The story of "One Little Goat" is based on a traditional song that dates back at least to the 17th century, and that is sung and enjoyed (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!

It's a kind of chain tale,  a way of storytelling found in cultures all around the world. I bet you know this chain song, about the Old Lady and the Fly. 

The traditional song "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  to hear it sung.

Children always have a lot of fun singing "Had Gadya", making all the animal sounds and actions. You could put on masks, or use finger puppets.  And even make 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! 

 

 

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 the famous Israeli singer.  Hava Alberstein.  There are subtitles in English. 

The great poet Yehuda Amichai wrote this poem , which is also a sadder idea of the Had Gadya, talking about the "Had Gadya machine." Read the poem and see what do you think he means by that.  

But on a lighter note, the English writer Wolf Mankowitz   wrote 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