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Tuftella-the fairest ewe maiden of them all-is in danger! Locked away in a tall, tall tower surrounded by a moat full of monsters, she waits to be rescued by a knight in shining fleece. Warri...
Tuftella-the fairest ewe maiden of them all-is in danger! Locked away in a tall, tall tower surrounded by a moat full of monsters, she waits to be rescued by a knight in shining fleece. Warrior Sheep to the rescue!
And so the Warrior Sheep head Down Under
Off on an all-new quest, the Warrior Sheep must sail to a faraway land on a boat called Destiny, with only a very crooked fairy godmother to guide them.
Praise for The Warrior Sheep Series:
"Rapid pacing...snappy dialogue, and outrageously funny."—SLJ blog Practically Paradise
"Will have you laughing out loud...I highly recommend it."—Mother-Daughter Book Club
"A super-funny, super-crazy crime caper."— Betty Bookmark
The Sound of Destiny
There it goes again.”
The sheep all listened. It was a sound that was beginning to worry them. A kind of sobbing and sighing and tapp...
The Sound of Destiny
There it goes again.”
The sheep all listened. It was a sound that was beginning to worry them. A kind of sobbing and sighing and tapping all in one.
“It’s the sea, man,” said Links, the Lincoln Longwool.
“No, it isn’t,” said Jaycey, the pretty little Jacob. “The sea goes whoosh, splash, whoosh.”
“My stomachs are going gurgle, gurgle, gurgle,” complained Oxo, the large Oxford ram. “When’s that Rose going to bring our lunch?”
“We’ve only just had breakfast, dear,” pointed out Sal, the Southdown ewe. “She gave us cauliflowers, remember? Just like home.”
Home. For a moment they all paused and stared at the grass beneath their hooves. It was two days now since they’d left their home at Eppingham Farm. Not that they were particularly worried about being away. They were, after all, no ordinary ovines. They were Ida White’s rare breeds flock. They were the Eppingham Five. The Warrior Sheep. In fact, they had all been excited when Ida told them they were to have a vacation at the seaside. It would be a little adventure. Nothing like the grand adventures that had taken them to the North and the West, but a bit of a change while Ida and her grandson Tod were in Australia, visiting Ida’s brother, Frank.
Ida had explained that Australia was a long way away and, much as she would like to, she couldn’t afford to take them with her. So that was all right and, at first, the sheep had liked Murkton-on-Sea. It was very nice in its seasidey way. And Ida’s sister, Rose, who was looking after them, was perfectly nice too. And so was the field and the grazing and the hut in the corner where they sheltered from the wind. Everything was perfectly nice. Except for that sound.
“It’s nothing to worry about,” said Wills, the Balwen Welsh lamb. He was standing a little away from the rest, gazing down at the harbor below. “It’s just the wind. When it blows through the rigging of the yachts down there it makes those weird noises.”
A breeze wafted sea mist up toward them and the sound grew stronger.
Links tossed his curls. “Respect,” he said. “Wills, you is probably right but, man, that noise is gettin’ on my nerves.” He raised and nodded his woolly head, then began to rap.
“We’s real turned off by this seaside ting,
It’s maybe OK if you’s a bird on the wing,
But we is sheep, and we can only rap,
And it ain’t no use against the sob, sigh, and tap.
You hear what I’m sayin: the sob, sigh, and tap?
It’s drivin’ me crazy, so give me a map,
An’ help me escape from the land of the haddock,
Way back inland to my Eppingham paddock...”
Links was pleased with “haddock.” He didn’t actually know what a haddock was, but he’d heard the word recently and it was a great rhyme for “paddock.”
Still nodding, he turned to see if the others were about to join in with his rap but the grass between him and the hut was now empty of sheep. Oxo’s broad head appeared in the hut doorway.
“You’d better come in, mate,” he called. “Sal’s being inspired.”
While Links ambled toward the hut, Sal’s inspiration was turning to irritation.
“Yachts in the harbor, is it?” she scoffed at Wills. “The ropes and wires and the masts and things?”
Wills nodded, suddenly afraid to say more. Not only was he the youngest of the Eppingham Five, he was also an orphan and had had no mother to teach him the ways of sheep. Instead, he’d been brought up in Ida White’s farmhouse kitchen, along with her grandson, Tod. Because of this start in life, he knew something of human ways, which had proved very useful at times, but such knowledge had never impressed Sal. She saw it as her task to impart sheepliness to the skinny lamb in front of her. To educate Wills. The others needed her guidance too, of course. Constantly. But Wills needed it most because of his very unsheeply habit of thinking for himself. That was what he was doing now, and doing it while Sal was being inspired.
Links squeezed into the hut. The breeze and the weird, worrying sound wafted in after him. Sal turned and stood with her head to one side, listening. She could hear the sounds of Despair. Of someone Trapped. Helpless. Sorrowful. In Danger. Tap, tap, tapping in the Forlorn Hope of Rescue...She turned again to Wills, who was shifting uncomfortably from hoof to hoof, his eyes fixed on the floor.
“You may, just possibly, be right,” she said.
Wills looked up, surprised.
“Whereas,” continued Sal, glaring at him, “the Songs of the Fleece are never wrong.”
