Today was beautiful, cold and sunny with a bright blue sky and a bit of wind... or that's what the goats thought, anyway. They were so frisky! I went down this afternoon to feed them and when I stepped outside I saw Shanti on the top of the rock, spinning wildly round and round... and round! He was a bit frenzied, really. In front of him a mighty battle was taking place; Pace was on the ground rearing and plunging and knocking Melino, who was on the side of the rock, in the head with as much strength as he could muster. I stood at the top of the hill, enjoying their epic struggle to win the title of "King of the Mountain." Shanti seemed at a loss as to how to help his brother (he always sides with Pace no matter what) so every now and then he would pause in his spinning and jolt forward a few steps, ramming Melino in the behind. The prodigious white goat could not take his attention from his main competetor: the stout brown and white goat with the whispy white beard, and so was obliged to slide down the rock towards certain doom with every blow Shanti gave. Pace rose mightily again and again, Melino always meeting him midway, every fiber of his being absorbed in defeating Pace! Then they heard me giggling... ... quite suddenly they all straightened up and stood still, alert, perhaps wondering what the consequence of my presence might be. Would I pick sides? Join the battle? Decide to fight my own way to victory using my advantage-giving opposable thumbs? Or the worst of all... would I humiliate them all by lavishing hugs, kisses, and heaps of baby talk on their fuzzy wuzzy, itty bitty cutsie selves, shaming them so greatly that none of them would ever be fit as "King?" Then they spotted the three black rubber tubs in my hands, and Shanti gave a joyful bleat. In a split second, they had tumbled off the rock and were standing eagerly by the gate, eyes locked on the dishes. DINNER TIME! There was a momentary truce, as they all concentrated their efforts on taking me down... I hesitantly opened the gate, preparing myself for the inevitable three-goat stampede. Out they poured, surrounding me and looking way too adorabl. As quickly as possible, I set down the food and backed away. They then seemed satisfied that I had been defeated and went back to their previous rivaly, pushing and shoving and casting untrusting glances at the others, even though they were at sepatate dishes spaced several yards apart... Once dinner was over with they each ambled over to the fresh hot water I had brought, sucking it up greedily and smacking their lips with contentment... Then, suddnely, off dashed Pace, wildly, as if he meant to foil Melino by lulling him into a false sense of security, while all along planning to run madly to the top of The Rock, securing his title as "King." Melino was ready, however, and took off in hot persuit. Shanti looked at me for a brief second, as if to say "here we go again" before following the others to assist Pace. This battle, unlike the one before, took place while on the run. There would be short spurts of hard-core headbutting, then long sprints following confusing patterns around the pen... I suppose being a mere human I have no hope of ever understanding their secret goat-warrior ways, so I contented myself with standing by the hayfeeder and laughing at them. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, round and round, up the Rock, down the Rock, back and forth, then suddnely they would gallop up to me (the safety zone) and stand there, breathing heavily for a few seconds, until one began the chase again. Dirt was flying up behind them, the ground was thundering, you could see their muscles rippling under the skin. They surged forward, sometimes Pace would, in a split-secon, turn around and rear up without warning. Melino was often quick enough to leap and dart aglilely around him, but sometimes collided with him, looking most put-out, and even a bit embarassed. These small setbacks only seemed to make Melino more dertemined, and he set off with more power and confidence. For a long time they ran, and ran, and ran... Finally, they all ended up back on the rock, but seemed to have forgotten their original goal, as they all clustered on the top ledge and collapsed, apparently ruling together. They looked over their vast kingdom, taking in eveything and everyone. The only being left on the ground was me, their humble servant, who they expected to refill their hayracks, sweep the floor of the shed, fill up the mineral feeder, haul the ice-filled water bucket up to the garage, and essentially wait on them hand-and-foot. And guess what? I did.