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Markus Thorsen

Markus Thorsen

Illustrated by Trine Mangersen Compiled by Marcin Potepski

Š Copyright Studio Søtten 2009

Merino lived on a small farm; there he lived with 9 other sheep, a shepherd and the shepherd’s dog. Merino spent most of his looking through the fence and out into the big forest on the other side. Merino liked the forest. He would often daydream about one day exploring it and meeting all the different animals that lived there.

Merino was not like the other sheep, they only wanted to eat. That was all they did, and all they cared about. And always together, Merino sometimes thought they looked like one big ball of wool with hundreds of legs and an occasional head sticking out scouting for more food. Merino liked to jump. In fact he LOVED to jump. Jumping was his favourite thing in the whole world. But what Merino really wanted to do was to help other animals. He liked to help. In fact he LOVED to help. The other sheep in the farm didn’t need help with anything. Merino was bored.

Our story starts one day Merino was practicing his jumping, he could hear the dog bark towards some animal in the grass on the other side of the fence. But he could not see what it wasIn one swift move Merino jumped the fence, landed next to the animal the dog was barking at, picked it up with his teeth and jumped on.

When they were in a safe distance from the dog Merino let go of the animal and asked: “Who are you?” “I am a kakapo, I was trying to hide in the grass but the dog always finds me because I smell so strong” “My, that is unfortunate” Merino said. “Well, you’re safe now” And jumped on. Merino realised he was now on the outside the farm and thought it would be easier to find animals in need of help here on the outside.

It didn’t take long before Merino heard a strange noise. It was a loud noise he hadn’t heard before; he looked around but couldn’t see anything in the forest. Then he saw a bird, with a large egg (on a road) “don’t worry about that strange noise” said the bird, “it’s just a Cicada, it’s the loudest insect in the world” (in the distance a car was coming) “what are you and what are you doing?” Merino said to the bird with the large egg. “I am a Kiwi bird the bird said and I’m moving my egg for my burrow was destroyed by possums. But I have to walk because I cannot fly”

(The car was closing in) “Can you help me?” The Kiwi said, “I can’t walk fast enough with my egg” (Merinos eyes lit up) “YES!” he said and took a big jump and landed next to the kiwi with the large egg. “Climb on” he said. And took an even bigger jump out of the road just before the car drove by. When they landed, the Kiwi continued on his way and shouted back to Merino “THANK YOU, YOU SAVED OUR LIVES!”

Merino was happy, and jumped on. Hoping to find other animals in need of help.

Time passed and seasons changed, Merino’s wool grew bigger and bigger. He was warm. Maybe a little too warm.

One early spring day Merino came across another farm, he saw a small but fat animal behind a fence. The animal looked bored. “What are you, and why are you so bored?” Merino asked the animal. “I am a Kunekune pig the animal said. “And I am bored because I like to eat grass, but I’ve eaten all the grass and all I see is all this beautiful green grass outside of the fence” Merino remembered how he felt when he was behind a fence. “Don’t worry!” Merino said, “I’ll help you out!” He jumped across the fence and landed with a big graceless thud. “My, that was weird” he thought to himself, “I must be heavier than I thought”

“Your days of boredom are over!” Merino said to the Kunekune pig. “Climb on and I’ll jump you to the greenest grass you have ever seen!” He jumped and barely made it over the fence, when they landed the pig rolled off and Merino was laying face flat on the ground. “It was very soft sitting in your wool” the Kunekune pig said. “But you are not so good at jumping” Merino thought about this for a second and walked on.

Winter came and went, and Merino had become so large he could barely jump.

One early summer day he was so warm he went into a swamp to cool off. There he saw a strange looking bird with long legs walking around. The bird looked sad. “What are you and why are you so sad?” Merino asked. “I am a Pukeko bird” the bird said “and I am sad because I want to see the sun, but the sun doesn’t shine down here in the swamp. Also, I cannot fly”

“Climb on!” Merino said “and I’ll jump you up above the highest tree and you will see the sun again!” “Splendid!” The Pukoko bird said (and climbed on) Merino, big as he was, jumped as high as he could, but he could not reach the highest tree, the Pukoko could almost catch a glimpse of the sun rays before they came back down again. “I’m sorry you didn’t get to see the sun” Merino said. “I almost saw the sun!” The Pukoko said, “You tried your best”

Merino was sad he couldn’t jump anymore, so he walked out of the swamp and lay down on top of a hill. He could see his old farm at the bottom of the hill, he saw the 9 other sheep, the shepherd and the shepherd’s dog. And all he wanted to was to get back home. But he was too warm and too tired to walk down.

Then all of a sudden, all the animals he had helped came and the Kiwi asked him “Why are you lying here and not jumping anymore?” “My wool has grown too big for me to jump, and I am too tired to walk down to my farm.” Merino answered. The Kakapo stepped forward, “Because you helped me get away from that dog I will help you get down to your farm.” And started pushing Merino. Then the Kiwi stepped forward, “Because you saved me and my large egg from the car I will help you too” He too started pushing Merino. Then the Kunekune stepped forward and said “Because you jumped me over the fence so I could eat more grass I too will help you.” The Pig ran towards Merino and gave him a big push.

Merino was almost starting to move when the Pukoko stepped forward. “Because you tried your best to help me see the sun. I will do my best to help you get to your farm!� And with his long legs he pushed Merino, so Merino went rolling down the hill.

He rolled so fast there was no way for him to stop.

He broke through the fence and crashed in the big ball of wool that was the other sheep so they flew all over the place. Merino was home. The next day Merino was sheared and he was so light that he could jump higher than he had ever jumped before. Sometimes Merino would still look to the other side of the fence and daydream about his times outside the farm. But he did not want to run away again, He liked living on the farm now, and every so often all his new friends would come and visit and they would talk for hours about their exciting adventures.



Great story by Norwegian photographer Markus Thorsen illustrated by one and only Trine Mangersen

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