Click on this picture for a printable colour board game to go with the story! And click here for a colouring-in sheet of the same game.
The story of "One Little Goat" is based on a traditional song that dates back at least to the 17th century, sung and enjoyed all over the world (especially by children!) at the end of the Jewish Passover meal. The song is from the point of view of a child whose father buys a little goat for two pennies - and then.... well! The things that happen! Below you can see Ursula reading the story herself.
"One Little Goat" is a chain tale, a traditional way of storytelling that is found in many different cultures, where one strange thing leads to another. I bet you know this chain song, about the Old Lady and the Fly.
The traditional song that "One Little Goat" is based on, is usually known as "Had Gadya", which means "One Little Goat" in a language called Aramaic. Most of the song is written in Aramaic and there are also some words in Hebrew. Click here to see the original lyrics and their English translation. And on the video below to hear it sung by the folk singer, Theodore Bikel.
Children always have a lot of fun singing "Had Gadya", making all the animal sounds and actions. You could put on masks like the ones here, or make these finger puppets. Or even act out your own video like the one below - it's the same traditional song, "One Little Goat" but in a language called Ladino, a version of Spanish spoken by some Jewish people. The tune is different too and is sung by the famous Israeli singer Yehoram Gaon.
So what is the meaning of this strange story that starts with the little goat? There are plenty of theories about it, but perhaps the reason people love it so much is because we don't really know what it means at all.
Here is a sadder "Had Gadya", sung by another famous Israeli singer Hava Alberstein. There are subtitles in English.
The great Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai wrote this poem , which is also a sadder idea of the Had Gadya, where he talks about the "Had Gadya machine." Read the poem and see what you think he means by that.
But on a lighter note, the English writerWolf Mankowitzwrote a novel "A Kid for Two Farthings" inspired by the Had Gadya. It is set in modern London, about a little boy and his pet goat, which he thinks is a magical unicorn. It was made into a film in 1955.
Finally, this book was Ursula's favourite when she was six years old. A-ha! So that explains why she has always loved the little white goat!