Sassy Pants has lots of amends to make now that she has decided to behave. But since she was mean to everybody, nobody wants to be her friend. How do you fix a friendship when you were the one who broke it? Chapter One
Sassy Pants Has A Problem
A horse the size of a bus was slowly grazing under the walnut trees. Old Clyde was Farmer White’s almost-retired, big, old Clydesdale workhorse. He was carefully nipping off new clover tops, being careful to not bite into bitter walnut shucks left from last fall. The breeze blew a sound his way and then blew it the other way. With head down, he couldn’t tell for sure where it was coming from, but every now and then he could hear a faint sound. What was that? He decided to find out. The closer he came, the clearer the sound became. Someone in the pigpen was crying, sobbing big, huge sobs all the way from the tail to the snout! Finally he saw her. There, in a muddy little ditch where last night’s rain ran downhill, in between little dams of twigs and rocks and dead leaves, down in the bottom of the ditch, sat Sassy Pants, all alone. She was weeping and wailing, her eyes all red and puffy. Clyde knew she had been crying for some time—there were clean lines on her face where little rivers of tears had washed the dirt away. Old Clyde made enough noise so that Sassy Pants knew he was there. Gently, he said, “I’m sorry, Sassy Pants. What seems to be the problem?” Hearing the kindness in his voice, Sassy Pants only cried harder, so hard she snorted! No matter how much the warm, happy sun tried, it was not able to dry her salty tears. Old Clyde waited and let her cry. Finally, she tried to speak. “Old Clyde, nobody will play with me or talk to me. Nobody wants to be my friend!” Sassy Pants began to sob again. “No-nobody t-t-trusts me!” She sobbed a big sob. “Oh, I see. Did someone say that they do not trust you, or is that how you feel?” “Y-yes, they said so! Porketta and my other brothers and sisters said they don’t trust me and don’t want to listen to me. Big brother Bruno told me to grow up. He was sick of me. My mamma told me to go find something to do. It is all she can do just to take care of this year’s babies! She doesn’t have time to take care of me, as well. Does she think I’m still a baby?” Sassy Pants wailed. Then she stopped a minute to snort before she went on talking. “Kitty Cat and Beatrice Hen told me they don’t want me around. Molly and the other lambs run away when they see me. The kid goats told me to butt out, and Darlene and Dominic Duck fly away when I come near. The geese won’t speak to me. Nobody will be my friend.” Sassy Pants wailed, and sobbed, and snorted some more. “Hmmm,” said Old Clyde. “Sounds to me like you have some fence mending to do, like you need to make some amends.” The walnut trees bowed and nodded in the wind as it blew through with a woosh, as if the wind and the trees agreed with Old Clyde. Still sitting in the muddy little ditch, Sassy Pants sniffled. “What is fence mending? What is amends?” “Well,” said Clyde, sizing her up, “it is a way to fix a broken friendship when you are the one who broke it. But you have to really want to fix it. You have to care enough about the friend you hurt that you will do what you have to do in order to earn their trust. It is a lot of hard work.” Clyde started to walk away as if he was going back to grazing in that yummy patch of new clover he had found. “Wait, Clyde, wait!” Sassy Pants grunted and scrambled up out of the ditch, slipping and sliding in the wet mud, making rocks, twigs, and dead leaves fly. “Old Clyde, tell me how to amend a fence! Please tell me. All winter long I have had no one to talk to, no one to play with. I don’t want to be without a friend any more. Tell me how to fix what I broke. I know I hurt just about everyone’s feelings. I was mean and rude to some very nice folks. I had all winter to think about it. I had very poor manners. I didn’t notice, and I didn’t care. Now, I do. How can I fix that? I want the others to like me and trust me. I want friends, but I don’t know how to fix it!” Sassy Pants started to sob again—great big sobs from her tail to her snout. Last fall the shock from the electric fence broke the stone that was forming on her heart. She began to notice. She even cared, but now it was too late. It didn’t make any difference! Old Clyde stopped and turned around. He looked long and hard into Sassy Pants’s eyes. “Okay, Sassy Pants.” Old Clyde leaned over the fence and spoke softly into Sassy Pants’s ear. “This is what you need to do...” Then, when he finished telling her what to do, he said, “And you can ask me questions, any time, or just come to talk.” Sassy Pants’s head was full of thoughts, and she made no response. She stood there blinking at Old Clyde, who slowly clomped away and went back to grazing in that clover patch.