‘Despite being entombed in freezing snow with no food for a month and having to lick ice to quench their thirst, there is no serious injury, hypothermia or any other long lasting effects to show for it,’ said their farmer, who admitted he thought they were lost for good. ‘But I can’t for the life of me understand why they came out looking quite so sheepish.’
Professor Evans, head of Sheep Psychology at Aberystwyth University, said it is remarkable how resilient the ovine spirit can be. ‘They must have found some way to keep their spirits up. Let’s not forget these are rams, heavily pumped up on testosterone, and that strong primal urge may have been translated into a dogged determination to survive and make the best of things. Of course, sheep being sheep, if one of them suggested a way to pass the time the other one would likely have just gone along with it. They’re probably too traumatised to talk about their experience now and may need some time to come to terms with whatever it was that went on.’
The rams received a hero’s welcome as they returned to the farmyard where they quickly retreated to shelter in the barn, huddling together for warmth in a manner the farmer described as ‘unnaturally close’ as he walked away, shaking his head and muttering something about them ‘getting a tent’.
‘The big test of any lasting psychological change will come when the rams have that tell-tale paint prod strapped to their bellies to let us know where they’ve ‘been’, and are then let out into the field with the ewes,’ said the farmer, ‘We have to be patient, but we also have to recognise that what they’ve been through may have caused them to completely ‘lose interest’ in their job.’
‘If that’s the case, they’ll be packed off the the abbattoir, processed, ironically labelled as ‘stallion’ and flogged on to Ikea.’