The next time a journalist of a foreign persuasion wants to stir up trouble by having a go at the haka, remind them about Shenkin the Goat.
Shenkin (as if you didn’t already know) is the mascot of the Royal Regiment for Wales. And he got to parade around Millennium Stadium before the match against the Wallabies last weekend.Embed from Getty Images
If seeing a goat in a coat with some silverware on his horns isn’t going to rile the passions, I don’t know what will.
Seriously, these things matter when you invest the time and thought and generosity to understand them. They can be doors into history and culture.
Understanding why a regiment has a goat as a mascot, for example, takes you right back into the imperial history of Welsh regiments: the first mention is from 1775 when they were keeping an eye on the American colonists. Another goat served useful by bleating a warning of an attack when they were in Crimea in 1855.
By the way, the goat is an official member of the regiment, with a rank and privileges and duties like everyone else. The Queen supplies the goat from her own herd, and he gets looked after by his very own Goat Major (who is actually a Lance Corporal).
And he gets a ringside seat at the bloody rugby. So who’s a silly old goat now?