Bradley rued the day he rescued the wizened old woman from the river.
Undecided whether to save her, he had first called, “Why should I get cold and wet rescuing you? Do I get a reward?”
After she had immediately promised him a reward, he’d stripped down to his underwear and jumped in.
Back on the riverbank, Bradley dressed himself, leaving the old woman shivering in her saturated clothes.
“So, what is my reward?” He pulled on his jumper. “It had better be worth it.”
The old woman thought for a while, then she swayed and with half shut eyes, she tilted her chin upwards and croaked her instructions.
Bradley crouched behind the wall.
As the old woman had predicted the five sheep wandered down the hillside to graze beside the gate.
He waited until the full moon was overhead, and picked out the best looking of the five, crept towards it, and tied his rope around the startled sheep.
That turned out to be the easiest bit. The sheep refused to be lead to his car, pulling, tugging and bleating loudly, she resisted. Bradley finally opened the boot and lifting up the exhausted sheep, threw her in.
That was when he heard the voices, and caught in the spotlight of police torches, recognised the farmer.
He sat in the dock, as character witness’ told the jury of his bullying ways. They described his persecution of the very elderly in the village, accusing them of being descendants of the Pendle Witches, often vandalising their gardens and writing obscenities on their walls.
Bradley could see the jury absorbing this information. He imagined them seeing it as entertainment. What did they know? They weren’t from his village.
He was called to the stand and swore to tell the truth.
“That witch told me to catch the sheep I fancied,” he pointed at the old woman, “take it to the river and make it drink from the section of water that shone silver from the light of the full moon. After that the sheep would poo gold coins whenever she saw me.”
Shrieks of laughter escaped from the court room.