Uncle was leaning against a rock half way up the hillside. He didn’t seem surprised to see Ramani, and nodded quietly. His flock were roaming, or standing in the sheltered place. The shepherd boys, Aman and Rajive were sitting under a tree.
“Greetings Uncle. Greetings Rajive, Aman.”
Ramani knelt down by a small sheep that wasn’t standing up.
“Hello, little one,” she murmured.
The sheep was black and frizzy and not like the others. Ramani remembered helping with the birthing, back in the spring. She loved to see the tiny creatures fall out and wake up to life, and she never minded the blood and strange smells and the wetness. She had named this lamb Night, fed it with milk and took it home with her to keep it warm. Night had been so weak they didn’t think she would live. She was still much smaller than the others. Ramani held out her finger and the little sheep nuzzled it.
“Ramani, will you watch the flock. We are needed down in the village.” Uncle looked at her as if not wanting to frighten her. “A babe has died. They need all the men down there.”