Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Baa.. Baa Black Sheep"

Have ewe ever wondered where the term "Black Sheep of the Family" originated? Well, I did a little research & uncovered a few interesting observations.

Why did I have to get such a bad reputation?

The earliest written record of the term "Black Sheep" used negatively, was recorded in 1786 by Charles Macklin. He wrote a comedy called The man of the world, which contained the phrase: "Oh , Ye villain!  you- you- you are a black sheep; and I'll mark you".

Do Ewe think I stand out?
It's really unclear why the term "Black Sheep" was adopted as a picture of worthlessness or waywardness. One possibility is that in England at the time, black things were associated in various texts with bad things. This allusion can be seen in -black moods, -black looks (in literature), & the Black Death. 
So Ewe think Ewe have Trouble? All I have to raise is Black sheep!
Another possibility is that shepherds weren't able to profit from the wool on a black sheep. They were only able to dye wool that was taken from white sheep. Too bad they didn't see value in darker colors.

Thanks for sharing, even though I'm the "Black Sheep" of the family!
The phrase actually originated due to genetics. White sheep give birth to an occasional black sheep due to the process of genetically passing on recessive traits. Black panthers & white lions are other examples of this genetic phenomenon. Sheepherders in England in the 17th & 18th centuries saw a black sheep as a bad omen. The black wool was interpreted as a "mark of the devil"!

Do Ewe have something Ewe want to say about "Black Sheep"? 

 Black sheep also have the distinction  of being included in some old English nursery rhymes. Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, published in 1744, first printed the famous rhyme below.

Bah, Bah, a black Sheep
Have you any Wool?
Yes merry have I,
Three Bags full,
One for my master,
One for my Dame,
One for the little Boy
That lives down the lane.

I'm really pretty nice, if ewe take the time to get to know me.

Sheep are beautiful creatures, created in a variety of sizes, shapes, & colors, for us to enjoy. Shepherds that spend quality time with them,  even the "Black Sheep", can appreciate their uniqueness.

Don't laugh! Try to remember how Ewe look , just after a haircut!
Today, as Ewe reflect on our Awesome God, celebrate His distinct creativity, as Ewe encounter the people He has put in Ewer life!

"For thou has possessed my reins: thou has covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully & wonderfully made;.."Ps.139:13,14a

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