Mystery May
Gary the Goat?

Gary the Goat?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 2 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   1.61

     challenging words:    herd, almond-shaped, existence, Fleet-footed, slender, stag, surprising, peered, mystery, lived, streak, feeling, kids, peaceful, farm, flame
     content words:    Fleet-footed Gary, When Gary

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Gary the Goat?
By Colleen Messina

1     Gary lived in a herd of goats on a farm. He loved to run and play with the other kids, or baby goats. They played tag in the warm sun. Gary was fast and light. He could always catch his friends. Fleet-footed Gary won every race!
2     Gary had never been away from the peaceful farm. It was his home. The only sad part of Gary's existence was that he did not have a mother. He knew that something had happened to her, but he did not know what. Gary loved his friends, but he always felt a little different from them. For example, he noticed that his legs were brown instead of white. Sometimes the other goats snickered behind his back. Gary did not like that. He did not understand why they laughed.
3     Gary was also more restless than his friends. Past the goat pen was a big field full of bright flowers. Beyond that was a green forest. Gary often looked out at the forest. He wanted to run through the dark shadows under the trees. The other goats laughed at him. They wondered why Gary wanted to go see the trees. Who cared about trees? They had all the food they needed right in their pen. Gary had a wild streak inside like a tiny flame that could explode at any time. He wanted to run like the wind. Why? The other kids did not seem to want to do that.
4     The quiet boy who fed the goats each day seemed to like Gary best. When Gary was little, he had fed him with a bottle because Gary did not have a mother to feed him. Now that the kids were older, the boy fed them grain and hay. He would scratch Gary's head. He would rub Gary's neck. Gary loved the shy boy who talked to him softly.
5     "I hope you don't mind hanging out in this pen," said the boy. "You might like the forests better."
6     Gary didn't say anything. How did the boy know he liked the forest? After all, Gary had never even been in a forest. He just had a feeling about it. Gary pushed his head against the boy so he would keep on scratching Gary's itchy head!
7     One evening, Gary saw something strange and wonderful. A herd of amazing animals ran across the field. They had shimmering brown coats. They had small tails. They had lovely dark eyes. They were not goats. What were they?
8     Gary felt drawn to the deer, as he found out they were called. His heart jumped when he saw them. Gary did not know why. It was a mystery. The other kids did not seem very interested in the deer.
9     The graceful deer did something surprising. They stopped. They looked over at Gary. Gary looked back at them. Then he was surprised. One of the deer spoke to him.

Paragraphs 10 to 17:
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