Folktales, Legends, and Stories

The Nanny Goat and the Hedgehog

Koza odrat a je

 

There was a nanny goat with horns,

Her coat of fur half scratched and torn,

She ran off, up into the hills,

And hid among the rocks and rills

This particular nanny goat had squeezed herself into a foxs den. When the fox came home and wanted to enter her hole, she discovered that she couldnt. Some kind of strange creature was in her den. She tried to chase it out, but the creature stamped its hooves and called out:

Im a nanny goat with horns,
My coat of fur half scratched and torn,

With my hooves, Ill stamp and stew,

With my horns, Ill pierce you through.

 

The fox was frightened and ran away, wailing throughout the whole forest. Then she met a wolf. Why are you crying, little cousin fox? Oh, brother wolf, how can I help but cry? Theres some kind of horrible animal lying in my den. Dont worry. Ill chase it out!

Together they returned to the scene of the trouble, and the wolf called out:

 

Tell me who you are then,

Hiding in the foxs den?

 

The nanny goat stamped her hooves and called out

 

Im a nanny goat with horns,
My coat of fur half scratched and torn,

With my hooves, Ill stamp and stew,

With my horns, Ill pierce you through.

 

The wolf was also frightened. Both he and the fox ran off, bawling and lamenting, until they met a bear. Why are you crying, little fox?  

How can I help but cry, dear bear? A savage creature has hidden itself in my den, which is now the scene of unspeakable horror.  

Ill chase it out! offered the bear. But surely you wont succeed. I tried to flush the monster out, and the wolf tried to do likewise, but or efforts came to nothing. Dont worry your furry head. Im stronger, boasted the bear. When he arrived at the den, the bear shouted:

 

Tell me who you are then,

Hiding in the foxs den?

 

But the nanny goat merely stamped her hooves and before and shouted back:

 

Im a nanny goat with horns,
My coat of fur half scratched and torn,

With my hooves, Ill stamp and stew,

With my horns, Ill pierce you through.

 

Even the bear was frightened. All three of them ran off into the forest, sniveling and complaining. Then they met a hedgehog. Who has hurt you, little fox that you are crying so hard? How can I help but cry, when theres some kind of strange creature hidden in my den! And theres no chasing it out! Ill try, said the hedgehog. The fox merely waved her paw sadly. How can you possible chase the monster out, little hedgie-wedgie, if the three of us couldnt do it? We are the rulers of the forest, and we couldnt do anything, added the wolf. Well, even though youre the rulers and Im just a little hedgie-wedgie, Ill do better than you! and the hedgehog curled himself up into a ball and rolled off so fast that the fox, the wolf, and the bear could scarcely  keep up with him.

 

The hedgehog went up to the opening and called out:

 

Tell me who you are then,

Hiding in the foxs den?

 

The nanny goat again stamped fiercely with her hooves and shouted:

 

Im a nanny goat with horns,
My coat of fur half scratched and torn,

With my hooves, Ill stamp and stew,

With my horns, Ill pierce you through.

 

But the hedgehog was not frightened.

 

Im a hedgehog, small its true,

But with my quills, Ill pierce you too!

 

Then he wound himself into a ball and rolled into the hole. He started pricking the goat right where her coat was most scratched and torn. The goat bleated in pain, thrashed back and forth, tried to get the hedgehog with her horns, and kicked wildly with her hooves. But she couldnt do anything against the hedgehogs sharp quills. So she jumped out of the den.

 

The fox, the wolf, and the bear were all waiting to give her a proper beating. She ran helter-skelter out of the forest, and never stopped at all. From then on she lost her taste for hiding in foxs dens.

 

This story was taken from Slovak Tales for Young and Old by Pavol Dobsinsky in English and Slovak, translated by Lucy Bednar. Published by Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. Wauconda, Illinois, in 2001.