Okay, imagine that you're a shepherd. The sun is about to set and your job is to watch sheep. These sheep right here.
Oh, don't worry. They stare like that at everybody.
Anyway, tomorrow morning at 7am, you're going to lead these woolly buddies to a grazing ground where they'll spend the summer. No problem, right? Just gotta keep an eye on the herd until 7am comes.
Just gotta... stay... nice... and ...a ...wake.
You probably should've made more coffee...
Oops! You fell asleep! Don't feel so bad, we were just pretending. Too bad the same can't be said for a Spanish shepherd back on Tuesday, June 7th. This poor guy also lost his battle with the sandman and nodded off. At around 4:30am, police in the nearby town of Huesca started fielding 112 calls (that's Spanish for 911) about a herd of sheep wandering unattended down streets on the outskirts of town. And not a tiny herd, either. We're talking about 1,300 sheep on the prowl.
Fortunately, the police quickly contacted the shepherd, woke him up, and together they worked to corral together the rogue baaaandits. In the end, no harm done. And what's more, the police were kind enough to shoot this adorable video of the sheep up way past their bedtimes, roaming the Spanish country roads. Listen to all those bells! Adorable.
Transhumance. It's your new word of the day!
Interestingly, even if everything went according to plan, Huesca was going to experience a sheep invasion anyway. Why? Because of a Spanish tradition of herd migration that dates back many centuries. The process, which involves both the shepherd and the animals migrating together, is called transhumance (say tranz-HUE-mens). In this case, the herd was going to be led through Huesca by the shepherd on their way to higher pastures for the summer months.
Why not stay there all year round? These higher pastures become too cold by autumn, so the shepherd goes back to the lower ground for the winter. (Which means another trip back through Huesca.) This traditional migration is far from exclusive to this region of Spain. In fact, even Madrid, the Spanish capital and home to over 6 million people, has its own transhumance sheep migrations.
Beep, beep! Make way for the sheep!