Ancient Shepherd

There were so many stunning, ancient and wonderful sights that we saw on our recent trip to Malta. One that really stuck with me wasn’t an ancient building or beautiful nature scene: it was a shepherd. 

His face was as old and worn as the stone he walked on. He grazed the sheep on the Dingle Cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Ocean. The sheep chewed on the scraggly bushes amid the desert yellow of the pitted cliff.  

The only disappointment was his shepherd’s crook. I hoped for an ancient staff, a Wizard level stave. Instead, it was made of PVC tubing. The contrast with his ancient face was nearly hilarious.  

What really amazed me was not just the man. It’s the tradition. How many years does his family go back, or the traditions that were handed down to him? On an island that boasts one of the oldest Neolithic sites in the world, it’s possible we are talking about millenniums of shepherding. 

At one point, he spoke to the sheep and threw a stone near them. The sheep moved without hesitation. Perhaps this little trick is as old as the stone columns that made up the ancient temples.  

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