Beatrice went to consult Guy's doctor forewarned that the good doctor, cautious by nature and faithful to life, would probably have her fix her eyes upon a painting that hung outside his consulting room. And so he did. The painting was a copy the doctor had commissioned of The Strayed Sheep by Holman Hunt, the Pre-Raphaelite. Hunt had painted it on the downs at Fairlight, just a couple of miles east of Hastings.

Image of Holman Hunt's 'The Strayed Sheep'

The Strayed Sheep
Holman Hunt (Tate Gallery, London)

When Beatrice asked why the sheep were bleeding - they were symbolically - the good doctor replied that there were a lot of wounded souls in Hastings. The episode was related to Guy upon returning home. Amidst the chuckles and approvals and Guy's dilemma as to whether he was a black- or bleeding white sheep he was struck that he now had the symbolism for the two paths in The Riddle.
His dilemma too was soon resolved ; their roles of master and apprentice became that of master and apprenticesheep. De Shepherd was born. The black sheep had followed his calling and become a master.


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