The Tale of the Wolf and Goat

by Charlotte Dovey
Albert Bierstadt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“Rocky Mountain Goats”

God created a host of animals, all of which have destructive qualities if left unchecked.  He took a special liking to the wolf since it is a predator that keeps the population of other animals under control.  God forgot, however, to create a goat.  The Devil also wished to create, so to rectify God’s forgetfulness, he created a goat, a creature in his own image, much as God created man in his own image (a rational being).  Now the Devil was actually the pagan god Pan.  He was half-man, half-goat. This “devil,” or Pan character is not evil, but rather a dual force, as other animals are (Pan means all).  Pan is a lower god, god of the fields and forest, as well as reproduction and creation.  As such, he was not worshiped in temples but in nature.  Pan managed his goats as best as he could, but he had to remove the long tails that he originally gave the creatures, since they kept getting their tales caught in fences.  Hence, goats we see today have stubs instead of tales.  Pan could not, however, keep the goats from eating everything in sight and from having great numbers of offspring, so the goats were very troublesome indeed and caused chaos.

It quickly came about that the wolves began to destroy the devil Pan’s goats.  Pan was distraught by this, as they were his own special creature.  He went to God and sought to remedy his loss through compensation.  In law, compensation need not require restoring someone to his prior condition, but involves a substitution for a loss.  God, in his wisdom, did not restore all of the goats since he did not want the turmoil of too many goats to continue.  Instead, he allowed the wolves to continue to keep them under control.  To compensate Pan and other goat-like creatures, he made sure that somewhere in the world there would always be spring, renewal, and sustenance.  Hence, the Devil (Pan) did not forfeit anything at all, since God had already given him his due, morally and legally.  He accepted the wisdom of this and remained in the fields and forests, herding his goats and playing music on his wooden flute.

Arnold Böcklin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Faun einer Amsel zupfeifend”

See also: The Tale of the Wolf and Goat: An Analysis

© Copyright 2019, Metamorphorica

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