Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales

Christmas Bonus E.4: "The Honored Lamb and the Faithful Ewe"

January 05, 2024 Autumn Woods, Trent Stephenson Episode 4
Christmas Bonus E.4: "The Honored Lamb and the Faithful Ewe"
Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales
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Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales
Christmas Bonus E.4: "The Honored Lamb and the Faithful Ewe"
Jan 05, 2024 Episode 4
Autumn Woods, Trent Stephenson

The affluent ewe, Mrs. Foomsberry, has turned Lamb's Day, the fairy tale forest's celebration of Christ's birth, into an expensive, exclusive networking event.  When her obnoxious attitude gets out of hand, Mara, a sister ewe, throws down the gauntlet in the church parking lot. She's going to have her own Lamb's Day party and invite the entire community to celebrate in spirit and in truth--even though she's flat broke! Is she going to pull this off? You'll have to listen to find out. 

Written by Trenton James Stephenson, who also voices Mrs. Foomsberry.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The affluent ewe, Mrs. Foomsberry, has turned Lamb's Day, the fairy tale forest's celebration of Christ's birth, into an expensive, exclusive networking event.  When her obnoxious attitude gets out of hand, Mara, a sister ewe, throws down the gauntlet in the church parking lot. She's going to have her own Lamb's Day party and invite the entire community to celebrate in spirit and in truth--even though she's flat broke! Is she going to pull this off? You'll have to listen to find out. 

Written by Trenton James Stephenson, who also voices Mrs. Foomsberry.

Love this story? Let Autumn know!

Support the Show.

Christmas Bonus E.4

The Honored Lamb and the Faithful Ewe

Welcome to Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales ™. I’m your host, Autumn Woods, and I’m so excited you’re here. As many of you remember, my amazing husband, Trent, is a storyteller in his own right, and I love bugging him to write a new Christmas story for us to read to you every year. He actually finished writing this year’s story on Christmas day, so we’re having a little bit of an extended Christmas sharing it with you guys. This story takes place in the same world as “The Hedgehog’s Song,” so be sure to listen to that one if you haven’t. If you have, you’ll recognize some familiar voices. And yes, Trent will be doing one of the voices this year. Before we get started, I want to be clear—we love Christmas at our house. We decorate, we exchange gifts, and we celebrate Jesus coming as Immanuel, “God with us.” What Trent is lampooning here through the character of Mrs. Foomsberry is not the things that we do to celebrate, but way that doing them with a pharisaical heart can ruin them. When you do all the things that you around Christmastime, are you doing them to celebrate Jesus and remember what He did, or are you doing them to make yourself look good in front of other people? It’s no different than two people with different hearts singing the same praise and worship song. There’s nothing wrong with the song. But coming from a heart that is not turned toward God, it’s hollow; it doesn’t mean anything. But those same words sung by someone who is worshiping Jesus in spirit and in truth are powerful, and life changing.   

So, let’s get lost, as we read the story of (Chimes)         

(The Honored Lamb and the Faithful Ewe by Trenton James Stephenson).

History is not dead. History is what speaks to us now and molds our tomorrows. And like history, this story you are about to hear has much to do with things which do not prefer to stay dead. Many ages ago, a human man was asked by the Creator of all things to sacrifice his son as a test of his allegiance. When the man was about to prove his loyalty, the Creator stayed his hand, and instead provided a ram to take the human boy’s place. Now, one would assume that from the ram’s point of view, this would seem rather unfair, but in truth the animal felt it to be a great honor to stand in for the child. Those of the beastly kingdom that witnessed this felt so as well, and since then placed high esteem on this singular creature that was chosen by the Creator and willing to give its life for another. From that moment on, many other animals have given their lives to cover the sins of humans, but none were as famous as this noble ram. That is until another came. A Lamb, in His prime and unblemished, gave His life freely just as His horned predecessor did. But this Lamb did not simply give His life for one man, nor did He give it for a singular group of men. No. What made this Lamb so famous, was that He gave his life to cover all mankind, and not only one time, but forever and beyond the end of the earth. Since that day, many animals that would have been bred for sacrifice were set free as well to enjoy themselves as other fur-clad mammals do, and because there was no longer any need to cover the human’s sins, the fear of being sacrificed was removed.

