Stories for Edmond

A place for me to keep track of stories I tell my son.

The Lamb and the Yam



Once upon a time there was a little lamb, and he lived on a beautiful farm where he and his brothers and sisters spent all day on the greenest of meadows, and all night on the softest hay, all cuddled up together. The little lamb was never hungry, and because he was the smallest of the lambs, he was even able to squeeze under fences and behind troughs, to get the sweetest of grasses that none of the other lambs could reach.

However, the lamb had one sadness in his life, and this was that many of his brothers and sisters made fun of him for being so small. They would exclude him from all their games saying he was too little and unable to keep up with them.

So it was that one day when the little lamb had wandered off, feeling low, he found himself in a little valley he’d never visited before. He was munching some meadow grass, when a smallish brown lump caught his eye. It was unlike anything he’d ever seen before, something between a root and a rock.

As the lamb approached it to give it a good sniff, to his amazement the little yam (for that is what it was) spoke to him, saying, “Little Lamb, I am a yam, and if you are good to me you shall have the desires of your heart.”

Now, the little lamb was a good little lamb, and he wanted more than anything to impress his brothers and sisters, so he took the yam back to his flock, saying “Look! Look! I have found a yam! And it is a magic yam! And it can speak!”

But his brothers and sisters mocked him, saying, “Bah! Silly little lamb, yams are not magical. They are just for eating.” And so before the yam could even open his mouth to speak, the bigger lambs took the yam from Little Lamb, chopped it up, and made a stew.

That night, the Ghost of the Yam visited the flock. “You silly lambs,” said the yam, “You let your appetite get the better of you, and you ate a magic yam. Had you kept me, you could have had the desires of your heart, but you were foolish and hasty and didn’t even let me explain myself. As punishment for your wickedness, you will experience one day of indigestion and a lifetime of regret.”

Then the Ghost of the Yam turned to the little lamb. “You were good, and because you did not eat me, I will grant you the desires of your heart. You have three wishes.”

The Little Lamb knew right away what his first wish would be (and I bet you can guess what it was). “Yam, I wish to be big. I wish to be bigger than all of my brothers and sisters.”

“That is a silly thing to wish, little lamb, as you will come to see. But here is your heart’s desire. Be big and fat, like your kin.”

Instantly, the little lamb became the biggest lamb in the flock.

Not-so-little Lamb spent one day blissfully happy. He beat all his brothers in a game of hide-and-sheep. He jumped over the highest fence as no other lamb had ever dreamt of doing before. He even grew a little proud, and shoved one of his sisters just to show he could.

But on the second day of his bigness, the farmer came into the pasture. It was time to make a lamb stew, and so of course the farmer wanted the biggest, fattest lamb for his dinner. Our lamb was chosen for the night’s supper, but as the farmer approached him, he called out, “YAM! YAM!”

The ghost of the yam appeared to him again.

“I wish to be free. Free of the farmer and my family once and for all.”

“That is a silly thing to wish, not-so-little lamb, but you’ll soon learn. Here is your heart’s desire: be free, out in the wide open.”

Instantly, the lamb found himself alone on a hilltop. There was green grass all around, and a babbling brook gurgling sweetly, and the fluffiest, lamb-shaped clouds you ever saw, floating by lazily overhead.

The not-so-little, wild and free lamb spent one day blissfully happy. He ate all he wanted, took a rollicking splash in the stream all by himself, got fearfully muddy with no one to tell him not to, splashed about some more, and fell asleep beneath a star-filled sky.

But on the second day of his wildness, the lamb began to grow tired of being so alone. He wanted someone to talk to. He missed his hay and the pasture he loved. He missed cuddling up with his family at night.

“YAM! YAM!” he cried, as the sky began to grow dark on his second day of freedom.

The ghost of the yam appeared.

“I am ready to make my final wish,” said the lamb. “I wish to be just as I was, with my family on the farm. I wish to be my own self.”

“Ah,” said the ghost of the yam, “that is the wisest wish of all.”

Instantly, the little lamb found himself little again, back on the farm with his brothers and sisters. They had all missed him very much, and swore never to be mean to him again (a promise they mostly upheld). Little lamb realized how silly it was to wish himself bigger or wish himself free, and felt truly happy just to be himself.

And so the lamb had his heart’s desire, and lived happily ever after.


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