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And so the priest took the 200 rubles and sent the old man to the deacon to make preparations for the funeral.
“Good deacon,” said the old man, “I want you to prepare a funeral.”
“Of course, good man,” said the deacon. “Tell me, who has died?”
“You never had the pleasure of meeting him, sir,” said the old man, “but he was the finest goat in this whole land.”
“How dare you tease me with foolish requests! Go away!” the deacon shouted.
“But deacon, my old goat was no ordinary creature. He was as devout as could be, and before he died he asked me to give you 100 rubles.”
“Why did you not tell me which goat it was you meant?” exclaimed the deacon. “Go quickly now and tell the bell ringer to ring the bells. We must all pray together for the good goat’s soul.”
The old man ran to the bell ringer. “Please ring the bells for my goat, who has died this very day.”
“Off with you!” the bell ringer bellowed, losing his temper. “Do not treat me like a fool!”
“But sir,” said the old man, “my goat was generous. He left you 50 rubles in his will.”
“Oh,” said the bell ringer. “I thought you meant another goat.” And he seized the ropes and pulled with all his strength. Soon the whole village rang with the sound.
Not long afterward, the priest and the deacon appeared at the old man’s house. Behind them came hundreds of people. In a long procession, they all walked to the graveyard. There the people placed the goat in a beautiful oak coffin and lowered it into a grave.
Several days later, the bishop came to town and heard the news of the goat’s funeral. He called the priest, the deacon, the bell ringer and the old man. “How dare you grant a burial to a poor, shoddy goat!” he roared.
“But good sir,” said the old man, “this goat left you 1,000 rubles for your goodness and generosity.”
For a moment the bishop did not speak. Then he smiled and said: “Good sirs, please understand, I was not criticizing you for your burial. This goat was far too splendid for plain things. I only regret that you did not allow me to bless him with holy oil. Now I shall leave you with one thought, and one thought only: May the good goat rest in peace, forever and ever.”
The old man walked home and told his wife of the bishop’s blessing. Forever after, they always remembered their dear creature and all that he had given them. And no one ever called them fools again.
by Amy Friedman and Meredith Johnson
END OF ARTICLE
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Jamaican Medium Contributing Author
Click here to read part one