            Many in the animal kingdom celebrate this Lamb with a feast to commemorate His sacrifice, but there are also those that have chosen to celebrate His birth as well. For this Lamb did not simply give His life, but He also taught those who would listen how to live their lives more abundantly. So they selected a day, for the actual day of his birth was unknown, to honor the birth of their savior. However, as is typical with any good intentioned tradition, the feast has become a hollow shell of meaningless trappings and expectations. Empty songs, vapid adornments, and even special “holiday” treats have overshadowed the true meaning of the feast, and senseless competition grew from these wicked seeds between neighbors.

            Nobody in either the animal or human kingdom held fast to this unspoken competition more than Mrs. Foomsberry, an ewe of incredibly renowned pedigree, who never hesitated to remind others that she was a direct descendent of the great and wonderful ram of old who first gave his life for a human willfully. She was known far and wide for her holiday soirees. She spared no expense on exotic foods and the best wines. Her home was festooned with every tacky and unoriginal decoration one could imagine. Lights swirled around every corner of her house. Holly branches and garland clung to her walls. She always had the largest tree with mounds of gifts underneath. Some had even wondered whether she was guilty of padding the area under her tree with empty wrapped boxes to keep up appearances, but none dared to mention it out loud for fear of losing their most honored invitation. Yes, even more than the number of gifts she flaunted, or the size of her tree, or even the expensive food she provided, the most telling sign of Mrs. Foomsberry’s status in the community was the exclusivity of the event and her prized collection of important invitees. Governor Antelope came every year with her husband. Mayor Camel was always a welcomed guest as long as he didn’t imbibe too much as he was a well-known spitting drunk. Judges, lawyers, jackals, and weasels were all invited to dine and gossip in wonderful affluence in memory of the One who taught them to live more selflessly. But fret not, because Mrs. Foomsberry did always remember to put out her “The Lamb is the reason for the season” sign in the front yard, just in case one might question her motives.

            Now, another member of the community was Mara, another ewe of simpler origins who lived a quiet and quaint existence as a hairdresser. In fact, she tended to most of the higher society animals in the district, including Mrs. Foomsberry, who tipped a little better than most on her shearing days because she wanted to do right by a sister-ewe. Mara did have less when it came to material things, but still had plenty to be thankful for. Her societal status notwithstanding, she enjoyed a wonderful bevy of friends and loyal patrons because everyone knew of what a lovely soul she had. If ever an ear could be bent with a problem, or a shoulder needed to be wept upon, Mara was always available to offer sincere companionship and tenderness. She too enjoyed the holiday celebrating the wonderful Lamb. Though she could not provide such an outward gesture as Mrs. Foomsberry, she loved getting together with likeminded animals to eat, drink, and discuss the prophecies surrounding their Savior and His eventual return. The Lamb’s appearance had always been a source of great debate. Some said that the Lamb was as tender as tender could be. Others preferred to focus on the rumors of His power and ferocity and doubted that He would look anything like a lamb if He were ever to return. Many theorized that when the Lamb did return, the only ones that would recognize Him would be those who sought Him with their hearts and not just their eyes.

            The time had come back around to the great celebration of the Lamb and the entire community was in its natural hum of anticipation. All kinds of animals were rushing around shopping and preparing for the big day. Mara, not having much to prepare, went to work like any normal part of the year. The salon was one of the nicest in town which is why many of the upper crust preferred to go there. They always had individual pens with fresh hay every day in case the patrons were a little peckish, and the troughs were always cleaned and filled with fresh cucumber infused spring water. Mara sheared and snipped and feathered and brushed and tweezed and plucked and all around got all of her normal wealthy patrons ready for the yearly Foomsberry event. Then, Mrs. Foomsberry herself came into the salon. She was always right on time, because she hated waiting, and everyone knew never to run late with the customer before her appointment. Mrs. Foomsberry had had three other stylists before she landed in Mara’s pen, but Mara being the patient and caring soul that she was never had any issues. “Mara, my dear,” Mrs. Foomsberry screeched, “Oh I need you like I’ve never needed you before.”

