Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A tale of two girls and a goat-napping August 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 3:03 PM
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This goat is not to be confused with the heisted goat. Rather this goat was photographed at the Kasota Zoo and is used for illustration purposes only with this blog post.

IF YOU HAVE NOT yet heard the tale out of Mankato about the young stepsisters—we’re talking under age 10—who stole a goat from a zoo in the middle of the night and were caught walking down a street in their pajamas with the goat, then click here.

While this story could have ended not-so-happily, it did. The girls and the goat are fine, although the stepsisters could be in trouble with their parents, or the law.

After lying to the police about how they got the goat, the 6 and 7-year-olds eventually fessed-up and the truth was uncovered. They’d been to a birthday party at Sibley Park Zoo earlier in the day and apparently decided they just had to have a goat.

I heard this story on the 10 p.m. news Monday and laughed and laughed and then laughed some more.

I know, maybe I shouldn’t be laughing. Stealing is wrong. Lying is wrong. But in these days of news stories about natural disasters, war, murders, unemployment, a depressed economy, scandalous politics and more, you have to appreciate an imaginative caper like two kids stealing a goat from a zoo, in their p.j.s, in the middle of the night.

And sometimes you just have to view life with a Betsy-Tacy-Tib perspective.

Betsy, Tacy and Tib, for those of you unfamiliar with that trio, are characters in a series of children’s books written by Mankato author Maud Hart Lovelace and published between 1940–1955. The three, based on real-life friends growing up in Mankato (Deep Valley in the books), get into all sorts of mischief.

The fictional trio made quite a mess in the kitchen when they mixed up “Everything Pudding” combining ingredients like bacon grease, vinegar, onions, sugar, red pepper and more.

Another time they cut each other’s hair.

Betsy cuts Tacy's hair in this snippet from a mural by artist Marian Anderson in the Maud Hart Lovelace Children's Wing at the Blue Earth County Library in Mankato.

And once the three ventured into Little Syria for a picnic lunch. There they encountered a goat. They didn’t steal the goat. He stole from them, grabbing their picnic basket and scattering sandwiches, cookies and hard-boiled eggs in all directions.

Yup, sometimes you have to laugh, whether it’s at the antics of a goat in a book of fiction or the antics of real-life goat thieves who seem like they could have stepped right off the pages of a Betsy-Tacy book.

FYI: The girls with the Betsy-Tacy-Tib mischievous streak and the goat were apprehended along Carney Avenue. Coincidence or not, one of the books in Lovelace’s series is titled Carney’s House Party. And Carney’s surname is Sibley.

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE on this story about the stepsisters who stole the goat from Sibley Park Zoo in Mankato? Share your thoughts by submitting a comment.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


6 Responses to “A tale of two girls and a goat-napping”

  1. ceciliag Says:

    I love the girls who stole the goat, what i want to know really is how did they get THAT FAR! into the zoo and out of the zoo in their jammies with a bleating goat. Did they take a rope with them? I desperately want the whole story!! c

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I have the exact same questions. Has anyone found a news source that answers these questions about the goat caper?

  2. I had heard this story being discussed yesterday morning on a twin cities radio station and went right away to the Mankato Free Press article about it. What a hoot!! The imagination of theses two girls to first be able to come up with a plan the way they did and then to actually carry it out and have a story in place to cover their actions. I am impressed. Not that anything was right about what they did but the fact that they could plan something so well at that age. I do hope they do not have a life of crime ahead of them but a life in stand-up comedy I can see in their future.All the laughs that those two gave to so many people yesterday was amazing.A book from them about the consequences of crime at such a tender age could make them lots of money!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Stand-up comedy. Never thought of that. Excellent idea.

      And, yes, you have to appreciate their imagination, even if everything they did was, oh, so wrong.

      I hope they get a gig on some talk show.

  3. Sara Says:

    I was actually surprised that I had never attempted something like this as a child. I heard they actually put it on a dog type leash. Most of the goats at the petting zoo have collars on. I can only imagine what the officer thought while asking them about the goat! How did he not burst out laughing?

    *and for the question about how they got into the zoo, its always open and the fence is only about 3 or 4 rails high. I took photos of a wedding party at Sibley Park last year and actually climbed into the goat pen in order to get a better picture of the wedding party! haha 😉

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Sara, I almost could picture you doing something like this.

      Thanks for explaining the set-up at Sibley Park. Sounds like it would be quite easy to kidnap a goat, even for two young girls. You just go right ahead and keep climbing in goat pens to get the photo. Anything (almost) for the perfect shot. I understand that.

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