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The Parable of the Shepherd and his Sheep

Once upon a time, there was a Shepherd who owned a vast flock of sheep. The Shepherd was a good, kind, just and loving man.  And he loved all of his sheep dearly, so that whenever one of the sheep misbehaved, he gave that sheep to a local Sheep Torturer, who worked slowly upon the sheep with flaying knives and fire, that the sheep might be kept in unbearable torment until the end of days.

But if a sheep was good all its life, and trusted and loved the Shepherd, that sheep would be sent to the slaughterhouse and killed painlessly and quickly.

The house of the Sheep Torturer was close by, so that the Shepherd could hear the screams and cries of the tortured sheep as easily as he could hear the contented bleating of his obedient flock.  And the Shepherd was content, for he was a good, kind, just and loving man.

But one day, the Shepherd noted that he was sending an alarming number of sheep to the sheep torturer, and so he bade his only Son to dress up in a lambskin, and go to learn the language of the sheep, and give them his word.  And the Son put on a lambskin, freshly flayed, and went among the sheep, and learned to speak with them.

And he told them, "If you place your full trust in the Shepherd, you will not die when sent to the slaughterhouse, but you will join my Father the Shepherd in his house at his table in the afterlife.  But if you reject my Father the Shepherd, you shall be sent to the Sheep Torturer forever.  I now sacrifice myself to seal this covenant between you and my Father."

And the Son cast off the bloody lambskin and went away.  And the sheep sniffed at the cast-off lambskin, and were sore amazed, and proclaimed it a miracle.

And most of the sheep reformed, and trusted and loved the Shepherd, who loved them deeply in return.  And when they were sent to the slaughterhouse, it was as the Son had spoken - they did indeed join the Shepherd in his house at his own table afterwards.

And they were delicious.

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