Author: Louis Slobodkin
Copyright Date: 1964
Pagination: 40 p.
Sham Babu lived in India and had a little pet goat whom he loved dearly.
Sham and his father had driven their herd of goats along the dusty road from their little village to the goat market in the great city of Delhi. The little goat was born a few days before they started their long journey. And Sham carried him all the way to Delhi.
After a few days, all the goats were sold except Sham’s pet.
“Now at last,” said Sham’s father cheerfully, “if we can sell that little goat today we can start the long walk back to our village this evening.”
Sham nodded his head but his heart was heavy. He looked at his pretty little goat sadly.
“Father,” he said, “must we sell the little one?”
“Oh, yes,” said his father. “I was not paid too well for our other goats. I can’t afford to buy goat’s milk for him.... Besides, he will not be able to walk all the way back to our village. And he’s grown so you won’t be able to carry him.”
“Oh, yes, I will,” said Sham eagerly, as he picked up the little goat. “Look, I can carry him.... I can.”
His father shook his head.
“No, he must be sold. We must return quickly to our village.... He must be sold today.”
But the little goat was not sold that day nor the next day nor the day after that.
On the evening of the third day Sham’s father said, “If we don’t sell the little one tomorrow, I will have to give him away. It costs too much to live here in the great city of Delhi. Go to bed. We must be up at dawn.”
Sham lay down on his narrow wooden bed which he had carried, strapped to his back, all the way from his village. As he looked up at the star-sprinkled sky, he wondered why it cost more to live in Delhi than it did in the village. His father had carried his own bed too, and he had also carried most of the food they ate in Delhi. Sham looked down at the little goat who slept on the ground near his bed. The little goat looked so pretty and gentle.
“Good night, little goat,” whispered Sham and he closed his eyes. Two tears rolled down his cheeks from under his closed eyelids.