: BIRDS AND BEASTS.
: Welsh Folk-lore
It was thought that the devil could assume any animal's form excepting
that of the sheep. This saying, however, is somewhat different from what
a farmer friend told me of black sheep. He said his father, and other
farmers as well, were in the habit of killing all their black lambs,
because they were of the same colour as the devil, and the owners were
afraid that Satan had entered, or would enter into them, and that
herefore these sheep were destroyed. He stated that his father went on
his knees on the ground and prayed, either before or after he had killed
the black lambs. It is a common saying that the black sheep is the
ringleader of all mischief in a flock of sheep. The expression, He is a
black sheep, as applied to a person, conveys the idea that he is a
worthless being, inclined to everything that is bad.
It is even now in country places thought to be a lucky omen if anyone
sees the head of the first spring lamb towards him. This foretells a
lucky and prosperous year to the person whose eyes are thus greeted.