The Goat

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Out West many years ago there lived a prosperous rancher, wise and well-educated, whose wife had passed away a few years earlier. It happened that this fellow fell hopelessly in love with a young woman, a great many years his junior. His life was further complicated by the fact that the girl already had a suitor, a youth of twenty-three. Unlike his older rival, the boy was a swaggering braggart and a practical joker who had never entertained a serious thought in his empty head.

One evening, upon learning that the young woman had invited the rancher to her home for supper, under the watchful eye of her mother, the young suitor presented himself at her door. There was nothing the girl could do except admit him.

As they sat at the table the boy, with a smirk on his face, addressed the older man:

"Sir," said he, "How old are you?"

"Boy," replied the rancher, well aware that the question was intended to embarrass him, "my age is of no importance. But I can tell you this:

"A goat of twenty-three is powerful old compared to a man of forty-five ..."