Discover Christmas gifts we know they'll love
The Sheep’s Tale

The Sheep’s Tale

The story of our most misunderstood farmyard animal

Summary

'An important book on several levels... Read a few sentences out loud, wherever you are.' Rosamund Young

Everybody thinks they know what sheep are like: they're stupid, noisy, cowardly ('lambs to the slaughter'), and they're 'sheepwrecking' the environment.

Or maybe not. Contrary to popular prejudice, sheep are among the smartest animals in the farmyard, fiercely loyal, forming long and lasting friendships. Sheep, farmed properly, are boons to biodiversity. They also happen to taste good and their fleeces warm us through the winter - indeed, John Lewis-Stempel's family supplied the wool for Queen Elizabeth's 'hose'.

Observing the traditional shepherd's calendar, The Sheep's Tale is a loving biography of ewes, lambs, and rams through the seasons. Lewis-Stempel tends to his flock with deep-rooted wisdom, ethical consideration, affection, and humour. This book is a tribute to all the sheep he has reared and sheared - from gregarious Action Ram to sweet Maid Marion. In his inimitable style, he shares the tales that only a shepherd can tell.

Reviews

  • I found this book not only pleasingly escapist but also nostalgic... the writing is vivid, lyrical and seductive... There's a romance to shepherding that is entirely absent from pig and poultry farming.
    The Times

About the author

John Lewis-Stempel

John Lewis-Stempel is a farmer and 'Britain's finest living nature writer' (The Times). His books include the Sunday Times bestsellers Woodston, The Running Hare and The Wood. He is the only person to have won the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing twice, with Meadowland and Where Poppies Blow. In 2016 he was named Magazine Columnist of the Year for his column in Country Life. He farms cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. Traditionally.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more