In popular mythology, goats are often represented as wicked–agents of the devil or even directly possessed by Satan. There is now an “Evil Goat” game online where kids can use an arrow to guide a goat along a maze, trapping children along the way. Heidi, the little Swiss girl immortalized by Johanna Spyri and a major character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, wants to set the record straight. She ain’t afraid of no goats!
Aside from cavorting with goats all over the Alps, as well as consuming products made out of their milk such as cheese & soap, Heidi was raised on the following 16th century story:
A man is struggling to build a bridge across the Ruess River which cascades between sheer cliffs. Suddenly the devil appears before him and says, “I will build the bridge for you but in exchange I want the first soul to cross it.” The man agrees; a stone bridge appears; now the devil wants payback. As he is greedily awaiting a human, a goat comes traipsing across the bridge and the devil must take its soul instead. The bridge remains standing to this day. However, the huge boulder the devil threw down in his anger has been moved due to highway construction. Heidi hopes the goat’s soul has been taken from Satan and placed in heaven, as a reward for his valiant sacrifice.