Sudan's famous goat 'wife' dies
The best-known goat in Sudan has died months after being "married" to a man in the South Sudan capital, Juba, the BBC has learned.
Local elders ordered a man found having sex with the goat, later called Rose, to "marry" her last February.
"The idea was to publicly embarrass the man," says Tom Rhodes, editor of the Juba Post, which first ran the story.
The BBC's story of the "wedding" caught the public imagination and became one of the best read internet stories.
Rose, black and white, is believed to have died after choking on a plastic bag she swallowed as she was eating scraps on the streets of Juba. 'Sense of humour'
After the marriage, Rose had a male kid - but "not a human one" - Mr Rhodes said, hastily.
The "husband", Charles Tombe, said he was drunk at the time but has since refused to comment on the issue. The kid is owned by Mr Tombe.
More than a year after the BBC story was first published, it is still picked up by various web forums and being emailed across the world. Recently it got more than 100,000 page views for five successive days.
Over time, it has received several million hits - making it historically one of the biggest-hitting stories the BBC News website has published.
A Google search uncovers more than 1m different web pages, based on the same story.
Mr Rhodes, a Briton who helped found the Juba Post in 2004, was shocked when he learned how many people around the world had read the story his newspaper had originally published as a short, light-hearted account and not even bothered to publish on its website.
"Wow - what have we done? We have triggered a monster," he said.
He said that he had seen that it occasionally returned in the BBC's "Most read stories" and was worried that he would have trouble with South Sudanese, accusing his paper of tarnishing the image of the region - now trying to rebuild after 21 years of war.
But he says he has not come across any such anger.
"It doesn't portray Sudan in a bad light - it shows the Sudanese have a sense of humour," he says, referring to the elders' original punishment.
He has, however, had people come up and say to him: "Oh, you're the goat man."
Mr Rhodes explains that South Sudan remains a conservative society.
If a man is caught sleeping with a girl, he is ordered to marry her immediately in order to save her honour and that of her family, he says.
This was the basis for Mr Tombe's punishment, after the goat's owner found him with his animal and complained to local elders.
They ordered him to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50, at the time) and also named the goat Rose.
Afterwards, he left with the goat, not quite hand-in-hand, more hand-in-hoof, to his home in the Hai Malakal suburb of Juba - and not in Upper Nile State as we originally reported.
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...ca/6619983.stm