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Rock of Aegis

Claim:   A rock to which a goat is tethered is heaved down a hole in the ground, taking the goat with it.

LEGEND

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 1998]

Two guys are walking thru the woods and come across this big deep hole.

"Wow . . . that looks deep."

"Sure does . . . toss a few pebbles in there and see how deep it is."

They pick up a few pebbles and throw them in and wait... no noise.

"Jeeez. That
is REALLY deep . . . here . . . throw one of these great big rocks down there. Those should make a noise."

They pick up a couple of football-sized rocks and toss them into the hole and wait . . . and wait. Nothing. They look at each other in amazement.

One gets a determined look on his face and says, "Hey . . . over here in the weeds, there's a railroad tie. Help me carry it over here. When we toss THAT sucker in, it's GOTTA make some noise."

The two drag the heavy tie over to the hole and heave it in. Not a sound comes from the hole. Suddenly, out of the nearby woods, a goat appears, running like the wind. It rushes toward the two men, then right past them, running as fast as its legs will carry it. Suddenly it leaps in the air and into the hole. The two men are astonished with what they've just seen.

Then, out of the woods comes a farmer who spots the men and ambles over. "Hey . . . you two guys seen my goat out here?"

"You bet we did! Craziest thing I ever seen. It came running like crazy and just jumped into this hole!"

"Nah", says the farmer, "that couldn't have been MY goat. My goat was chained to a railroad tie."
 

Variations:
  • Settings Goat for this legend have included Cornwall (England), unnamed ski resorts near deep crevasses, the Lake District in England with its deep potholes, the rocky parts of Spain, and in Belgium.
  • The goat is tied to a large rock, a spike driven into the ground, or a railway tie.
  • Sometimes the rock throwers are further identified as drunken college louts.
Origins:   This story gets its giggles from the mental picture of a goat's flying past the two pranksters and disappearing down the deep well they've been testing. The multiplicity of versions in existence cast doubt on the notion this was a scenario took which played out in real life, however.

Barbara "bound for glory" Mikkelson

Sightings:   Rumor has it a bovine version of this legend plays out in the 1991 Irish film Hear My Song.

Last updated:   1 August 2011

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Sources:

    Healey, Phil and Rick Glanvill.   Now! That's What I Call Urban Myths.
    London: Virgin Books, 1996.   ISBN 0-86369-969-3   (pp. 21-22).

Also told in:

    Healey, Phil and Rick Glanvill.   "A Cornish Goat Story."
    The Guardian.   3 October 1992   (p. 47).