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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: The Tale of Two Goats
By George Parler


“Momma, tell me the story again.”

“Son, it’s time for sleep. And besides you have heard the story so many times you can probably tell it better than I.”

“I know, but I like it when you tell it.”

“Goats…. What is it with you and goats?”

“Oh please, please…pleeeease?”

“Okay, okay…. But only if you promise to go to sleep.”

“You are just like your father. He could talk me into anything.” She said smiling while touching her finger on the end of his nose.

“Is my father ever coming back Momma?”

She smiled, running her fingers through his hair. “I don’t know my love.” I hope he fell off a cliff somewhere, she thought to herself. How could he have just walked away from his family, not to mention his son?

“Now let’s see…. Yahweh said unto Moses that he should take from the children of Israel two male goats for a sin offering. He shall take the two goats, and set them before Yahweh at the door of the Tent of Meeting. Now Aaron, the priest, would cast lots for the two goats; one lot for Yahweh and the other lot for the scapegoat.”

“What is a scapegoat Momma?”

“Now how will I finish this story with all these questions?”

“Now let’s see, where was I? Oh yes…Now the goat whose lot fell for Yahweh was to be the sin offering and was sacrificed for the sins of all the people. His blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat itself according to the Word of the Lord.”

“This goat makes me sad Momma.”

“I know my love. But look how this one small life atoned for the sins of all of Israel? God chose him to be a worthy sacrifice for such an important thing.”

“I know Momma, but I still feel sad for him. He didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Yes I know my son, but praise the Lord for the sacrifice. Would you rather you and I to stand before Yahweh and pay for our sins?”

“No Momma, I don’t.”

“They give of themselves to us everyday. But how many of them are actually chosen by God to atone for the sins of all Israel?”

“I know Momma, but tell me about the other goat. This one makes me want to cry.”

“I know it does, so why do you always want to hear this story?”

“Because the other goat makes me happy.”

“Oh, I see. Well let’s get to the happy little scapegoat then.” She said smiling as she gently patted him on the side of his leg.

“Now Aaron, the priest, presents the live goat before the Lord. Then he lays both of his hands on his head like this.” She said as she placed both of her hands on each side of his face. Pausing for a moment to gaze at her smiling little boy. She could not help but to lean over and kiss him on his forehead. Remembering the joy that came into life the day he was born.

Sitting back up, she continued, “And as Aaron places his hands on the head of the goat, he confesses all the sins of the children of Israel onto the head of the goat.”

“This is the part I like.” He said bursting with excitement.

“Do you want me to finish this story or not?” She said puzzled by his excitement over a story he’s heard many times before.

“Yes, yes, yes.” He said giggling out loud.

Shaking her head she continued, “Then a man standing ready, chosen for this task, would lead the scapegoat out into the wilderness….”

“AND SET HIM FREE!” He shouted finishing the story, while leaping from his pallet and dancing around the room.

“Alright that’s enough, it’s bed time young man.”

He made three hops with the last landing back into his bed. “I love that story Momma.”

“I know, I know. Now sleep, goodnight, it’s bed time, we can talk again tomorrow.” She said tucking him in his bed and kissing him on the forehead again. “Maybe you should have been born a little goat instead of a little boy.” She said lightheartedly.

“I love you Momma.” He said as she walked toward the doorway.

“I love you to, Barabbas,…. And God loves you…goodnight.”

Inspired by and paraphrased from Leviticus 16:1-34 and Matthew 27:15-26 (KJV)

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This article has been read 1310 times
Member Comments
Member Date
david grant05/25/06
good twist at the end.
Lynda Schultz 05/26/06
I agree, the twist at the end answered my question as to why a child would enjoy, and ask repeatedly for, the story of the goats. Very creative, and good dialogue.
Sherry Wendling05/26/06
What a creative way to get across the concept of atonement! I agree, your ending twist makes one ponder.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/26/06
Wow, that is a cool twist! There are a few spots in the writing that need a little smoothing, but very good story.
Leslie Lamb05/26/06
Well written dialogue...very nice story about a very merciful God.
Joanne Malley05/28/06
Sweet story...you got me at the end! You have a talent for smooth dialog. Great job!
Jan Ackerson 05/28/06
Wow! Just wow! That's not a twist at the end, that's a huge gulp-back-astonishment-moment. Awesome.
T. F. Chezum05/28/06
Good story, good dialouge. A very good read.
Rita Garcia05/28/06
Creative, perfect telling of a awesome story!
Kate Wells05/29/06
Gave me chills when I realized who the child was.
Very very good! I enjoyed this. Kate~
Edy T Johnson 05/29/06
Woooo! That unexpected O.Henry ending makes the entire rest of the story fall into place. I'd love to know how you got the idea, as it suggests some deep thinking behind it. Thanks!
Anita Neuman05/29/06
Wow! What an amazing story. I love Biblical fiction - and you sure packed a lot into this little story. What a powerful message. There are a few little punctuation errors, but they don't detract from the story at all. Great job!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/29/06
WOW! What else can be said? This was such a powerful story. Who would have expected the ending. I loved it.
Debbie Sickler05/29/06
I loved the easy flow between the dialog of the mother and son and back to her story. It felt very natural. :)
Caitlynn Lowe05/30/06
I know it's already been said, but I can't help it....The twist at the ending is just too great! And overall, it's a great story. ^_^
Birdie Courtright05/31/06
Great ending! I never saw that one coming...pretty deep analogy and that's what made me say "wow". Good job!
Jessica Schmit06/05/06
Oh my goodness! i can't believe I missed reading this last week. it was really good. very creative spin. The title really got me. Very well written, good dialogue and EXCELLENT ending! Great job!
Jacquelyn Horne09/03/07
Enjoyed reading this earlier challenge piece. Wonderfully written.
Mariane Holbrook 06/26/10
The accolades you received on this one are well-deserved! I, too, was caught off guard with the ending. I loved it! This was written before I joined FW. I wish I'd known back then what wonderful friends God had waiting just around the corner for me. And you're right there at the top, George, along with the others on the porch! God bless you for writing such a great story!
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/26/10
I love this story! So well written, so creative, so tender, so uplifting, so "got me in the end."
Barbara Lynn Culler06/26/10
I wondered why Mamma spoke of deep things to a child for a bedtime story.
I thot it was gearing towards her attitude of the husband, so that really threw me off your ending!
Carol Penhorwood 06/26/10
Just amazing, George!
Carole Robishaw 06/26/10
George, you've done it again. Really great job, very in depth.