Everything was normal. Perfectly normal. Nothing strange. Everyone was sleeping peacefully inside Tara, all of the down-belows. There was nothing to raise an eyebrow until right before dawn. Right before dawn my mother got up quietly.
"Where are you going?" I asked her.
"Go back to sleep," she said, and she tiptoed over the snoring bodies toward the little strip of pasture at the top of the down-below hill. This is the spot from which you can see everything. No one can sneak up on you here.
I went back to sleep and did not wake up until I heard the farmer coming out in the early morning light. Cherry snapped awake when she heard the feed in the bucket and the stampede to the feeders was on and the farmer did the morning head count, around all the feeders, then did the count again, then turned to me and said, "where is your mother?"
I looked over right away to the top of the down-below hill, and there she was. The farmer looked too. She was just lying down, and turning sideways to push, almost like you would do if you were having a baby. That's funny, I thought to myself, it almost looks like she is having a baby, but you would have to be bred to have a baby, and my mother hasn't been bred since she had me years ago, what a pretty baby I was, really just completely darling - just then the farmer rushed past me and the next thing I knew my mother was being frogmarched up to the barn.
Inside the barn the farmer quickly made a makeshift nest in the aisle and grabbed the towels from the tack room and within a couple of minutes there were two feet heading out which seemed to make it even more likely that my mother was having a baby.
The feet came out and then the legs, which isn't unusual in fact the legs almost always follow the feet. You can make a note of this if you are keeping a detective chart: where the feet go the legs will follow. These legs were jet black and they seemed to keep coming, and the farmer said, "this is going to be a tall one, it must be a buckling," and the legs kept coming and coming and finally there was the nose, jet black too, and the farmer gave a couple of gentle pulls and out slid the Dark Secret.
The farmer gave a little gasp, probably because it was definitely a baby goat. Or maybe because it was a doeling. Or maybe it was something else? There was something about the baby, I couldn't quite put my finger on it, I knew the baby was my sister, but she looked nothing like me. She looked nothing like my mother either. But I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
Lori came over later and the farmer asked did she notice anything different about the baby.
"Well it's quite tall," said Lori. This was true, it was very tall and elegant, much taller than any of the other doelings. Yes but that's not it, said the farmer. "Well it seems to have sort of wavy hair," said Lori. Yes but that's not it, said the farmer. "It's very black, quite black," said Lori. "It's one of the blackest goats I've ever seen, except for its white cap." Yes but that's not it, said the farmer. "It isn't chubby like the others," Lori proposed.
The farmer gave up. "Did you notice," the farmer asked, "that it doesn't have any ears?"
"That's it!" said Lori.
The Dark Secret was my mother's idea. No one knows how she did it, and it was a very dangerous thing to try. Things could have gone very wrong. But they didn't. So I suppose all is well and everyone got what they wanted. Except the bucks. The bucks have new no-climb fencing around their pen, and double hot wires coming soon.
The Dark Secret is the prettiest mini-Mancha we have ever had here. And the most beloved, not least because she will be my mother's last daughter EVER.
Nonetheless, all you does listening out there, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.