A Ghostly Sheepy Tale

The Sheep of Leap and pimp plus dick equals bumfit.

We all love a good ghost story, as long as we are sitting cosily at home with our feet snuggled into our Sheepland Unisex Sheepskin Loafer Moccasins with slip resistant soles and there is someone braver than us in the house.  So how about taking a journey out of your safe zone to visit Leap Castle in County Offaly, Ireland?  A ghostly sheep is said to appear there just before misfortune befalls a member of the current castle owners.  The sheep apparently scratches on the oak portals with a long claw [this type of sheep has claws, so it seems]!  Leap Castle is said to be the most haunted castle in Ireland and has a long, bloody history, with several family members murdering their relatives and various guests, who now oblige by appearing to the unsuspecting public.  [What happened to the sheep is anybody’s guess; Sunday lunch, perhaps?]


Another ovine manifestation occurs in Blandford Forum, Dorset, a place where sheep fairs and a sheep market were held. If you care to be scared senseless, then you may betake yourself to Sheep Market Hill, where witnesses have espied a herd of headless, ghost sheep.

If you aren’t a quivering wreck after coming upon these spectres, you may care to count the number of sheep in the phantom flock from Dorset.  To do this it may be an inspired idea to fox the whole boiling of them by doing it in an old Cumbrian dialect (while they are working it, out you will have time to leg it).  This ancient counting system, based on the Brythonic Celtic languages, goes something like this:  1 yan, 2 tyan, 3 tethera, 4 methera, 5 pimp, 6 sethera, 7 lethera, 8 hovera, 9 dovera, 10 dick, 11 yan-a-dick, 12 tyan-a-dick, 13 tethera-dick, 14 methera-dick, 15 bumfit, 16 yan-a-bumfit, 17 tyan-a-bumfit, 18 tethera-bumfit, 19 methera-bumfit, 20 giggot. (Giggot looks rather likegigot, which is French for a leg of lamb.)  This will doubtless give rise to much schoolboy ribaldry, but if you wish to expand your mind and come top of the class, you could try learning all the other, old dialect counting systems. Now here’s one for you to calculate:  pimp plus bumfit equals?  Don’t send us your answers because, after all that counting of sheep, we have nodded off.


The above counting system is vigesimal, that is, based on twenties, so when the shepherd reached giggot/20, he would cut a notch on his tally stick, or transfer one of a collection of pebbles from one pocket to another, and so on until the entire flock was accounted for.  The sheep had to be, and still must be, counted every time that they were, or are, moved from the keeper’s land on to common land or vice versa.  This way the farmer can account for his sheep and recording their movements also helps with disease control.

Released On 11th Apr 2018