“The tale is told of an old man who groaned from his heart. The doctors were sent for, and they advised him to drink goat's milk. He went out and bought a she-goat and brought her into his home. Not many days passed before the goat disappeared. They went out to search for her but did not find her. She was not in the yard and not in the garden, not on the roof of the study-house and not by the spring, not in the hills and not in the fields. She tarried several days and then returned by herself; and when she returned, her udder was full of a great deal of milk whose taste was as the taste of Eden. Not just once, but many times she disappeared from the house. They would go out in search for her and would not find her until she returned by herself with her udder full of milk that was sweeter than honey and whose taste was the taste of Eden.”
—S.Y. Agnon, “Fable of the Goat” (1925)
The Fable Of The Goat (1925) by S.Y. Agnon [1888–1970], who was born and raised up in Eastern Europe [born Shmuel Yosef Czaczkes in Buczacz in what was then Polish Galicia and is now Buchach, Ukraine], resided in Israel, in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot, continuously since 1924 until his death in 1970; Agnon shared the Nobel Prize in Literature with Nelly Sachs in 1966. The story is read here by a young Joseph Gordon Levitt. Agnon’s stories bring the old world into the new world and touch on the longing for home, typically in a mythical fashion. The Yiddish word for goat is tsig (ציג) and a small goat, a tsigele (ציגעלע). Eastern European Jews have long identified with the goat, a small, intelligent and humble animal.