Sheep Tales

Sheep Tales

by Ken Davis



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Sheep Tales by Ken Davis

Meet Galya, one of the nicest sheep you could hope to know. Far too nice to be hanging out with a crusty, bitter bird like Edgar the raven. Yet, who but someone as kind and wise as Galya could see past Edgar's nastiness to his deepest need and care about him enough to tell him the Sheep Tales?

In Sheep Tales, the animals have their say. Here is the Bible story as you and your children have never experienced it, seen through the eyes of Galya, Edgar, Arvid the platypus, Dandy the lion, Glubber the whale, and other furry, feathery, and creepy-crawly creatures made and loved by God.

This devotional storybook will touch and delight your children—and you. With tenderness, humor, and creativity, author Ken Davis takes your imagination to the very heart of the gospel: God's love, displayed from the Creation to the Resurrection. It's big enough to weave the animals children love into God's awesome plan of redemption. And it's wonderful enough and strong enough to heal anything—even a broken and angry heart like Edgar's.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310227588
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 06/28/2001
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ken Davis provides a unique mixture of side-splitting humor and inspiration that never fails to delight and enrich audiences of all ages. Davis's daily radio program, Lighten Up! is broadcast on over 500 stations nationwide. Ken Davis es uno de los oradores mas aclamados en el mundo de habla inglesa. Su elocuente humor nunca deja de inspirar y sorprender a publicos de todas las edades. Su programa de radio es uno de los mas populares de la radio cristiana en Estados Unidos.

Read an Excerpt

Sheep Tales

The Bible According to the Animals Who Were There
By Ken Davis


Copyright © 2001 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-22758-5

Chapter One

Galya and Edgar


Galya was dreaming-and it was a good one!

In Galya's dream, he skipped across a beautiful green meadow teeming with lush grass waving in the wind. The sky was blue and the air was cool. The meadow and its delicious food seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see. Galya wandered past wolves in this dream, and the wolves merely offered a smile. He watched with wide eyes as two small lambs snuggled deep into the furry mane of a lion for a nap.

What a place! In this meadow there were no predators. A wild and wonderful feeling of freedom washed over him as he leaped across the fields and played without fear. Of course it was a dream, he knew that-but who cared? Perhaps he would never awaken.

Of course, he did.

A sound invaded Galya's dream-an unpleasant sound that had no place at all in such a wonderful world. It was the sound of a hollow growl. And Galya was suddenly and abruptly awake.

In the waking world, a gate was swinging open. Galya's eyes burned as yellow light danced through the darkened sheep pen. There was no way he could comprehend that the gentle slumber and the delightful dream, just snatched from his grasp, were gone, never to return. He couldn't know that the following moments would change his life forever. He struggled to his feet as the muffled sounds clearly became the familiar, droning voices of the men. He blinked away the sleep as the flickering light revealed the image of two of them, searching the pen with a lamp.

Galya's racing heart began to settle back into a normal cadence. Perhaps he could go back to sleep and rejoin the wonderful dream. He knew there was no need to assume the worst-shepherds often checked their sheep at night. Occasionally the men would remove a lamb for a thing they called sacrifice. And sacrifice was something Galya had given a lot of thought to. It was a mysterious thing, something the other sheep revered and feared at the same time. Galya had been taught that to be chosen for sacrifice was an honor. It seemed to be a proud thing. But it was also clear to him that those who were chosen never returned. It was hard for him to conceive of any proud thing being worthy of death, especially his own death.

Galya was young, after all. He had his whole life before him-all the abundant adventures and opportunities that sheep life offered. There were romances to be explored, games to be played, escapades to be pursued.

That's why Galya had certain fears about being selected for sacrifice, no matter how great an honor it was presumed to be. He supposed the thing would come without warning. Couldn't it happen at any time, on any day, while he grazed happily or napped peacefully? And then there was the undeniable truth that he was the perfect candidate for sacrifice. He had such fine wool. He was admired by all the ewes and rams, and some of them even looked to him as a leader. Galya knew he was special-and the men were always looking for sheep who were special.

But Galya had one thing in his favor: He was pretty crafty for a sheep. He had watched closely, and he knew what kinds of things the men checked for-perfect skin, wool that held no spots or blemishes. He had worked out a plan to remove himself from consideration.

Galya kept an eye on the dwellings where the men stayed. And every time one of the men would come to select a sheep and lead it away, Galya would roll in the mud. His coat would be filthy; his smell would be uninviting, to say the least. Whenever the men drew near, Galya would walk with a limp and make pitiful little bleating sounds.

He knew what he wanted, but much more than that, he knew what he didn't want. He didn't want to be taken away for some ritual he did not understand-some ritual no sheep ever returned from. And so far his plan was working and his life had been spared.