She swiftly turned her yellow-eyed glare on the others, cutting short their collective groan. “Were they wrong about Lambad the Bad?” she demanded. “No! We listened to the prophetic verses and we traveled North to vanquish Lambad. Were they wrong about Red Tongue? No! We listened again and went West to destroy the evil monster Red Tongue. Twice we have listened and twice we have saved sheepdom from slavery and extinction. The Songs of the Fleece were not wrong then. So why should they be wrong about Tuftella?”
“Tuftella?” the other sheep inquired loudly as one. Even Wills.
Sal regarded them as if they were a lost cause. “Yes, Tuftella. The fairest ewe of all.”
Jaycey pouted but said nothing.
Sal closed her eyes and began to recite.
“Tuftella, fairest ewe of all,
One day will into danger fall.
Where once she grazed on mountains high,
Her fleece the finest ’neath the sky,
Her ears, her hooves the daintiest yet,
That caused to swoon each ram she met,
Alas, alack, the time will come
When she is hidden from the sun,
And locked in darkest tower tall
Whilst ’neath her snapping monsters crawl.
A sheeply maiden in distress...”
“What’s a maiden?” interrupted Oxo, his voice low and serious this time.
“A young female,” whispered Wills. “Like Jaycey.”
Oxo glanced at Jaycey. “Is she in distress then?”
“Only when her fleece goes frizzy in the rain,” murmured Wills with a giggle. “Distress means trouble.”
“When you’ve all quite finished!” said Sal without opening her eyes. She waited for silence then resumed.
“A sheeply maiden in distress,
How sharply will her troubles press.
Her plaintive cries will waft and float
Across the sea to shores remote.
But who will heed them, who will ride
To break her free, to take her side?
Who will face the final thunder,
And lift Tuftella from Down Under?”
Nobody spoke. Then, eventually:
“Um. Us?” ventured Wills.
“Of course it’s us!” cried Sal. “It can only be us. We’re the Warrior Sheep!”
“Too right, man,” agreed Links. “Let’s get rescuin’!”
“Yeah! Bring on the snapping monsters!” roared Oxo, pawing the ground and eyeballing the nearest doorpost.
Only Jaycey was unmoved by the tidal wave of enthusiasm. She hadn’t at all liked the “fairest ewe” bit. Or the line about Tuftella’s fleece being the “finest.” Or her ears and hooves the “daintiest.” The Songs of the Fleece were so last year and garbage. If there was any swooning to be done, whatever that was, rams with decent eyesight should be doing it at Jaycey’s feet, not tacky Tuftella’s. What a stupid name anyway.
“And where’s this Down Under?” she asked sniffily. “If it’s farther than North or West, you can forget it.”
The question produced instant silence. Only Wills ever knew the answer to this kind of thing. All eyes turned to him.
“Um. Australia, I think. And maybe New Zealand too.”
“Australia!” Sal’s gasp caused the little hut to wobble. “Isn’t that where Tod and Ida have gone? A very, very long way away?”
Wills nodded. “On the other side of the world.”
“That’s that then,” said Jaycey, flouncing past the others and out into the field. “Tuftella will just have to save her own fly-bitten fleece.”
The others followed her out. The breeze was stronger now and the sound of sighing and sobbing filled their heads. Even Jaycey began to feel a bit ashamed of herself.
Wills still felt sure it was the wind in the boats’ rigging. And yet...It also did sound like someone crying and calling for help. And as Sal had pointed out, the prophetic verses had never been wrong. Wills turned suddenly, wriggled under the fence, and trotted quickly away down the winding lane to the sea. The others followed, not knowing why, but somehow drawn toward the sad sound calling to them. Calling from across the water.
They stopped on the harbor wall, behind a pile of lobster pots, and stared hopelessly at the waves. Somewhere out there was Down Under. But how could they possibly cross this mighty ocean?
Then Wills’s eyes were drawn to the bulk of a large boat moored in the harbor. Tethered to the wall. Tethered like a sleek, powerful animal. Wills had never seen such a vessel, even on television in the farmhouse kitchen. He could tell it was fast: its twin hulls seemed to lean forward eagerly and when the engines suddenly started, their roar and rumble scared and thrilled him in equal measure. He crept nearer still and saw the name painted on the boat’s hull: DESTINY.
Crew members were hurrying to and fro, loading supplies from vans parked on the quayside.
“What’s the panic, Skip?” panted one of the men as he shouldered a box labeled Very Expensive Cosmetics.
“The owner just phoned,” replied the skipper. “She’ll be here in half an hour. And she doesn’t take kindly to being kept waiting.”
“She must be mega rich to own a boat like this!” called one of the van drivers. The skipper didn’t reply. The van driver called again. “So where you headed?”
“New Zealand,” grunted the skipper.
“What, all the way Down Under?”
“Yep. Not bad for a maiden voyage, eh?”
On the harbor wall, Wills stood frozen. But his head was spinning. He heard himself mumbling.
“Destiny...Down Under...Down Under...Maiden Voyage...Maiden...Maiden in Distress...Sheeply Maiden in Distress. DOWN UNDER...MAIDEN IN DISTRESS...DESTINY...MAIDEN VOYAGE!”
He steadied himself. The others were staring at him, openmouthed.
“Quick,” Wills breathed. “We’ve got a boat to catch!”
Length: 7.75 in
Width: 5.25 in
Weight: 9.04 oz
Page Count: 256 pages