When our daughter was born, my mother tracked down an out-of-print copy of my favorite childhood book, “Lambs for Dinner”.
30 years later, I only had the hazy memories that 1) I once thought this was the greatest book ever written, and 2) it centered on a delightful play on words, perhaps the first I had ever encountered.
Then I started reading it to my 3-month old daughter.
The story goes that four little lambs are left home alone, told by their mother to not let Mr. Wolf in because Mr. Wolf wants to, “have them all for dinner”.
Mr. Wolf then comes and knocks on the door and says, “I want to have you all for dinner.” They tell him to go away.
He then comes back, pretending to be their mother. Your voice is too gruff, they say. Go away. So he buys some honey to make his voice sweeter and repeats the ruse. Then they say, we can see you have black fur, you’re not our mother, go away.
So then he does this:
And the lambs, thinking he is their mother because he now has a honeyed voice and white fur, finally let him in.
They see he is Mr. Wolf and scatter, but he finds 3 out of 4 of them and takes them away in his giant sack.
Except for Clover, who was the best at hiding, and can now be found crying alone inside the fireplace:
“‘HE TOOK EVERYBODY AWAY IN A BIG BAG.'”
But not to despair! Mama Sheep grabs a big stick and goes with Clover to retrieve her siblings from Mr. Wolf’s house, and soon finds out that he just wanted them as dinner guests! What a crazy misunderstanding! Let’s all laugh about it over some good food with our new, misunderstood friend, Mr. Wolf.
Anyway, I don’t think I’ll be reading this to my daughter. But now I feel like I have some new insight into my dating life in my 20s.