One afternoon Diego took a break on a stone wall next to a pastured field with a flock of sheep huddled together and began writing a mental list of the pros and cons of being a farmhand. Just as Diego was figuring that if he went to Pedro’s straight away and gave up drinking for a while, it wouldn’t be long before he’d save the equivalent of the stolen money, he was disturbed by a shepherd sitting side saddle on a donkey.
“Mucho sol, amigo, it’s very hot today, no?” said the shepherd as he leaned over and offered Diego a leather hip flask.
Without much thought, Diego accepted the flask, undid its lid and closed his eyes as cold water massaged the back of his throat.
“Gracias,” Diego said, opening his eyes.
“Still a long way to Santiago!” said the shepherd.
“What makes you think I’m going to Santiago?”
“Why, aren’t you? I must admit though, you don’t really look like the walking type. So what brings you out here then? Counting sheep is no way to pass the day!” said the shepherd, laughing.
“Not sure, I was thinking about farm work,”
“There’s no romance in farm work,” replied the shepherd as he nodded at the guitar case propped against the wall. “You play well?”
“It depends who you ask,” Diego mumbled.
“Well, I’d stick to the guitar, don’t reckon farming would suit you.”
“What makes you say that?”
“You don’t look like a farmer,” responded the shepherd matter-of-factly.
“I’ve been around farms. In fact, my cousin has a cattle farm; it’s been in the family for generations.”
“You a morning person then?” said the shepherd through a grin.
“If I had to be, why not? Hard work never did my father any harm, and my cousin and his family are doing alright.”
“I love being a shepherd,” said the man as he placed two fingers in his mouth and whistled a sharp shrill that summoned a black and white border collie chasing a sheep from a further field. “Funny, it’s always that same damn sheep that never wants to stay with the flock.”
The shepherd prodded the donkey with his right heel.
“Your water,” Diego shouted, waving the flask at the departing shepherd.
“It’s a hot summer, make sure you drink plenty.”