Poor Little Lamb


I can’t resist sharing this choice passage from J. Bailey Moore’s History of Candia. I just love the juxtaposition of late Victorian sentimentality and flinty New England pragmatism:

Later on, a few lambs and calves make their appearance. How delighted are the children to jump over into the pens in the barn and take up the tender lambs and fondle them in their arms . . . . Sometimes a lamb is disowned by its mother and the poor thing is taken into the house, to be placed in a basket upon a warm blanket and kindly nursed in the hope of saving it for future usefulness. But the experiment often failed and the poor lamb, after a few hours of struggles and sufferings, gives up the ghost. How pitiful are its moans through the long, dreary night and how sincerely is it mourned by the children. The bodies of the dead lambs were often hung upon the limbs of apple trees out of the reach of dogs, for the purpose of preventing the latter from acquiring a habit of attacking and devouring sheep as they roamed in the pastures.1

1J. Bailey Moore, History of the Town of Candia, Rockingham County, N.H., from Its First Settlement to the Present Time (Manchester, N.H.: George W. Browne, 1893), 255.

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