I find myself reading a book called Tales of the Farmyard to my, almost, six month old son Joshua. The lad probably is not following the stories clearly, at this stage he just about knows that a sheep is big, white, fluffy , has four legs and goes baaaa while a cat is like Oakley so is black and white, less big, has only three legs and goes miaow. As I read "The Tale of the naughty sheep" by author Heather Amery, I felt the need to explain a few things to Joshua.
The sheep in question is one of seven owned by the farmer, Mrs Boot. Mrs Boot also grows flowers, has a dog and two kids. She has no ring on her hand and I see no sign of Mr Boot. I can't see many signs of much else on the farm but she employs a labourer to assist her.
As I explained to Joshua this was simply to show that women can be the boss. But a farm with just flowers and seven sheep is, I suggest, not capable of sustaining Mrs Boot and the two little Boots as well as the labourer. How is this farm funded, I asked Joshua. Is it down to massive EU subsidies or is everyone on income support? This was naturally a good discussion to have with the lad to ensure he grows up as a right thinking member of society.
The Mrs suggests that Mr Boot works in the City and Mrs Boot cleaned him out in a divorce settlement and that this is subsidising her farm. So I also flagged up that possibility to Joshua as this will provide a useful entree to the works of Ayn Rand which we will be starting shortly.
In this tale, one sheep is very naughty, eats lots of Mrs Boot's flowers and then escapes. In the end he wins a prize at the local show and comes back to eat more flowers. That is because at Mrs Boot's farm sheep are just ornaments. I changed the ending for Joshua. The naughty sheep came home via an abattoir and appeared on the supper table.
Books like this are not written for folks like Joshua but for parents who have never seen animals killed on a farm. They are for a generation that really does think that meat comes from Sainsbury's and always arrives wrapped in plastic and who think farming is a gentle rural existence where there is no such thing as animal death and where Mr Foxy Woxy, the fluffy sheep, folks like Mrs Boot , the dog and the chickens all live as one great big happy family.
The sooner Joshua and I move onto Atlas Shrugged the better.