OK, yes, it’s a picture book. But I came across it on my shelf the other day and it made me go “Awwww…. the Goat in the Rug”… and pull it down and re-read it. This book sparks so much joy in me!
It’s told by Geraldine, an angora goat who lives in a place called Window Rock, with her friend Glenmae, who is a Navajo weaver.
If they live among a community of any other people or goats, it’s never mentioned; closest we get is the fact that it is “miles” to the nearest store. It’s just Glenmae, a weaver woman, and her goat.
One day Glenmae takes out some big shears and gives Geraldine a clipping. Geraldine is ticklish, so she “kicks up her heels” a little bit.
Glenmae washes the mohair and then goes out to collect dye plants. Geraldine tags along. Thinking that all the plants being picked represent a delightful picnic just for her, she eats them all. The next day, Glenmae sets out for that store miles away to buy dyestuffs — and leaves Geraldine home.
Glenmae dyes the mohair in reds, browns, and blacks. Geraldine starts to frown a little bit, wondering if having ingested dyeplants is going to turn her all those same colors.
Glenmae spins the mohair into thread, its strength illustrated with a picture of her and Geraldine playing a bit of tug-o-war.
Finally Glenmae sets up her loom and starts to weave a beautiful one-of-a-kind rug. By the time she’s finished, Geraldine’s fleece has grown almost long enough for another rug.
I love to close my eyes and imagine being a weaver woman living all alone in the desert southwest with a pet fiber goat.
There aren’t many Navajo weavers left like Glenmae, the story concludes. “And there’s only one goat like me, Geraldine.”
Much as you remind me of my Beatrice, Geraldine, I believe that there is no other goat quite like you. Every goat I have ever known has been one-of-a-kind.
I hope you can see why I love this book.