The Dancing Ballerina Goat
Elspeth Ella Macintosh, or Ellie as her friends and family called her, was five years old when she fell in love with dancing. Her papa, Sir Cullen Fergusson Macintosh, was the second son of Lord Macintosh, from Staffa Isle, Scotland, and had come to the Americas to make his fortune. A stern-looking black haired goat with gray hair on his face and ears had married well to Lady Elisa Tavian, a deep chestnut haired and gentle goat. As the years passed and much to their sadness, Ellie was to be their only kid.
Sir Macintosh was a distinguished businessman and very well thought of in the business world. His one soft spot was Ellie. He loved her and tried not to spoil her too much. So when Ellie begged, pleaded and begged some more for dance lessons, her father reluctantly gave in as he believed that this was just a phase that his precocious daughter was going through, and really nothing to worry about. He comforted himself and his wife with the understanding that every young goat from a respectable and well to do family should know how to properly dance, and that the ballet lessons were to be among the other dance lessons and not to be to be excessive. However, Ellie’s heart was set on learning ballet and her daddy could not bear to see her sad. Ballet was not the proper dance for respectable young lady goats. Everyone knew that ballet was performed by wild and improper young lady goats. No good would come of that behavior and reputations would be ruined.
Ellie grew into a glorious, dark cherrywood red Nubian doe with long graceful ears. Her coat was silky and soft as butter on warm bread. She had large expressive brown eyes with beautiful dark eyelashes and was extremely graceful. She was flawless, a magnificent example of a young goat. All the other goats said so which made her family very proud, and the icing on the cake was that Ellie was quiet, polite, and well-mannered to the elder goats. But Ellie had a secret. She had her secret since she was five years old. She had told no one but her very best friend, Elizabeth (Lizzy), after swearing a blood oath at the precious age of seven that she should tell no one of Ellie’s secret. (Lizzy and Ellie still carried the little scar just above their front left hoof from the dull blunt knife they had used nine years ago. It had been the gardener’s and the only one that they could find.)
She told no one else of her secret. She kept it hidden, safe and protected, in her heart. Ellie’s secret would change her life as well as her family’s life. She dreamed of being a ballerina, of dancing on the tips of her hooves, leaping high in the air and twirling in tighter and tighter circles to glorious music before a standing room only crowd. It was absolutely unacceptable, utterly unheard of in the goat world. It went against everything she had been taught. Being a ballerina was not an acceptable dream for a young goat of Ellie’s station in life. Ellie was to be a dutiful wife, a mother, and take her place in goat society.
At the exclusive goat school, Rolling Green Meadows, Ellie was taught how to be a proper young goat, how to walk, to speak, and finally to take her place in goat society. This was her parents’ goal for her and it was also the goal of every other parent for their young goats. Ellie was to become exactly what her parents and the goat community expected her and the other young goats to become. If Ellie’s secret were somehow found out, her family would lose their standing in the goat community. That could never be allowed to happen and her family would never permit it. Ellie would be confined from everything, from life itself, until she was a very old goat.
In spite of the dangerous dream Ellie nurtured, she would rise very early in the morning and sneak out to the field to practice. In the pre-dawn hours before the rest of the goats awakened, she would stretch and warm up her muscles. Ellie had done this every morning since she had decided to be a ballerina. She used a section of cedar split rail fencing as her barre. Since she did not have a sprung or floating floor all she could do was the stretches and some barre work and these she did faithfully. After her barre practice, she would slip back home to where her family was just waking up and slide quietly back into the bland life she had.
Her life dragged on without any ripples until the crisp fall morning she finished her workout and turned to see her best friend standing there. Lizzy motioned for Ellie to come quickly. She hurried over and asked, “What’s the matter? You looked really upset.” Lizzy took a quick look over her shoulder and turning back, her eyes as big as saucers, whispered to Ellie, “I think your parents know something is up with you.” Ellie who had continued doing toe points slipped and stumbled. “Why do you say that?” Ellie whispered back as she quickly looked around for anything out of the ordinary. Lizzy leaned over to Ellie and said very quickly and softly, “I heard your parents talking to my parents late last night when I was supposed to be upstairs in bed. They told my folks that they were suspicious that you were doing something you were not supposed to be doing. They said they were going to talk with you this morning and find out what was going on! It has to be your dancing! What else could it be?” While Lizzy had been talking her words falling out and over each other, Ellie was developing a funny feeling in her tummy. The longer Lizzy talked, the worse Ellie’s tummy felt. Ellie realized with a shock that she had been found out. Her whole body shook for a minute or two. Then everything settled into place and gathering her courage, she knew what to do. “Lizzy”, Ellie said with a tear forming in her eyes, “it’s time for the plan.” Lizzy started crying as they hugged each other.
Several years ago, the girls had devised a plan that hopefully would protect Ellie from the wrath of her parents should they ever find out about her being a dancer. For many years Ellie had been saving her 4-H, birthday and Christmas money hiding it in a tin can under Lizzy’s front porch. She and Lizzy had searched out a dance school that would take Ellie and a place where she could live. It would be hard but she was positive she could do it. She had always kept a packed suitcase for just such a time, and she and Lizzy would update the suitcase from time to time. But they really never thought they would actually have to put the plan into action or that it would come to this so soon. The suitcase was at Lizzy’s home under the front porch as well. Ellie would explain her dream in her goodbye note to her family while Lizzy was on her way to retrieve the suitcase and the money. They would meet at the train station and Ellie would buy her ticket after boarding the train. They would both have to hurry as the train would be leaving in less than an hour. Lizzy would then take Ellie’s note and leave it in the family mailbox after the train had left. Afterward, Lizzie would go about her morning as if nothing was wrong. The girls also had promised to stay in touch and see each other as often as they could.
It would not be easy, Ellie thought. However, following your dreams never was she realized. She was determined. Ellie would be a ballerina.