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Subject The Story of the Owl and the Sheepdog - A Parable
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Original Message There once was an old owl that lived in the trees at the edge of a large green pasture. After a noontime meal, he would often sit in a tree overlooking the pasture with a flock of sheep below. He was sleepily resting when a very large, black sheepdog came to lie in the shade of the tree to avoid the hot afternoon sun.

Noticing the owl sitting in the tree above, the dog said, "Look at those stupid sheep. They have no idea how much we do for them. If it wasn't for us, they would all be eaten by the wolves in no time. They should worship us, not our master! He is never around. We control this pasture."

The old owl said, "Does it never bother you controlling and ruling them the way you do?" "Bother me? Ha, ha!", said the dog, "Fool! Without us the many predators would eat them in no time at all! We are saving them! They need us. They have no idea how much work it is controlling them! Look, they don't even realize that we control them! Ha, ha. In fact, it makes them feel more secure knowing that we are here to protect them."

"Every once in a while, some young ram full of life will try and show his prowess, but we quickly put him in his place. He doesn't try that again I can tell you.", said the sheep dog with a slight grin. "They soon learn that they are not in control here, we are.", he said sternly.

The owl said to the sheep dog, "but don't you realize that you are controlled by humans the same as the sheep?" "Rubbish!, said the sheep dog, "We control this pasture! We tell the sheep where to go and when to do it, he said proudly." The old owl listened quietly and then asked after a short silence, "But you don't get to eat the tasty mutton, the humans do, is that not so? So who is really in control?"

This caused the sheep dog to fly into a rage. Showing his teeth he said to the owl, "If you were not up in that tree, I would eat you right now to show you who rules this pasture! Not humans!" The old owl chuckled at this bravado and said to the dog, "I don't fear your threats, I am not part of your silly game. That is why I spend my time alone, quietly watching this struggle from the trees. It does not concern me."

"Then why are you here?" said the dog, still angry from this affront. "To watch and to learn, just like you", said the owl. "Watching is all well and good, but power and control are what really matters! I am in control of my destiny, unlike these stupid sheep!", said the dog. The dog was still irritated at the turn in the conversation finally said, "I have to get back to work. The master will be coming soon to select a couple of lambs for his dinner. You can get back to your dreaming. I have work to do!"

The dog then returned to the field, angrily snapping at the heels of a couple of lambs straying too far from the flock. The old owl then returned to his watching and to his afternoon dreaming.

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