Hobie knew that if there was to be any chance of recovering his coat he had to be about the search quickly.  Considering the likelihood that a wolf had taken his coat, he also knew that his chances of actually getting the coat back...  chances of even surviving the confrontation alone were slim indeed.

The day was very young.

Hobie returned to the stream bank where he chewed off one more mouth full of grass and clover, took another drink of water and then headed back in the direction of the pen.  He didn't slow to look at the surrounding woods, or study side trails.  He was focused on getting back to the flock and asking his friends for help.

His first stop was the pen.  He knew that at this time of day, no sheep would be in the pen, but rather out in the pasture grazing.   He went to confirm that once inside, he would have a way out.  The little gap he had made under the wall was the same as it had been yesterday morning when he had left for his adventure.  None of the shepherds had noticed it.  Hobie then headed for a nearby patch of tall brush that lay just this side of the pasture from where he could, hopefully re-join the flock without being seen by human eyes.

From the weeds, Hobie watched the flock as they dined on grass and clover, waiting for his chance.  A seeming cloud of sheep at first drifted away from the brushy patch, but after a bit they began to drift back.  He made a quick count of the shepherds and watched them until the flock had come between them and the patch of brush.  He then slowly, deliberately moved out of his cover, into the pasture where he blended in with his cousins.

Hobie grazed contentedly among the flock as if he had been there all day.  He worked his way through the throng of preoccupied sheep until he spotted Ben and Molly.   Just like in his thoughts yesterday, he felt their stares.  "What's with all the bare skin," asked Molly. 

"I need your help!"

Hobie explained yesterday's adventure and loss.

Molly and Ben offered consolation, but seemed unsure of the prospect for success.  Ben left his friends momentarily, and wandered off into the middle of the flock.  Shortly, he returned with Sam.  After a brief discussion, they all continued to graze in silence.

The End

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