            “Really, Mrs. Foomsberry?” Replied Mara. “I saw you just last week. I was surprised to see that you made an appointment so quickly.”

            “Oh, my dear, I am a complete and utter shambles.” Mrs. Foomsberry continued, “Today has been a disaster, just an absolute misery. First, the caterer destroyed my order of caviar and brought me eight tins of domestic saying that was all they had. Then, my decorator confused my flower arrangements, I mean she is simply a waste of space, then…” the affluent ewe continued on for quite some time with all of her trivial escapades. Mara simply sheared and nodded her head, there were limits to even her sincerity. “And all of this on the day before my Lamb’s Day celebration, one of the most important days of my year.” She stopped to take what she meant to be a dainty sip of water from the trough, but instead guzzled a great portion down in her exasperation. “Laurp. Laurp. Laurp. Laurp. Laurp. Laurp.”

            “Oh, I’m sorry to hear all that Mrs. Foomsberry,” Mara broke in during the rather loud pause, “but I know it will all turn out alright. You always throw the loveliest Lamb’s Day parties, or so I’m told.”

            The newly satiated Foomsberry raised her head and dabbed her dripping maw gracefully with a handkerchief. “Oh, thank you Mara. I know you are right. My goodness, you are just so positive all the time, I don’t how you do it, especially considering your lot in life. It simply boggles the mind.” She inspected her coat and smiled. “And on top of that you are still one of the best shearers in five counties.” Mrs. Foomsberry exited the pen and paid up at the front leaving her customary tip for Mara, but before she left the salon she turned and called out to her again, “Oh, Mara my dear, I forgot to mention, did you have any plans for tomorrow?”

            The entire salon came to halt. This was unheard of. To be invited to Mrs. Foomsberry’s Lamb’s Day party was an honor of the highest caliber, but to be an average run-of-the-mill schlub and to be invited teetered on the miraculous. All the shearers and sheared looked on in astonishment and anticipation to what would follow. Mara stood dumbstruck. She looked around to see if anybody, and quickly realized that they had, heard the same thing. “I’m…uh…no ma’am. I am not doing anything. I mean, I usually meet some friends for a dinner, but that can certainly be moved around.”

            “Oh, that is lovely dear.” Mrs. Foomsberry responded. “Just wonderful, because it is very important to me that you be at my party tomorrow.”

            There was another gasp and murmur around the salon. “Why, thank you ma’am. I am so honored.” Mara said, filled with joy. It is true, Mrs. Foomsberry could be a difficult client, but even one as selfless and altruistic as Mara couldn’t help but take a little joy in being noticed by a class above her own. “Is there anything I can bring? I would love to contribute something to the evening.”

            “Ahahaha.” Mrs. Foomsberry chuckled, “That won’t be necessary my girl. Just be there at four, so they can get you into your uniform.”

            Mara retreated a little from her elation when she heard the word uniform. “I beg your pardon. What uniform?”

            “Well, I am smidge short-staffed for tomorrow and am expecting a full house, so I thought I might offer you a chance at some extra income. You know, I think the world of you dear, so when I heard we needed some more help I thought to myself, Mara is the girl for the job.” Mrs. Foomsberry checked her watch. “Oh, golly, look at the time. I have so much to do. Well, I will see you tomorrow around four, my lovely. Toodaloo.”

