Goats © I am Benue 2022

Why Goats Don’t Climb Trees

Folktales, Stories 25/08/2022 by Terna Ortese

My story goes like this: A long time ago when goats were still living in the bush with all the other animals, duties were shared according to what each animal could do. The duty of the dog was to warn of coming danger by barking, the firefly provided light in the forest at night, the monkey and baboon and chimpanzees would climb up trees to harvest fruits, the lion would roar to chase away enemies, the bat could see at night through pitch darkness, the cows and sheep and goat provided milk, and so on and so forth. This is not to say that there were no animals without special abilities or responsibilities, but almost all the animals had something especially unique to their kind.

There were also animals that were very fascinated by the abilities of other animals. The goat, in particular, was fascinated by the monkey’s ability and wanted to learn how to climb up and down trees. The way that monkeys would swing from branch to branch or tree to tree regardless of how tall or big, caused the goat to secretly envy them.

One day the goat went to one of the monkeys.

Goat: I am fascinated by your ability to climb up and down trees, and I want you to teach me how to climb up and down trees.

Monkey: But why? What is so special about climbing up and down trees?

Goat: Easy for you to say. You are a monkey! Please could you teach me how to climb up and down trees?

Monkey: Okay. But are you really sure you want to learn how to climb up and down trees?

Goat: I wouldn’t come to you if I felt otherwise, would I?

Monkey: How soon would you want to begin then?

Goat: Just as soon as you have time.

Monkey: Well then, meet me under the umbrella tree tomorrow and I will see what I can do to help you.

Goat: See you tomorrow then, shambling away.

The next day, when the goat got to the umbrella tree, the monkey was already waiting.

Monkey: What took you so long?

Goat: I had to feed milk to my children and milk more to supply to the rest of the forest. It took longer than I intended.

Monkey: Okay, never mind that I asked. Let us begin.

Goat: I am ready.

Monkey: Since you don’t have fingers as I do, to climb up a tree place your forelegs here, and here, and use your hind legs to push up.

Goat: Wait, wait. I know now. The goat tried to climb but couldn’t.

Monkey: Stand aside let me demonstrate for you. Just watch me and learn. The monkey proceeded to climb effortlessly and when the goat had seen enough, she asked the monkey to stop.

Goat: That’s alright, you can come down. I am sure I can climb up now. The goat tried a second time, but without success. The monkey was starting to get irritated.

Monkey: Look here! If you really want to climb up a tree I will show you, but you have to let me do so. When the monkey started to demonstrate a third time the goat stopped him halfway through.

Goat: Okay. I know now. The goat attempted to climb and still couldn’t.

Monkey: Since you won’t let me teach you how to climb up and down trees there is no use for me here. The monkey leapt into the air, caught a branch and swung to another branch and moved rapidly away. Alone now, the goat tried to climb up the tree, failed yet again and gave up.

The end.

Morals of the story:

  1. If you are not ready for help, don’t go looking for it.
  2. Have the patience to learn something before you attempt to do it. If the goat was patient enough, the monkey would have taught her how to climb up and down a tree.

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