Herbert woke up to a day that was bright and clear. The sun was up shining strongly by the time he chose to peep through the window of the bungalow Herbert shared with his friend, the Guru. Herbert was happy when the sun came to visit him in the morning. The Guru had gone to the forest to pick berries for Herbert’s breakfast and Herbert was all by himself. Sometimes, Herbert liked to have company in the morning. He would ask the sun riddles until the sun went laughing on his way to warm his other friends in the meadow.
Herbert waited for some time for the Guru to return. Since there was no sign of him, Herbert set out on his way to the great forest to search for his friend. He traveled up hills, around a large copse of daisies, over more hills that looked remarkable like the hills he had just passed and through more daisies. Herbert had a feeling he might be lost, but he didn’t want to alarm anyone (himself included).
Eventually, Herbert got tired and decided to rest near a lovely crystal lake. He though it looked so lovely shimmering in the sun’s light and Herbert wondered for a moment if his friend, the sun, had just visited there. Out if the cool mist emerged a beautiful bird floating across the glassy surface of the water. Herbert thought she was very beautiful, so beautiful that he was almost afraid to talk to her and break the magical spell that seemed to fade into the silence. Herbert wished he could float that gracefully. He admired the lovely silver-white bird with her elegant neck and soulful eyes.
Herbert called to the swan, effectively breaking the spell with a Herbert-like “pop”.
“Hey! Hey, pretty swimming bird,” he rang out in his playful singsong voice. At first, the swan took no notice, but after the third attempt to catch her attention, craned her lovely head elegantly in Herbert’s direction.
“Can you please teach me to swim? Herbert pleaded. “I would love to float like you do, but I am afraid I am too clumsy and the water would soak my fleece. I would sink right to the bottom!” “But I so want to learn to swim!”
The swan took one look at Herbert’s fleece, his rather shiny (but heavy-looking) hooves and made a strange noise in her throat. Herbert wasn’t sure, but she might have been giggling. He really didn’t mind. How many times has anyone seen a swimming sheep? Herbert started to laugh to himself at the idea and soon doubled over with the hilarity of it. The swan waited patiently for Herbert to pull himself back together. There is nothing sillier than a sheep with the giggles.
The swan bent her head back and plucked a magic feather from her wing and placed it on Herbert’s nose. Herbert tried really hard not to sneeze. He started to change gradually. His fleece became silver and he was growing feathers. In a few short moments Herbert noticed that he looked almost exactly like the beautiful swan. He walked to the water tentatively admiring his reflection. His feet were bright orange, which almost started another round of giggles, but all Herbert heard was the honking sound of his own voice. He sat in the water flapping his great wings and swishing his feet madly. He seemed to knw exactly what to do.
Oh what fun he had! He did several laps around the lake. He and the beautiful swan ran races, something very new since swans mostly sat on the water looking elegant. Herbert was happy that the swan had allowed him to know what it was like to really swim. When Herbert became tired from all the swimming, he bounced back on the shore of the mighty lake and back came his fleece and shiny black hooves. As a sheep again, Herbert thanked the beautiful swan who nodded her head kindly. When Herbert got home the Guru was there with berries and Herbert told him al about his eventful day.