Goats are curious, and will try anything!

Spring days and Portuguese folktales

A few years ago I found a rather lovely Portuguese saying about goats, and so I was delighted this week to find something even better on Portuguese goats, a folk tale from the Azores. I came across it in Elsie Spicer Eells’ The Islands of Magic, published in 1922. Ms Spicer Eells was an American  Author who collected legends and folktales from South America, Spain and the Azores, and then adapted them for her American audience. The goat in her tale doesn’t appear for long as the story is really about Manoel Littlebean and how he discovered gold treasure. However you will never forget the goat as;

“The fact of the matter was that Manoel Littlebean was swallowed by the goat”.

Manoel Littlebean was a tiny boy, no bigger than a bean,which probably explains how he came to be swallowed by a goat. Manoel didn’t die though after this awful event. Instead it was the poor goat which got terrible indigestion. The goat became so unwell it was killed by Manoel’s father. His father understandably didn’t know Manoel was inside the goat, he simply wanted to put the goat out of its misery. Luckily in killing the goat the father did not kill his son. Nor did Manoel die when the goat was later eaten by a wolf, the father having left the goat’s corpse outside on the street. Instead Manoel was carried off inside the wolf. The wolf didn’t go far as it too became sick. At which point you think surely Manoel will die, but no Manoel is still full of beans! He had realised the wolf was sick, and so jumped up and down inside the wolf’s stomach to make the wolf even more unwell. Eventually the wolf threw him up, and Manoel was able to run all the way home to his parents. What a tale!

Manoel’s goat is not alone in tasting anything that comes his way. The goats we met last week were happily sampling stale bread left out for them. The bread didn’t look that tasty or healthy to me. However apparently, unlike swallowing a boy the size of a small bean, eating small quantities of whole grain breads, or in this case sour-dough, shouldn’t cause goats indigestion.

Plastic though is not to be recommended. Adjacent to these free-roaming goats were kids in the pen. One of them had obviously decided there was something tasty inside a large bottle. Unfortunately it had put its head in so far it had managed to get the bottle stuck on its tiny horns. It didn’t seem distressed by its headwear, but it couldn’t see very well and was stumbling around. I was also worried that in the heat of the day it might become as unwell as Manoel’s goat. So I set about trying to befriend it so I could do something about it.

The good news is that we made friends quickly. So focused though was I on the rescue that I forgot to take a shot of it with the bottle stuck. However I know none of you will mind as the even better news is that I managed to remove the bottle. But what is it with goats and sampling everything they see? Have they not learnt from Manoel’s goat that curiosity can kill the goat as well as the cat!

The one who tasted my trousers!
This one sampled my trousers!

PS If you are wondering about Manoel’s gold treasure, here’s the link to the full story.

About BeckyB

When in Portugal you will find me walking, cooking, photographing, reading and of course blogging. In England it is pretty much the same but with the addition of gardening and lots of volunteering!

42 comments on “Goats are curious, and will try anything!

  1. Loved the folk tale but have to admit feeling a bit sad for the poor old goat and the wolf! Goats are definitely a law unto themselves and true survivors; I’m sure they’d be amongst those last standing in the event of a catastrophe! One of ‘ours’ on the Great Orme recently got stuck on a cliff ledge and was there for several days and had to be airlifted off!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I never thought I’d say that goats are pretty but yours certainly are. Are they smaller than those we have in the UK? They seem to be. Not unlike the small goats on Crete. Stay on, awhile, send the cat a postcard. It’s foul here,or at least I think it’s so. I never used to think I was a good weather person but this winter has proved to me that I am.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of them definitely are smaller but others I’d say are a similar size. They look pretty I think because they can roam – no fences or hedges here!

      Yikes about weather. If we could we would. Maybe we’ll just catch a plane back the following week!


  3. Loved the story. Would have liked to see the goat with the bottle (my warped sense of humour) 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What beautiful goat portraits Becky and two brilliant tales. Damn that plastic…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. C;ever little bean, but I hope it didn’t end up in a pot of tomato sauce 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your opening pic and glad you helped the little goat free of its plastic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂 I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t been able to befriend it. There was no way I was going to keep walking!!


  7. Lovely stories! Both the folk tale and your goat rescue.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. janesmudgeegarden

    Manoel’s story is delightful as so often these kinds of stories are, and the goat pictures are very nice to see. What healthy looking goats!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you enjoyed it . . . . and yes they are fabulous looking goats. The air is so clean up in the hills and there is plenty for them to munch on as usually they are moved on throughout the day to new areas. I think last week they were just in one spot with the bread because of the kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Manoel was one lucky little fellow! And so was that goat you rescued.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I wondered what you’d been up to this week. Now my head is full of notions of you learning to speak Goat and leaping between horns. I’m so glad this story has a happy ending, and you’ve captured some wonderful goat shots too. 🙂 🙂 Wishing you a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hee hee – they were a very friendly bunch. Happily packed a few of them in the suitcase!

      Can’t quite believe this is our last weekend until goodness knows when. So much to fit in!

      Have a lovely weekend too xx


      • I was thinking you didn’t have long. Where did it go? 😦 😦


        • I don’t know 😔 MrB and I are in shock. Our winter stay this year has been far too short.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thank goodness I have lots of memories and lots of photos to keep me going until we return 😁


        • Bring back a big bag full of sunshine. You might need it! 🙂 🙂 No, I’m sure your timing will be right and will herald Spring, if not Summer.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yesterday I had two sackfuls of glorious sunshine for you, but unfortunately it all faded overnight and I’ve only got stormy skies now. I’ll try again on Thursday before we board!!


        • Marie said it had been lovely this week. Will keep fingers crossed those clouds roll away before you go to market. 🙂 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Really has been a glorious week so a bit of a shock this morning. We made it to the market though, and there were even a few moments of gorgeous blue. Think today is going to be one to have an umbrella or raincoat about your person, along with sunglasses and suncream!


        • You’re missing nothing. We had 2 days of near Spring but it’s warmish, damp and grey today (and possibly tomorrow). That probably means it’s sunny down your way. Me and Jude seem to be taking turns. 🙂 🙂 BUT I saw my first blossom on the trees in the park this morning 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • I got all excited when I saw near Spring in your comments, and then in papers the ‘hottest day so far this year’ but then I looked at the forecasts!!!! Aargh if only we had a solution for the cat, we could stay longer x


        • It has to improve soon! Milder today and we were up on the riverside at Durham this afternoon. Not much sun though so grab any you can. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Squeezed in one jam jar so far, but will make sure there are lots more before I close the suitcase!

          Liked by 1 person

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