We entered the barn to the sound of hundreds of bleats. Small voices, loud moans, baa, bleat, baa, baa. Sheep were everywhere. Ewes with massive, swollen bellies. Tiny, newborn lambs. White. Black. Spotted.
“Can you grab me a rope?” The farmer yelled above the din.
“Já. Já. Yes. Yes. This one?” The man asked reaching his wrinkled hand into a box on a small table in the corner.”
“No, next to it, the thinner one.”
The man picked up a small rope and hurried toward the farmer. We scurried behind him. My toddlers, wide-eyed and silent for the first time all morning, clung to my jacket.
I tripped over a pile of straw, before I caught my fall and recovered. Looking up, I watched the farmer tie the string around a small white something coming out of the end of a sheep.
The farmer crouched low and pulled, yanking on a limb, then on the string. Sweat gathered on his forehead and he wiped his brow with his sleeve. Nothing moved. He stood and his gloved hands emerged, covered in blood. “She’s a big one, this. Can’t get her to come out.”
The ewe bleated again and the farmer sat. Again he pulled. Two legs. A head. And finally, a little lamb.