Tuesday, May 19, 2009

7 The Tragic Bond

Yitzhak is John the same way that Hannukah (Yannukah) is Johnsday, the latter celebrated during the Midwinter Solstice. Though neo-Christianity forced the Latvians to change the name of their midwinter solstice celebration from Jahndaal (Johnsday) to a bland “Winterfest”*, the Latvians still retain “Jāņu diena” (Johnsday) for their Summer Solstice.

[The same kind of sound shift as is noticeable in the Jewish “Hannukah” applies also the Islamic Prophet Mohamed. That is, Mohamed is from a name that originally was pronounced Johan-ed.]

But back to Yitzhak or John. A long time ago—before communities of human beings had become conscious of themselves as communities, that is to say, before people had noticed their shadow—there lived in the mountains of Anatolia a goat named Billy, a young boy named Yitzhak-John, and the boy’s father, Abraham.

The goat Billy was a buck. Yitzhak had caught him one spring day when he and his father had gone to the mountains to catch nannies with kids to milk them. When the nannies stopped to give the kids their milk, Yitzhak and Abraham lassoed them. Yitzhak had milked a whole gourd full of milk, when Billy gave Yizhak a butt from behind. It was as if to say, “Hey! You are stealing my food!”

Yitzhak caught Billy, and then allowed him to suck on the corner of the goatskin bag where his father and he had poured the milk from the gourds. After seeing there was another way getting milk than just from his mother’s teat, Billy would not leave. This is how Yitzhak came to bring Billy home to the village, a camp of yurts. When Billy’s mother, the nanny, followed them, Abraham let her come. Since Billy the goat could not depend on the milk of human kindness for long, it was best his mother came along to feed him.

At first, Yitzhak wanted to keep the goat as a pet in the yurt. Abraham, said: “No way. It is hard enough to get humans toilet trained. Do you want our tent smelling like a piss house?”

Yitzhak kept Billy and the nanny outside the yurt. Both goats, but especially Billy, accustomed themselves to human company easily. However, when Billy became older, he started to insist in wanting to join Yitzhak in the tent. Since no one would let him in, Billy went around the tent and pushed his horns under the tent sides, often pulling out the tent stakes at the same time. Not that Billy intended to annoy anyone, but, like it or not, annoy he did.

“What did you do to that goat to make him all that friendly?” Abraham asked Yitzhak. “This is not natural.”

“Nothing, father,” answered Yitzhak.

Of course, Abraham knew that it was a lie. “You take that goat back where it came from,” said Abraham. “I can see that you have jerked him off, and now he wants sex all the time. Pretty soon, he will be jumping on everyone in our yurt, your mother including.”

Yitzhak took Billy and his nanny back up into the mountains. Not to make it embarrassing for Yitzhak, Abraham persuaded the villagers that it would be a good thing if they let all their goats go into the mountains with Yitzhak and Billy. The villagers were happy to comply. So were all the goats. As Yitzhak and Billy left the camp, all the goats followed them. It was quite a large herd. http://tinyurl.com/r5nxyg

Old Abraham followed his son and the goats a way up the mountain. Sometimes he made goat like sounds to urge the herd on. The call sounded something like “Br-raa-vo!” The whole village then bleated after them: “Br-raa-vo!” It made for quite a chorus.

The story does not end here. Yitzhak could hardly know what trouble he got himself into when he become intimate with Billy. While he thought that he and Billy were playing in secret, in fact, Billy’s behavior soon gave it away. Billy was no one to keep a secret. Moreover, not only Abraham knew the truth.

A couple of village men, who were angry at Abraham over some slight that he as village elder had done them, had also noticed Billy’s behavior. They soon hit on a plan to benefit from it. The plan was a very simple one. While Yitzhak was herding the goats, they would sneak up on him when he was sleeping, bundle and bind him in a blanket, and take him to their camp. They knew that Billy would follow wherever Yitzhak was, and with Billy would come the whole herd of goats.

The men hoped to corral the goats and exchange them at a neighboring village for half the number of goatskin bags. Of course, the villagers would lose their herd, but then the mountains were full of wild goats. Come next spring, the villagers could catch themselves a new herd.

What the men did not count on was that Yitzhak would resist and defend his flock. When the men tried to seize the goatherd, the boy was awake and had been watching them. Yitzhak hit out. The robbers, suddenly fearful that the boy would discover their identities, hit back. One of them hit Yitzhak on the head.

The men immediately fled whence they had come. Billy, seeing Yitzhak lying on the ground and moaning in pain, tried to revive him by humping him. Unfortunately, the blow had caused internal bleeding, and soon Yitzhak was dead.

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