In a great reserve (I forget which one) Was this Goat who lived - horns so curled and long - Though he lived with wolves, had a verse begun He bellowed not a howl but a bleated song. He nibbled on the green grass and his sides began to bloat You’d never hear him slight someone he mentions... He proved as useful as milk from a billy goat, But at least he didn’t have hurtful intentions. He in a meadow lived, with a pond nearby, Never seeking new lands, always stayed close by, - But when they first saw the kid they took a vote And they made him, so meek, as their great scapegoat! For instance take Bear - known to rouse and cheat, He’ll offend whoever’s near, bearishly he scorns, They all would find the Goat, bring him in and beat - Roughly they would strike, right between the horns... He, so gray, did not resist the evil violence at play, Happily and proudly he endured it. Bear then said aloud “You all... I am proud today - This muzzle that’s before me is heroic!” Goat was cherished now, like a royal heir... There was even a law that had been declared: From these reserve lands, he will not roam free - He’s our great Scapegoat, not an escapee! But the Goat would run, hop around and trot Then he began to prank and slyly malign: Once he tied his beard in a tangled knot And behind a bush he called Wolf a swine. And when the next time came for him to prove his new found name... All because the biting wolves had gotten greedy, - In a growl, as if by accident, Goat bearishly exclaimed But when he did, to this they gave no heed. While the predators - with each other - fought, The reserve gave way to the growing thought That amidst the bears and the foxes too, Did the dear Scapegoat preciously shine through! Soon Goat heard this too - and then he said: “Hey you, brown furs, and you, patched with white! So from you I take your rations, wolves, And your freedoms, Bear...yes, your ursine right! I will show you a real “muzzle” - let me show you in the woods I will cleave and carve this place up here and thither, - Wrapping everyone around my horns, I’ll spread them along the hills, I’ll besmirch them ’cross these lands and even farther! More than one of you will one day bite the dust - Everyone will die, without forgiveness... It’s up to me - the Scapegoat, I can decide Whose sins to absolve - the choice is mine!” In this great reserve (I forget which one) So unlike before, the Goat’s now in charge - Howling he’d sing, as the wolves had done And so now he shouts bearishly at large.                
© Benjamin Phinney. Translation, 2012