The Farmer and his Goose

by W. H. G. Kingston

A Cheshire farmer had a large flock of geese. As he was passing through the yard one day, one of the geese quitted its companions and stalked after him. Why it did so he could never tell, as he had shown it no more attention than the rest of the flock. The following day the goose behaved in the same way; and at length, wherever he went—to the mill, the blacksmith’s shop, or even through the bustling streets of the neighbouring town—the goose followed at his heels. When he went to church, he was obliged to shut up the goose.

While ploughing his fields, the goose would walk sedately before him, with firm step, and head and neck erect—frequently turning round and fixing its eyes upon him. One furrow completed, and the plough turned, the goose, without losing step, would adroitly wheel about; and would thus behave, till it followed its master home.

Even in the house, as he sat by the fire in the evening, it would mount on his lap, nestle its head in his bosom, and preen his hair with its beak, as it was wont to do its own feathers.

Even when he went out shooting, the goose followed like a dog, getting over the fences as well as he could himself.

It is sad to think that gross superstition was the cause of the death of the faithful bird. The ignorant farmer afterwards killed it, fancying that the mysterious affection of the goose boded him some evil.

Take warning from the fate of the poor goose, and do not bestow your affection on those who seem unworthy of it, however clever or powerful they may be.