Book Quiz :: A Brief History of Goats in Literature

There was a period of a few weeks back there – back there when I was living in a field in France – that I had goats. The experience – for various reasons – wasn’t a very enlightening one, and I was pleased when the goats and I eventually parted company. One good thing that came of it though, was that I got drunk with a friend and collected a bunch of goat-references from literature. I was going to post them on this here blog as a kind of light-hearted goat-based literature quiz but for some baffling reason, I never got round to it. 

Today, you will be pleased to hear, is the day.



Below you will find 15 extracts from 15 very famous books. Many of them include big clues. Many don’t. Needless to say, use of Google is strictly forbidden, except to check your answers when you’re sure you have given the quiz your very best shot.

Let me know in the comments how many you got correct. Failure to comment will result in the assumption on the part of the rest of the internet that you are an imbecile.

If you genuinely guessed between three and seven correctly, give yourself a pat on the back. You know your literary onions. If you got between seven and 12, you are incredibly special. No kidding. More than 12 and you are either a) a genuine genius, or b) a brazen, stinking liar.

Ready, steady … goats!



1. ‘Redheaded women buck like goats.’ 


2. ‘She looked the part of the sacrificial goat, the constant butt, believer in left-handed monkey wrenches, perpetual foul-up, and she was.’


3. ‘I was in like a big field with all flowers and trees, and there was a like goat with a man’s litso playing away on a like flute.’
4. ‘[His] heart jumped into his mouth. He gave a terrific squirm. Buttons burst off in all directions. He was through, with a torn coat and waistcoat, leaping down the steps like a goat, while bewildered goblins were still picking up his nice brass buttons on the doorstep.’

5. ‘No lingering now—he heard the goddess’ voice—but back he went to his house with aching heart and there at the palace found the brazen suitors skinning goats in the courtyard, singeing pigs for roasting.’


goat6. ‘These, he said, were the mysterious groups whose gods demand – instead of a cock, a pigeon, a goat, a dog, or a pig, as in the normal rites of Voodoo – the sacrifice of a “cabris sans cornes”; This hornless goat, of course, means a human being…’

7. ‘The real universe arched sickeningly away beneath them. Various pretend ones flitted silently by, like mountain goats.’

8. ‘”Sir, if you have a down payment of three thou, I can make you owner of something a lot better than a pair of rabbits. What about a goat?”‘

9. ‘”But the new ones are so stupid and horrible. Those plays, where there’s nothing but helicopters flying about and you feel the people kissing.” He made a grimace. “Goats and monkeys!”‘

goat10. ‘Their heads and breasts were covered with a thick hair, some frizzled and others lank; they had beards like goats, and a long ridge of hair down their backs, and the foreparts of their legs and feet, but the rest of their bodies were bare, so that I might see their skins, which were of a brown buff colour.’

11. ‘”I guess I’m a sentimental old goat,” he said. “And no soldier at all. I took a fancy to that boy. He seemed pretty clean to me….”‘


12. ‘In four bounding steps she covered the distance to the goat, bent down, and bit it through the neck.’

goat13.  ‘Feisal, angry at the metaphor (impolite in Arabic), looked at Bremond’s six feet of comfortable body, and asked if he had ever tried to “goat” himself.’

14. ‘But if there were no mines, where was the radiation coming from? The sun? No, not that. Goats on the higher ridges had no trouble multiplying and he had never seen a deformed goat.’

15. ‘We rushed over the brow of the hill, and there was our man running with great speed down the other side, springing over the stones in his way with the activity of a mountain goat. A lucky long shot of my revolver might have crippled him, but I had brought it only to defend myself if attacked, and not to shoot an unarmed man who was running away.’




About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you’ll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

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