; and above all to trust me. Just a few days ago, I was moved with joy that he had let me kneel beside him, my arms around his shoulders and neck, stroking the sides of his face and under his chin: I felt his breathing ease, felt him let go the strain and tension, his heart beat more gently. Even when I let go of him, he just stood still for a while, then slowy turned his head up to me as if to ask: Well … are we done now?
This morning, I held him again in my arms, holding his head up as the vet injected a massive dose of barbiturates into a jugular vein. Just three or four seconds later, and Foalan had let go, once and for all, the stresses of life, all the sadness and pity of the past few days, all the humiliation of his diminshed self. Yet even as his earthly life ebbed away, his spirit lifted free – Mars ascending the southern skies above Eriskay.
Here on Earth, there are forms to fill, tests to run. I’ll have more to report early next week – whether indeed it was Scrapie he had. But at least I already know that the rest of the flock is safe – as I’d only acquired him two months ago, and I decided not to use him for tupping this year.
[Photo of Mars above Eriskay, right, taken this morning as I waited for the vet].