Goat Wisdom

The man came upon a clearing; it was the same as he had dreamed. He wiped a few droplets of sweat from his forehead. Trees stood around the perimeter stretched high and leaning in, a mezzanine of green opening up to the sky.

It took him a moment to see the goat; this he had not expected. He approached the center of the clearing. The goat looked on, aware of the man, but uninterested.The two stood before one another. The man furrowed his brow a few times, squinting at the goat. His mouth opened and closed; a laugh and a scream fought for passage in his throat. Neither could get by.

The goat stared back preoccupied by a slow, circular chewing motion. A few silent minutes were allowed to pass before the man finally spoke.

“Greetings, wise goat, as I must assume you to be, I have been led by a dream to wander the forest and come upon this clearing to find ultimate wisdom.”

The goat stared back with no indication of understanding or even hearing the words; it continued its slow chewing motion.

“I have left my home and my family, my friends and society,” the man let his voice become bolder, “I have come seeking knowledge; truths about this life and its meaning; and questions about what must come after.”

The goat stared back; continued to chew.

“I ask and I beg if you have these answers,” a frustration crept into his words, gaining volume, “Please give me a sign, a gesture, a clue! Wise goat, if you are, I must know where we come from before we are born, and where do we go when we die?”

The goat stared back and continued to chew.

The man’s eye twitched with exhaustion. He felt his cheeks growing flush, and anger swept through him. “I ask you these things, and the reply is silence. I beg, and you simply look on,” the man now was nearly shouting, “I’m afraid my dream has led me astray, for you are but a lowly goat and know nothing of meaning, of life’s wisdom, or certainly what comes after.”

The goat stared back; its face was now still.

Wholly fed up with the man, the goat ate him.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

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