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.