A Sudanese man has been forced to 'marry' a goat reports the BBC breathlessly, unimaginatively filing the story under “Africa” rather than “Entertainment” or “Agriculture”, or even “Agricultural Entertainment”.
It seems that Mr Tombe, of Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State, was smitten by the silky little temptress as he made his way home one night. Unfortunately for him, no sooner had he leapt the garden wall and consummated his passion than his neighbour appeared through the floor like the Demon King, inquiring with justifiable acerbity as to Mr Tombe’s intentions. To this question the trouserless Mr Tombe found no ready response, and he was hauled off before the local council of elders lickety split.
Mr Tombe was ordered pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to his neighbour, receiving in return the goat, who remains in his possession at time of writing. I can’t imagine that it made a very comfortable addition at the breakfast table that morning, especially if Mr Tombe is already married.
I suppose that we shouldn’t be too hard on Mr Tombe. After all, this sort of thing has an ancient pedigree (cf Aesop’s fable of the Spartan boy and the fox, where to my mind not the least remarkable thing is that the boy planned to eat the fox afterwards) and is hardly unknown in England, either. In some ways it’s an inspiring story, if only because this example of sharia in action will put extra backbone into Welsh support for the War on Terror.
But what about the goat? No-one seems to know or care how she feels about all this. After all, as is so often the way in backward patriarchies like Sudan, she didn’t get any choice in the matter. Who knows - maybe she would’ve preferred the bloke down the street? At least he brought her flowers.
A nanny goat, yesterday. A sad yet undeniably alluring symbol of oppressed womanhood everywhere.