The last shipment for the Wool Noir batt club contained the reveal of our mystery and a gradient batt. Did you guess the corn thief?
Chapter Three: Missing Pieces
The falling autumn leaves were giving way to light flurries. Decidedly chillier air was descending upon the farm when Cora called for an assembly in the barn. Some things were clear, but she’d need to talk with the flock to fill in the missing pieces.
Cora arrived in the barn 20 minutes before the scheduled meeting to find the llamas already set up and waiting, goofily expectant grins on their faces – and they were making popcorn. They LOVE drama, apparently. This real-life show has been better than anything they’d seen unfold before.
As the goats, chickens, and sheep trickled in, Cora went through the chain of events in her mind one more time.
At first, upon finding the black and white fibers, she’d assumed that Pickles was somehow involved. That theory was quickly dismissed when she realized the reason the farmer was working so hard in the orchard. Pickles, and the rest of the goats, had broken into the orchard, eating the apple trees, the raspberry bushes, and anything else they could find. An air-tight alibi. They were in trouble, but not for the corn. The farmer would deal with them.
Returning to the fence for more investigation, Cora realized that the fibers were not hairs, but bits of a feather. Following a trail, she found many more, and eventually, a large pile of mangled feathers. Black and white barred feathers. Only one chicken on the farm with feathers like that. Tailpipe. It appeared that he’d been attacked. When Cora first met Tailpipe, she’d assumed that he was molting, but this provided an alternative explanation for his crazy appearance. To survive such an attack was rare, there must be a connection with the missing corn… She needed to confront him to find out what it was.
When all the animals assembled, Cora shared what she’d learned with the denizens of the farm. When she finished. Tailpipe was near tears. “It was me. I did it!” he sobbed. “It was all my fault, I’m so sorry!”
“Why don’t you tell us what happened, Tailpipe” encouraged Cora.
“I spend a lot of time back there by the fence, because no one here in the barn likes me. One day, I saw that the fence was loose. I thought – hey – I’ll go exploring, and see if I can make some new friends! So, I made to slip through the fence. Just as I was doing so, I was snatched by a family of raccoons. I tried to fight them off, but there were too many of them. I feared that they were going to carry me away and eat me, so I tried making them an offer for my life. I told them about the corn. At first, they didn’t believe me, but I showed them. They called all their cousins, and ate ALL the corn in a single night. I think they’re still sleeping it off out in the woods-”
Tailpipe was about to continue his story when Martha interrupted him.. “Tailpipe – We are sorry. We didn’t mean for this to happen to you. We didn’t realize this until just now, but the missing corn is our fault. Not yours. We honestly thought that the goats stole it!” Martha shot a very unfriendly eye over to Pickles, who was sneaking up on the llama’s popcorn…
“Let me explain Cora, so you understand…” Martha began her story. “I see that even you have a scratch on your nose. From Tailpipe, no doubt. He has been scratching noses across the farm with in appropriate flying for years. Earlier this year, he scratched the nose of one of our lambs, as you may have heard. The scratch got infected, and the farmer thought it might be signs of a serious infection that she called ‘SEE-EL.’ She was very worried. She even talked about killing our lamb to protect the rest of the flock! Fortunately, before she made up her mind, the infection began to heal. That’s when the flock voted that Tailpipe had to go. He wouldn’t listen and stay on the ground. Stop flying onto our noses, Tailpipe!!!
“We wanted him to just leave. I asked the ram to loosen the fence back by where Tailpipe was hanging out. We figured we’d wait until he left, then make noise for the farmer to fix it. We NEVER wanted him to get hurt, just be gone.”
Cora nodded her head, and thought silently for a moment. Then she had a solution. “Martha – that was a very careless thing you did. What if one of your lambs slipped through the fence? They could’ve been eaten by coyotes!” For the first time, Martha seemed to become smaller. She realized the error of her plan – a plan enacted out of frustration and the desire to protect her flock, but with little thought.
Cora turned to Tailpipe: “Buddy, you’ve got to stop flying onto noses. You’ve not stopped when asked, so I’m afraid we’re going to take drastic action.” Addressing the crowd, Cora asked, “Does anyone know where the farmer keeps her wool shears?”
The llamas sprang to action and were back within 30 seconds, razor sharp shears in hand. Cora held Tailpipe down, while a llama descended upon the immobilized rooster with mischievous glee. One second later and “SNIP!!!” It was done. Tailpipe would never land on a nose again.
…And he was OK with that. The shears had painlessly snipped the flight feathers from his left wing. If ever he tried to fly, he simply tumbled to the ground. As he was now flightless, the rest of the farm started calling him “Penguin,” but Martha put a stop to that, saying that he’d been through enough, and shouldn’t be teased.
In the end, the incident of the missing corn brought the farm community closer together. All the animals better realized that their individual actions had the ability to affect many animals. Martha agreed to no longer lick up the chicken’s breakfast corn, and Tailpipe found contentment on the ground. With the exception of the shenanigans of Pickles, the farm was peaceful and drama free for many years.…to the great disappointment of the llamas.