            Mara stood surrounded by all of the other patrons who could not hide their reactions. Many gave nervous coughs and far away glances to act like they didn’t just witness such an embarrassing moment, but nothing could change what had just happened. Mara returned to her station to clean up, trying her best to hide how upset she was. The good news though was that Mrs. Foomsberry had been her last client of the day, so she did not have to stay long in her awkwardness. She finished cleaning her station and left for her apartment to get ready for that night. 

No matter what, not sickness, not petty annoyances, not even the Mrs. Foomsberry incident could dampen her excitement for the Lamb’s Day Eve service at her church. It was and had always been one of her favorite parts of the season. The singing, the candles, the messages of hope and joy all fed her spirit in ways that pretty lights and presents never could. She arrived thirty minutes early because she always volunteered to greet at the door at the Lamb’s Day Eve service. She wanted to wish one and all a very happy Lamb’s Day and always loved the sincere joyous replies. Admittedly, when Mrs. Foomsberry arrived it seemed a little more difficult to maintain that same joy, but the old ewe unwittingly helped Mara by not paying one bit of attention to her as she entered. She was far too busy discussing party specifics with friends as they clomped through the threshold of the church. Finally, Mara was allowed to take her seat, so she crept into the back where many of her good friends sat and participated in the opening songs. All in the congregation sang with gusto. “Oh, Holy Lamb.” “What Lamb is this?” All the seasonal favorites filled the room, and all sang joyously, except Mrs. Foomsberry and her brood who were pointing and commenting on this year’s decorations at the church. Snide comments about the size of the tree, and couldn’t they afford a little more garland in that corner, and so forth. Mara paid her no mind, even when they refused to sing “Oh Come, Oh Come, Elambuel” which was Mara’s favorite. Then came the message, and oh, what a message it was. The pastoral position had recently changed, and the new orator was a younger fellow, a badger by the name of Dullen. He spoke not only of the hope of the season but delved deep into the historical significance of the Lamb’s birth, life, and death. He addressed the parishioners candidly about the conviction that should be placed on every one of them. To follow their Savior’s example and seek a more holy life. Mara loved it.

After the service had ended, all were filing out to their vehicles. Mara and her friends were gushing over the message and how poignant it was, when she heard the penetrating voice of Mrs. Foomsberry cut through the entire parking lot. “I just don’t understand what they were thinking hiring that inexperienced badger. He has no sense of what the season is even about. I mean going on and on about all that prophecy rot, then making people feel bad just because they don’t spend every waking minute with the poor, I mean, it just seems a tad holier-than-thou if you ask me.”

To this day, Mara isn’t sure why she butted into Mrs. Foomsberry’s conversation. It could have been that she was still reeling from their encounter that afternoon, or maybe it was simply that she could not stand a word against such a wonderful message. Whatever the case, she stepped in. “Pardon me, Mrs. Foomsberry, but I feel like it is you that doesn’t understand this season.”

The entire parking lot stopped in its tracks. This could not be happening. Every hoof and paw turned and faced the two ewes and closed in. “Excuse me? Mara, where is this coming from? How could you say such a thing? I am the greatest supporter of Lamb’s Day in several counties…”

Mara had made her stance. Trepidation no longer had any hold. She had been released from the gate and would run until she felt she could no longer. “You know what, Mrs. Foomsberry. I am so sick of you thinking that you have a patent on enjoying this celebration. You don’t have any reverence for it at all. All you care about is your precious party and looking good for everybody else. I mean, can you name any of the ancient prophets that foretold the coming of the Lamb?” A short pause filled the air. “Do you even know what His birth meant for all those before us? What He truly did?” Another longer pause came. Some of those around were looking on in gleeful anticipation as to what Mrs. Foomsberry would say. Others looked to the ground allowing conviction to settle and evaluating their own views on the holiday.

Mrs. Foomsberry glared at Mara coldly, but cooly. She was not about to allow herself to tarnish her reputation by participating in an altercation outside of a church. “Well, Mara, it seems like you are the one who feels she has a patent on celebrating Lamb’s Day. I would very much appreciate it if you didn’t try to push your religious zeal down my throat and allow me to celebrate in my own way.” Mara was dumbstruck as her words were twisted back around on her. Mrs. Foomsberry began to leave, when she turned once more and said, “Oh, and by the way, I don’t think we will be needing your services after all.”

