People tell jokes about New Zealanders and sheep. They say there are more sheep than New Zealanders in NZ.
All my kids were born in New Zealand so they are bona fide Kiwis. But we left NZ when our daughter was one and a half.
She’s four now and spent 18 months in Central America where she became a real jungle girl. She can recognise the four different types of monkey that live in Costa Rica and name them in spanish and english. She is au fait with all the birds, animals and bugs of Central America: rhinoceros beatles, bats, snakes, sloths. She has had close encounters with all of them.
We live in Australia now and last week she wanted to go to a petting farm where a revelation took place. She pointed at a calf:
“What’s that Mummy?”
I was suprised. As a baby she learned to point at animals in books and moo, baa or crow accordingly. Now, she couldn’t recognise a cow. I’m English, you can’t get much more basic than a cow.
“It’s a cow,” I said.
Then she pointed at a goat which was the same colour as the calf.
“It’s a goat!” I said stunned.
Then she turned to the sheep.
She must be the only New Zealander in the world who doesn’t even know what a sheep looks like.
I’ve set her right now and told her that’s where those yummy lamb chops come from.
Still, this time I think the joke was on me.
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