The Old Man and Three Legged Goat

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He felt sorry for the old man and asked, "Would you like to have a cup of hot coffee and sit with me?"

The old man walked up, extended his hand and said, "Pleased to meet you. I am Bartholomew Jackson."

Curly shook his cold hard hand and replied, "Nice to meet you. They call me Curly Bama. Please sit and I will pour you a cup of coffee, then tell me about the three-legged goat." He had brought a full thermos of coffee; it was one of few luxuries he could still afford.

Bartholomew seated himself. Curly poured the coffee into the thermos cap and handed it to him. He said, "Bless you, Curly. I am freezing looking for Rambo." He took a long sip of the hot coffee.

Curly sat there and looked long and hard at the old man and realized he liked him. He was not sure why since he had met him only five minutes ago, but he made him feel secure. It reminded him of his mom picking him up with a scraped knee saying, "Everything will be okay." He had always believed her.

That is what he felt with Bartholomew sitting next to him. It was uncomfortable, yet it gave him a warm, relaxed feeling he had been missing for so long.

"So Bartholomew, what is the story on the three-legged goat?" he asked.

The old man turned to Curly and held the thermos metal cup between his calloused hands. He said, "Rambo saved my life and I must find him. I am indebted to do so. Besides, he is my life companion."

Bartholomew looked across the lake with great sadness. He turned to Curly and said, "I used to go to the mountains in search for gold. I never expected to find any, but it kept me busy as I had no family or kin to visit.

"Some days, I got lucky and found gems, agates, turquoise, amethyst and such." He perked up and said, "I sold gems for a pretty penny, I must tell you!

"Anyway, one fine day, I went way deeper in the mountains than ever before and figured I would find the mother lode of something. I scrambled across a rough and steep ravine when I slipped and fell. I landed at the bottom of the ravine, struck a rock and everything went black."

"It was like I was swimming in a fish bowl looking out to see from within. Do you know what I mean?" the old man asked.

Curly shook his head in agreement, but he'd never had any experiences in a fish bowl.

He continued, "I lay unconscious for a long time and was brought back to life by a loud bleating sound. I thought I was delirious and attempted to shut the sound out, but I heard it again, only louder this time.

"I forced my eyes open, and a black goat stared at me with a white patch on his forehead. I attempted to sit up and fell back but tried one more time with success. This time, the goat assisted me by pulling on my sleeve to help get me up.

"I got on my knees and the goat scooted under my arm to assist. I stood up on my legs, but they felt like they were made of jelly. I turned around to take inventory of where I was, but I was still too much in a fog to know.

"The goat bleated and walked five or ten yards then came back and repeated. After a few times, my addled mind understood he wanted me to follow him.

"The goat led me out of the ravine. Near the exit, hidden behind some large boulders, was a natural spring. By then, I understood he was trying to lead me to water.

"I fell face first into the life-giving spring. It was a hot day, and I had not noticed how dehydrated I was. I drank the cool, sweet water and revived somewhat," the old man said.

"My savior, the goat, lay before me and stared at me with crazy eyes. The eyes were a cool blue with glittering sparkles in them." The old man turned towards Curly and said, "If you gaze into my hazel eyes, you may see the same golden flecks."

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