Galya thought about all these things as he shook away the sleep. It would be so much nicer to be thinking about that beautiful dream, the one with the friendly wolves and lions and the acres of delicious grass. But the dreamy details were fading quickly now as the men made their rounds. The shepherds moved slowly, flooding each little corner with light, rubbing their hairy chins and speaking in soft tones. Galya's heartbeat had almost returned to normal as the men moved toward him and raised their lamps so that he blinked away the glare.

There was nothing to worry about; they always passed him by for some older, finer specimen of sheep. Tonight Galya was relieved to realize he was far from a fine specimen. His wool was matted with hay and dirt from the pen. Drool was on his chin. His eyes blinked sleepily as he waited for the men to move to the next candidate. In another moment he would be snoozing again. But the next moment didn't follow the usual pattern.

As Galya began to lay his head back down, a rope slid suddenly and tightly under his chin and around his neck. Hands were gripping his ears and his legs. Then there was a harsh pull as they yanked him to his feet, and he skidded across the hay toward the gate. Galya was in the moonlight, between the men, and they were leading him away.

His heart tried to take in the truth of it. His mind tried to catch up and think ahead. But he was not prepared for this thing that had struck like a thunderbolt. In his confusion he made out the words from the men's lips, the words they always said when a sheep had been chosen for sacrifice: "God will be pleased."

Galya didn't know how much time had passed before he heard another gate creak open, and he found himself in a new pen-one he had never seen before. He was left there alone, but he had no intention of staying. As soon as the men were out of sight, he searched every inch of the pen for a weak spot, some thin section in the hedge he could apply his nose to and force an opening. Maybe he could escape.

But there was no weak spot. He began to feel more desperate, and at least a dozen times he hurled his body into the sides of the pen, only to fall back, bruised and weak. Finally he just lay where he had fallen, too tired to stumble to his feet another time. What was the use? He lay panting until finally, in sheer exhaustion, he fell into a fitful sleep and tried desperately to recall the beautiful dream-the world completely free of angry wolves and shepherds who led sheep to their deaths. But that dream had slid from his grasp, only to be replaced by nightmares that seemed destined to come true.

Galya had no way to know how long he slept. But it was clear that the sun had risen above the horizon and was nudging the cool air from the misty morning. Even with his eyes clamped shut, the soft rays of the sun pushed a radiant red light through his eyelids. The light flickered momentarily as a shadow swept by. Galya heard the whisper of wings.

"Edgar," he murmured. The last thing he needed now was a visit from Edgar. Edgar was drawn to trouble as flies are drawn to a carcass.

Galya knew that Edgar had landed nearby and was taking in the scene through his cloudy, half-blind eyes. Edgar would be gazing hard into the pen, listening, testing the air to be certain it was truly his old friend, Galya. It had to be Edgar. Galya buried his head deeper in the dirt and waited for the crusty cackle.


It came, all right-a crusty cackle. "And where is your God now, Little Lamb?"

"My name is Galya," Galya snapped.

Edgar was a friend, in a way, but he was the kind of friend who requires plenty of patience. He was that kind of friend whom, if you weren't careful, you might confuse with an enemy. He pushed friendship to its limits.

He mocked and challenged whatever Galya said, always looking for an argument. Edgar called Galya "Little Lamb" simply to embarrass him. He had sat quietly on a branch and heard Galya's mother calling him "God's little lamb," even though he was a grown sheep. Edgar took advantage of little details like that.

Edgar was not the kind of friend to offer encouragement or comfort. He was like a bad itch under Galya's skin. Galya wasn't quite sure why he put up with Edgar in the first place, and he certainly couldn't figure out why Edgar stayed around when all he ever did was badger and bother him.

As a baby raven, Edgar had clung to his mother much longer than his siblings had; he had simply had no choice. All the birds knew about his eyes-the eyes that had never worked properly. Edgar didn't have the razor-sharp vision that is the pride of every raven. He could make out a bit of light; he could detect motion. But it was a vague and misty world that passed before Edgar's eyes. His view of the world was like peering through milky ice.

Because of his problem, Edgar's mother had prudently taught him to be careful at all times. Nothing could be taken for granted. On his own, Edgar knew he had to be tough and he had to be quick. So Edgar peered intently through his half-blind eyes. He attacked first and asked questions later. What seemed like some tempting morsel moving across the ground, usually turned out to be nothing more than a leaf or a bit of weed blowing in the wind.

Still, every once in awhile, Edgar would be rewarded with real food-the kind the strong-sighted birds could get. His first success had been a juicy beetle, a triumph he would never forget. Once he had even caught a mouse, a treat usually reserved for high-flying hawks or stealthy owls.

