Bowes Moor.

Sheep on Bowes Moor.

At the campsite early in the morning; Josie was grilling sausages; A sorry-looking figure, with a petted-lip, arrived; It was Francie;

‘Aw, Francie, my wee pet, there you are. Look at the state o’ ye, Francie, where have ye been a’ night? I’ve been worried sick,’ said Phemie.

‘Aye, we’ve a’ been demented, Francie. Where have ye been?’ asked Jessie.

‘Francie, where the heck have ye been?’ asked Josie. ‘Ye look like ye’ve been dragged through a blinkin’ bramble bush backwards,’ said Josie. ‘We’ve a’ been worried aboot ye. Ye’ve been oot a’ night, where have ye been?’ asked Josie, again.

‘Aw, Josie, I met an auld shepherd in the pub in Bowes last night an’ we had a few drinks an’ a right good natter. He was going oot ower the moor in his quad bike tae coont a’ his sheep an’ he asked me tae gie him a help. Well, Josie, when we arrived on the moor we had anither few drinks and then we started coontin’ his flock. Well. Josie, when I goat tae a hundred, I fell asleep. When I woke up this mornin’ there wis nae sign o’ the auld shepherd. I’m cauld and jiggered an’ I’m hungry. I had tae walk a’ the way back here a’ by myself,’ said Francie, with his bottom lip trembling.

Bowes Museum.

‘Aw, Francie, ye should know better. Ye shouldnae let an auld Bowes shepherd pull the wool ower yer eyes,’ said Josie. ‘Have ye never heard the sayin’, Francie, “If ye cannae sleep then coont sheep?” Josie asked. 

‘Sure, Josie, sure, Josie,’ said Francie, ‘but I thought it wis just an auld wives tale.’ said Josie.

‘Naw, Francie, it’s nae auld wives tale, it’s true,’ said Josie. ‘Let me explain tae ye Francie, so that even the maist dim-witted amongst us understauns,’ said Josie.

‘Would that be Jessie, Josie?’ asked Francie, sniggering.

‘Hey, ye, wee man, ye watch yer mooth, or else ye’ll get this pot o’ beans ower ye napper,’ said Jessie.

‘Anyway, tae continue whit I wis sayin’, said Josie. ‘This is yin o’ the auldest tricks these auld shepherds play.’ said Josie. ‘They know that the sheep possess these hypnotic powers and they never look intae their eyes when they’re coontin’ them,’ said Josie. ‘That’s how they never fall asleep,’ said Josie.

‘So, how dae they coont the sheep, Josie, withoot lookin’ intae their eyes, an’ fallin’ asleep?’ asked Francie.

‘Well, Francie, I’m aboot tae tell ye the secret. Dae ye promise no’ tae disclose this secret tae anybody ootside o’ oor fraternity?’ asked Josie.

‘Sure, Josie, sure, Josie,’ said Francie.

‘The shepherds coont the legs o’ the sheep, Francie,’ said Josie.

‘They coont their legs, Josie,’ said Francie. ‘But how dae they know how many sheep they’ve goat?’ asked Francie.

‘They divide the sum o’ the legs by four, ye wee eejit,’ said Josie. ‘Dae ye want beans wi’ yer sausage, Francie?’ asked Josie.

‘Sure, Josie, sure, Josie,’ said Francie.

 Yorkshire Dales.

 Joe Sharp.

For adventures of Francie and Josie, click here.

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