Mary’s little lamb’s fleece as white as snow was achieved through miraculous care. What the nursery rhyme never explains is Mary’s less than idyllic lifestyle. Childhood assumptions have Mary living in a cozy cottage amidst the grassy rolling hills of a fantastical sunny Ireland, where mud was as foreign as staunch atheism. This was not the case. Mary lives in the rugged and dusty outback of Australia.
The lamb followed Mary through rocky and filthy terrain with loyalty better suited for an aged labrador. When she played in a muddy watering hole, the lamb mucked about with her. If Mary encountered a snake, large spider, or other treacherous beast of the wild outback, the lamb protected her, dashing her shiny split-hooves on the creature. Mary was always grateful, giving the lamb a hug, even if the lamb was no longer her purest white.
At day’s end, when both Mary and the lamb were exhausted from a day of crocodile hunting, their dress and fleece soiled with the grime of adventure and victory, Mary first bathed herself (the lamb curled by the tub), then tended to her faithful lamb.
In the barn, off the house, Mary filled a tin basin with warm water, pouring in a special concoction of soap, prayer, and love. It bubbled and frothed, covering the brown lamb in glowing white suds. She scrubbed her little lamb, singing church hymns, working the soap into the fleece, touching with care. The lamb closed her eyes in contentment, licking her lips in happiness.
Mary rubbed the lamb’s face last, massaging the suds into the lamb’s head, taking extra care around the eyes and ears. Mary rinsed the lamb with warm water and pat her dry with a fluffy white towel. To get the opalescent white shine, Mary dried the lamb’s fleece with tender kisses, her hot breath evaporating any remaining mist from the lamb’s heavenly fleece.
Mary whispered sweet “I love yous” all over the lamb, kissing her face, her ears, her tiny nose. She breathed her love until the little lamb was dry and warm, a dazzling, divine white. Then she picked up the lamb in her soft, chubby arms and took her to bed. The lamb snuggled next to Mary, resting her her white head on the pillow.
The two nuzzled noses before falling asleep, Mary telling the lamb how happy she was to have her always there by her side, protecting her, keeping her, loving her.