He lived for these rare rewards, and he strained his eyes and listened carefully. But his finest gift was his nose. A raven's main diet comes from the bodies of fallen, lifeless animals, and early in life Edgar developed a keen ability to smell dead things. It's true that most ravens don't smell so well, for they can hover high and use their fine eyesight to find the food they need.

But Edgar didn't have such eyes, and he had developed his sense of smell until he could detect a fallen rabbit or chipmunk from a mile away. His mother had taught him how to fly. Oh, the other ravens could fly circles around Edgar, but even with his limited eyesight he could stay aloft and hunt with his nose. Edgar refined an ingenious method for zeroing in on the exact location of a carcass. He glided in wide, low circles, testing the air for the unmistakable smell of death.

He sniffed-and he listened. When ravens gather for a feast, the chatter is high-pitched and intense. Some birds tear off their portions, swoop to a nearby branch, and sit there chuckling and chortling as they enjoy their dinner. Others circle high above, shouting in hungry anticipation. On a still day, their raspy exclamations can be heard for miles. Some sing for joy, some cackle in greed, and some exult in praise.

But not Edgar. It had been a long time since anything resembling praise emerged from his throat.

His mother often told him that his heart was so big she wondered how it fit in his body. She taught him to give thanks for the blessings of each day. She told him that a powerful and loving Bird-Maker, one who knew and loved every feather on his body, had been the one who carefully put him together, beak by feather by claw. His name was God.

What beautiful words his mother had! Edgar had loved to hear stories of God, the Bird-Maker, who had made not only the beautiful birds but a wide and wonderful world of amazing animals and simple seedlings and delicate autumn leaves. How he wished that someday, by some marvelous magic, it would be possible for him to see these wonders with his own eyes.

He hoped and dreamed, and he kept a smile in his heart. But his dreams were shattered on a crisp fall morning, the day his heart closed up for good.

Edgar had continued to return to the nest long after his brothers and sisters had gone to live on their own. He needed the help and protection he could find there. One morning he awoke and stretched, but he didn't hear his mothers soft call from a nearby branch. Every morning she would call and he would answer. Then he would follow her in flight as they searched for what his mother called "the provision of God." But this morning he didn't hear her voice, and he couldn't see her familiar blurry form.

Edgar cried out several times, softly at first and then with all his might. He turned his head from side to side, searching in vain for some tiny movement, for the shadow that would announce her arrival. How he wished he could see. He continued to call until mid-day. He was not afraid to fly without her; he had done it many times. If he watched carefully for the big landmarks she'd taught him to recognize, he could find his way back to the nest. The reason he didn't fly away now was that his mother might return, find him gone, and become concerned. Edgar could not bear the thought of causing her one moment of worry.

As late afternoon moved toward evening, Edgar was still calling out. But his voice had become strained and his throat swollen. His desperate calls had become rasps. Then he heard it-the unmistakable voice of a raven overhead, screeching with excitement because food had been spotted.

This was good news for Edgar. He was tired and worried, but he was also very hungry; he hadn't had a bite to eat all day. The voice of the calling raven was easy to recognize; it was I ago, one of the boldest and strongest scavengers in the area. And now I ago had found a meal for them all-which meant that other ravens would hear his announcement and come from miles around. One of them would surely be his mother, and she would greet him joyfully and help him get his fair share of the food. Edgar's heart raced in anticipation.

Then the wind shifted, and Edgar smelled it. The aroma was a strong one, so he knew the meal must be close to the nest. He knew from his earliest training that if he waited, he may have to share his meal with dozens of ravens or, worse yet, he may end up with nothing at all. Edgar stepped gingerly to the edge of the nest, made a little hop, and glided toward the feast. He was the first to arrive, and he was delighted that, at least for a few moments, he could dine in peace. Three more hops brought him to the blurry form of the fallen creature. Then a familiar aroma washed over him. He reeled with horror and stumbled backward. The fallen, lifeless thing on the ground-it was his mother.

Edgar was paralyzed. He could not fly away; he couldn't even move. He could only stand with his wings braced clumsily against the ground, trembling over the cold and unmoving body of feathers he had known as his mother. A shriek of grief and agony spilled from his throat, and he began to weep harder and more helplessly than he had ever known it was possible to weep.

Though Edgar was scarcely aware of anything else, a shadow flitted by in a whisper. It was the form of a raven-the one named I ago.


Excerpted from Sheep Tales by Ken Davis Copyright © 2001 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sheep Tales 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great for all ages. Ken does a fantastic job in using animals as an effective key in teaching bible lessons. You can read one chapter a night and still knows whats going on the next time you pick up the book. God can use animals to teach lessons as well as the heros of the faith. Ken makes that clear.