Chapter OneOnce upon a time in a sunny valley, there lived a little lamb named Joshua. He was white with black spots, black feet, and ... sad eyes.
Josh felt sad when he saw the other lambs with snow-white wool and no spots. He felt sad when he saw the other sheep with their moms and dads because he didn't have a mom or dad.
But he felt saddest when he saw the other lambs running and jumping, because he couldn't. Josh had been born with one leg that didn't work right. He was crippled. He always limped when he walked.
That's why he always watched while the other lambs ran and played. Josh felt sad and alone—except when Abigail was around.
Abigail was Josh's best friend. She didn't look like a friend for a lamb. She was an old cow. She was brown with white blotches that looked like rain puddles on a path. Her belly was as round as a barrel, and her voice was always kind and friendly.
Some of Josh's favorite hours were spent with Abigail.
They loved to pretend they were on adventures in distant lands. Josh liked to listen to Abigail tell stories about the stars. They would spend hours on the hill, looking into the valley. They were good friends.
But even with a friend like Abigail, Josh still got sad. It made him sad to be the only lamb who could not run and jump and play in the grass. That's when Abigail would turn to him and say, "Don't be sad, little Joshua. God has a special place for those who feel left out."
Josh wanted to believe her. But it was hard. Some days he just felt alone. He really felt alone the day the shepherds decided to take the lambs to the next valley where there was more grass. The sheep had been in this valley so long, the ground was nearly bare.
All the sheep were excited when the shepherd told them they were going to a new meadow.
As they prepared to leave, Josh hobbled over and took his place on the edge of the group. But the others started laughing at him.
"You're too slow to go all the way to the next valley."
"Go back, Slowpoke. We'll never get there if we have to wait on you!"
"Go back, Joshua."
That's when Josh looked up and saw the shepherd standing in front of him. "They are right, my little Joshua. You better go back. This trip is too long for you. Go and spend the night in the stable."
Josh looked at the man for a long time. Then he turned slowly and began limping away.