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Pedro lived in a small Canarian village near the outskirts of Mount Teide National Park in Tenerife. Pedro’s father and mother led a simple life caring for a number of goats and chickens in a small enclosure at the side of the house.

Recently one of the goats had given birth to two babies but unfortunately one kid was weak and delicate. Pedro was given the task of looking after the smaller one whose name was Candelaria, named in honour of the patron saint of Tenerife.

It was not long before Candelaria or Candy, as she became known, followed Pedro everywhere and they quickly grew to love each other. Pedro found an old dog collar which he fastened around Candy’s neck. This enabled him to take her outside the enclosure for short walks. During the next few months Candy’s spindly legs became stronger and her little body gradually filled out.

One day Pedro heard his father and mother discussing plans for a birthday party, a celebration to be held in honour of Pedro’s grandother’s upcoming 80th birthday. To Pedro’s horror, his father announced that Candy was going to be the main attraction on the party dinner table. The event was going to take place the following week.

Pedro couldn’t believe his ears and his mind simply refused to accept the idea.

The next day at school, Pedro told his best friend Mario the whole awful story and they put their heads together to think of a solution.

“I have an idea,” said Mario. “We can take Candy up to the haunted barn and hide her there with some food and water.”

The haunted barn was part of a deserted old farmhouse higher up the mountain slope with a tumbledown appe-arance. It was said that a mountain witch lived there and the boys were a bit appre-hensive, but the thought of Candy on the point of elimi-nation urged them on.

Two days before the party Pedro rose early and left the house sneaking Candy out of the enclosure. He fastened a length of rope to her collar and set off toward Mario’s house. After a few whistles outside in the garden, Mario joined them.

The two boys climbed slowly up the hillside until they reached the haunted barn. They approached tentatively, but all was silent giving them confidence. Pedro pushed open the old wooden barn door, with Mario close behind him. They spotted some old straw on the floor and an upturned bucket which Pedro filled from the water chute running down the mountain at the back of the barn. Mario scattered some raw vegetables adding a few chunks of bread, and they tethered Candy inside the barn.

The next day Pedro’s father, Juan, went outside to catch Candy but she appeared to have vanished into thin air.

When Pedro returned from school his father was in a bad mood and thoroughly questioned him about the disappearance of the little goat, but to no avail.

Time was running out and after some thought Juan decided to order a turkey from the local butcher instead.

His wife, Maria, promised to prepare the bird using her own special recipe.

“It will be fit for a Queen,” she said.

The birthday celebration arrived and the house was filled with appetizing smells. Fresh flowers were placed on Maria’s hand-made lace tablecoth along with her best crockery and cutlery.

At three o’clock the guests started to arrive and were welcomed with a glass of local vino and a plate of juicy olives. Grandmother was seated at the head of the table and everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday.’

Suddenly there was a loud knock on the door and Pedro was sent to answer it. On the doorstep stood an old lady dressed from head to toe in black, complete with a brimmed hat and silver cane.

Pedro stepped back in horror thinking that the witch of the mountain had mysteriously appeared out of nowhere. Juan came forward to welcome the visitor who pointed her cane at him and said, “you have left your goat in my barn.”

Juan was taken aback. “Pedro, what is this about?” he bellowed.

Pedro shivered in his shoes but chose to tell his father the truth. Apparently the old dog collar around Candy’s neck with its’ small metal plate had their address engraved on it.

“You deserve a good hiding for this,” said Juan.

Pedro shed some tears and said, “I could not bear to think of us eating Candy for dinner.”

Grandmother spoke up, “don’t spoil my special day son, please. Pedro saved Candy’s life by hiding her away in the barn.”

Juan backed down and invited his visitor to join them and partake of the delicious looking turkey on the table. The old lady readily agreed.

Later that day Pedro was allowed to go to the barn and bring Candy home. The little goat was so happy to see him and they ran all the way down the hill together.

Pedro’s father was waiting for them and said, “take good care of your goat and hopefully one day she will provide a profitable supply of milk and maybe one or two babies into the bargain.”

Later on when Pedro went to bed he offered up a prayer to our Lady of Candelaria, thanking her for saving Candy’s life.