Mara, filled with indignation, responded quickly, “I wouldn’t come to one of your parties even if you had invited me. In fact,” she could feel the words coming out, but couldn’t stop them, “I will be throwing my own Lamb’s Day party.” Mrs. Foomsberry began to laugh derisively, but Mara didn’t care. She was going for broke, and based on her income, that option was very likely. “Oh, yeah,” She continued. “and everybody here is invited.” A mixture of murmurs and cheers came from all around. “Yes, we’ll meet here at the church, and we’ll celebrate in a way befitting the Lamb, and not with a bunch of over-priced wines and bad food.”

Mrs. Foomsberry fumed, “What, what, bahhhhh!!! Ahem, excuse me, how dare you, you ungrateful…” But she looked around and saw the political situation that was arising and chose to maintain her placid manner. “You know, that sounds like a lovely idea. And if anybody wants to go to a cheap little get together with nothing to eat and drink but theological dogma, then I wish them all the best. So good luck, deary.” With that, the old ewe finally left, as did many others. Some stayed behind and congratulated Mara on her boldness, but all she could think about was what she had just promised. A party. A Lamb’s Day party to compete with Mrs. Foomsberry’s. If ever Mara needed a miracle, it was now.

The next day, both ewes woke early to prepare for their revelries. In all honesty, Mara did not sleep at all. She called up friends and contacted as many people as possible to help, which they were all too grateful to do. Some promised to bring drinks, while others prepared different dishes, and some got together who played various instruments and rehearsed some songs to play. Much of the community who were present for the altercation did not find it difficult to abandon their own plans and join with Mara. A small group, however, those of the upper crust, preferred to preserve their invitations to the Foomsberry affair and prepared for another year of middling conversation all in the interest of self-promotion.

At the outset, Mara had been understandably nervous, but even before the party was set to begin, she already had a turn-out twice the size of Mrs. Foomsberry’s. This fact had been communicated to Foomsberry, but she chose to focus on her own guests, stating it as a case of quality over quantity. 

About an hour into the festivities, one of Mrs. Foomsberry’s servants approached her and said that some other guests had arrived. “Well, why don’t you let them in, you silly dolt?” She scolded, but the servant had informed her that she might want to greet these guests personally before they were announced. Mrs. Foomsberry, befuddled by this break in decorum, quietly acquiesced and walked to the entryway. When she opened the door, she was greeted by a group of strange wild animals. They were gruff, and unkempt and certainly not befitting of her doorstep. “I am sorry, but who are you, and what is it you are doing at my door?” Mrs. Foomsberry asked.

A stubby and meek little creature covered with spikes stood in front and said, “Please be excusing me meesus, but we were wondering if it be possible to partake in yer lovely feast? Ye see, we celebrate our Roaring Master every year about this time, and this year He sent us out here instead to search for another that be celebrating. He says ye be the person we were to come to first.”

Mrs. Foomsberry did not waste a moment. She had no time nor inclination to suffer wild spiky lunatics during her Lamb’s Day feast. “Well, my little…eh… thing, I don’t know who this Roaring Master is, but I insist you leave my property. There is no place for you here.”

The animals looked at each other, but not in bewilderment, or shame, but in disappointment. “Well, yon Roaring Master did say ye might not be wanting us here, but that there would be another feast to go to.”

“Yes, I suggest you go to that one.” Mrs. Foomsberry said hastily to get them away from her door.

“Well, we be thanking ye for yer…” but before he could finish speaking the door was shut. “Huh, I guess we must go to the other feast as yon Roaring Master instructed.” So, the group of forest dwellers set forth in search of the other party.

