As goat as it gets


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It's time again to stroll around the Czech farm. Today we take a peek in the goat pen. There we find a goat, koza, which also means a she-goat, nanny goat; her mate kozel - he-goat, billy goat and the kids - kùzlata.

While the female goat - koza is a synonym for girlish silliness in Czech, the male goat - kozel symbolises lechery, as in the expression starý kozel - an old lecher, an old goat.

The goat is said to be picky when it comes to food, that's why Czechs say je mlsný jako koza - he's as choosy as a goat. Ordinary grass is not tasty enough, but what grows on the vegetable patch might be more interesting. I'm sure all goats would be over the moon if the following idiom were to come true - udìlat kozla zahradníkem - to make the billy goat a gardener. I believe you can imagine the consequences... When somebody is referred to as kozel zahradníkem, it means he is not the best of managers. And although goats would undoubtedly enjoy their idea of gardening, they are thought to have little knowledge of it, as the following idiom suggests: Rozumí tomu, jako koza petr¾eli - he or she understands it as a goat understands parsley. They do not understand it at all. When goats have been eating what they shouldn't have been, they get bloated, and one way to help them is to make them keep moving. Hence the expression honit nìkoho jako nadmutou kozu - rush somebody like a bloated goat. It means never to give a person a moment of peace, to order them around.

We've covered the eating habits of goats but goats themselves can fall prey - to wolves, for example. Here is one idiom about wolves and goats: Chtít, aby se vlk na¾ral a koza zùstala celá - to want the wolf to eat its food and the goat to remain whole. It means to please both sides in a difficult situation, something similar to having your cake and eating it at the same time. But you can make a mistake and pick the wrong solution - trefit kozla - to hit the billy goat. The metaphor probably refers to hunting where instead of shooting the deer, for example, you miss and hit your own billy goat.

And finally, one idiom where the goat carries no symbolic meaning, but was chosen purely for the purpose of rhyming. Já o koze, ty o voze - "I'm talking about the goat and you are talking about the wagon". I'm talking A and you're talking B, it is a misunderstanding.

By the way, I tried to find out whether 2003 was the Year of the Goat or the Year of the Sheep in the Chinese horoscope. I found out that either is correct as the original Chinese word can mean both. So, I wonder how "separating the sheep from the goats" would translate into Chinese...

Anyway, our time is up so until next time, na shledanou.


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