"A Horse and Two Goats" is the story of a comical and fateful meeting between two men, neither of who speak each other's language.
Muni and his wife live in poverty in a remote village in India called Kritam. In his prosperous days, before pestilence took most of his cattle, Muni had 40 sheep and goats. Now, in his old age, Muni has just two goats. His usual daily routine is to take the goats to graze two miles from his home, alongside the highway, at the foot of a life-sized clay statue of a horse. Muni never thinks about the statue. It has been there since before he was born and is just part of the landscape, as far as he is concerned.
On this particular morning, Muni goes outside and shakes six bean-like fruits, called drumsticks, from the branches of the drumstick tree in his yard. Usually, his wife would boil some drumstick leaves, with a bit of salt, in a mud pot over their domestic fire. On other mornings, she would cook some millet for him, but today, Muni craves drumsticks in sauce. Their store of food is empty; however, so his wife sends him to the shop to get the items she needs to make the sauce.
Muni can sometimes charm the shopkeeper into giving him a few items on credit. This time, however, Muni's charm fails him, and all he gains for his trouble is public humiliation. The shopkeeper pulls out a ledger and reads the list of all the unpaid items already charged to Muni's account. To pay off his debt to the shop, Muni would have to come up with five rupees and a quarter.
When Muni returns home empty-handed, his frightened wife sends him out with the goats, warning him not to come home before dark. He knows from experience that if he will just do as she says, she will calm down and find some way to scrape together a dinner for him.
Muni is sitting on the pedestal of the statue, letting his goats graze, and watching the highway, when a van runs out of gas right in front of him. The driver of the van is an... [continues]
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