At the church, the Lamb’s Day festivities were off and in full swing. More than half of the community was there, including some that did not even attend the church service, but the gossip of the ewe that stood up to Mrs. Foomsberry spread throughout, and many wanted to give their support. Even some of the Foomsberry attendees left the wretchedly dull gathering and were welcomed at the wonderful party for the masses. The food was wholesome. The punches were flowing, and all were simply glowing in the communal spirit of the feast. During the middle of the procession, Mara turned and saw the forest dwellers approach and walked over to greet them. “Hello. Are you here to celebrate the Lamb with us?”

“Thanking ye kindly meesus. We were instructed by our Roaring Master to find ye today. We not be knowing anything about a Lamb but were told it was for Him regardless. So, we be so happy to be here with ye.”

“Your Roaring Master? Who is he?” Mara inquired.

“Well, meesus, please be looking for yerself. He’s right behind us.” The forest dwellers then parted, and Mara laid eyes on the most ferocious but beautiful Lion she had ever seen.

The regal predator stepped up to the awestruck ewe and was about to introduce Himself, but before He could get a word out, Mara broke out quietly, but excitedly, “It’s you. It’s really you.”

The Lion smiled, “Thank you daughter, for knowing me. And thank you for such a celebration. I first went to your Mrs. Foomsberry’s party after she had turned away My friends, but when she saw me, she simply bahed in terror and slammed the door in My face. I hope someday she will recognize Me as you have.” All at the party had gathered near the door to see Mara speaking to the wonderous and fearful creature. The Lion looked over them and smiled mightily, “What is wrong? Don’t you know your prophecy? A lamb only need be a lamb until a Lion is required. I came in meekness to call, now I come in boldness to lead.” He then looked back on Mara. “My child, I see no bitterness in you. From now on, all shall know you as Mary.”

The newly renamed ewe stood with tears in her eyes. “I don’t know what to say, Lord.”

The Lion looked around, and said, “Well, you can start by letting us in. It is a little chilly today.”

Mary laughed, “Of course. Please. You are so welcome.”

All of them entered. The party goers parted for them, and many could not resist the urge to bow. As they walked to the front, Mary could not take her eyes off of her honored guest. “You have a question burning in you my dear. Please ask it.”

Mary smiled knowing He could read her intentions. It was a comfort she could not explain. “I don’t know if it is worthy. It is such a small thing.”

“Nothing is too large or too small for me.” The Lion replied. “Please, ask it.”

So, Mary responded without fear, “I just can’t help but wonder, since you are here to answer, when were you actually born as the Lamb. It is something that we have always argued about.”

The Lion chuckled and stopped to look straight at her. All serious inquiries deserve a straightforward answer. “My child,” he said, “don’t you know? I have always been.”


The End

It’s not hard to get hung up on a particular aspect of God and forget His other qualities. It makes it easier to put Him in a box and give ourselves the illusion of control. But Jesus demonstrated to us in the flesh that God is multifaceted. He is ferocious and gentle. He’s the Lion and the Lamb. He is always all parts of Himself, but He comes in the way that He’s needed at each moment. If you only have a limited view of Him, you’ll miss the whole truth of Who He is even when He’s standing right in front of you. Jesus’ story didn’t end at the manger or the cross. It goes on. And He wants you to be a part of it. He stands at the door of your heart and knocks. He won’t force His way in, but if you welcome Him in as Lord, you’ll be able to know Him in ways that the Foomsberry pharisees never can. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” That’s why He came the first time: to bridge the gap between us and God. To make a real relationship possible between us. It sounds so simple, but it required the greatest sacrifice ever known to make it happen. Someone who would do that for us when we don’t deserve it is worth getting to know.


So go out this holiday season in whatever way you can, and celebrate our multifaceted Savior. Merry Extended Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year from the fairy tale forest. I’m Autumn Woods. And I’m Trent Stephenson. And we can’t wait to see you on the path in 2024 the next time you get, Lost in the Woods.

The Honored Lamb and the Faithful Ewe