Goats are curious, and will try anything!

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.

Author: BeckyB

It's a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, reading, blogging, and best of all spending time with family, friends & the cat!

42 thoughts

  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!

  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.

    1. 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!

    1. Hee hee – I was so annoyed with myself at the time for not taking a shot. MrB was busy photographing me when I was befriending them and so I sort of assumed he would have a shot – oops one should never assume!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed them, but I am with you on the plastic. It is one of the things I really struggle with here in Portugal. It is everywhere, partly because so many places still don’t have running drinking water and consequently they buy water in bottles.

    1. 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!!

  3. 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!

    1. 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.

  4. 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!

    1. 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

        1. 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.

        2. 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!!

        3. 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!

        4. 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 🙂

        5. 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

        6. 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. 🙂

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