by Matthew Sanborn Smith
The Earl of Thrice’s castle wasn’t sealed off exactly. It was wide open to the road but no one ever left. No one ever came in. Traders catapulted their wares over the walls and their payments were lowered from the battlements in baskets. The reason for all of this? The goatway.
The goatway was a gateway . . . made of goats. Neither man nor beast would pass through it. It smelled, for one thing. And you might get plopped upon by goat poo for another. When the Duke of One-Derful attacked, he thought it would be a simple matter to take the castle. Little did he know that not a one of his men would go through the front door. He had to lay siege to the place as if there wasn’t a great big hole in the wall already. Since he hadn’t come prepared for a proper siege, he was forced to head home. However, the trip was not a total loss. The Duke found himself bound and gagged by inspiration.
If a single goatway could befuddle an army such as his, think of what an entire castle made of goats could do! He began work immediately and many a goatherd became wealthy as the walls went up. The Duke even surrounded the castle with a goat moat. He became the most invincible ruler in the land. His people were well fed as they milked the walls regularly and often slaughtered bits of the ever growing castle for food and clothing. You can imagine, if you pack that many goats together that tightly, they’re going to be getting it on left and right. The people even had plenty of excess supplies to sell to neighboring lands.
A local Baron attempted to steal the Duke’s thunder by building his own castle from cows but everyone agreed that was just ridiculous and his people refused to involve themselves in such a farce.