A lord of a manor is dying and plans to leave his manor and fortune to a goat, who is a demon in disguise. I'm wondering how can I make this idea feasible. Being a demon, the goat could influence the lord into bequeathing his lands to him. However the lord's family and distant family wouldn't agree. I know there are people today who leave vasts amount of money to animals so that they are looked after but I'm not sure how this would work in a medieval setting, whether someone could act as the lord on the goat's behalf.

For the goat demon's motivations. The land the property sits on and surrounding areas used to be the habitat of his brethren so he wants to take it back. Also he wants the land so he can do goat demon things such as eating grass, sacrificing people etc.

It's tricky since he wants to keep the manor and the people (servants, workers etc) around, he just needs the top of the hierarchy changing. It's difficult to imagine people willingly working for a goat. Can you help me?

Magic and supernatural elements exist in this world albeit not very well known by the populace.

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    $\begingroup$ Even though people talk about leaving money to a cat, often what happens is the money is left to a trust fund whose trustees are responsible for spending the money in the cat's best interests. $\endgroup$ Feb 5, 2020 at 1:02
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    $\begingroup$ As a notorious medieval grifter, I will selflessly volunteer to be the goat's honest and honorable guardian. I will, of course, need the fully-furnished and manned manor house to do the tedious work of spending --I mean overseeing-- the goat's fortune and ensuring that the goat is well-cared for out in the stable. What could possibly go wrong? $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Feb 5, 2020 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ Exactly what @PatriciaShanahan said. I don't think anyone has ever successfully willed anything to an animal. Trust funds as we understand them today didn't exist in medieval times. You could probably arrange something similar to a trust fund, but it would probably be an honor-based promise, and not legally binding. $\endgroup$
    – cowlinator
    Feb 5, 2020 at 4:05
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    $\begingroup$ @LiJun: It was a horse, Incitatus, and it was a consul, not a senator. But, alas, in the end he didn't make it, because emperor Caligula was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guard. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 5, 2020 at 7:04
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    $\begingroup$ @LiJun You're mixing Caligula consul horse with Alexander the Great Bucephalus $\endgroup$ Feb 5, 2020 at 9:39

4 Answers 4


Animals don't have souls therefore they lack any "being" status (during medieval period). They are nothing different than forks or harrows.
And even Francis of Assisi was a lover of animals he was an rather preaching to not harm them rather then give the status as humans.

If you look at medieval "chain of being" (or even later from XVIII century) all animals are below humans. In XXI century in small european country of Poland tries to give animals "some" rights are frowned upon and taken as a heathen try to defy Will of God.

I would assume that this is the reason the demon inhabit a goat. It's souless so it can act as a vessel. But as the demon influenced the lord it can influence anyone else. So just influence a child, make lord state it's his and make him the heir.

Also please not that your view on inheritance law is either strongly USA or France influenced. Which came from french law stated under Napoleon Bonaparte. In medieval the law was vastly different and varied from city to city or region.

  • $\begingroup$ >In XXI century in small european country of Poland tries to give animals "some" rights are frowned upon and taken as a heathen try to defy Will of God. What are you going on about? Need some sources as according to my knowledge there are "some" animal rights in Poland (pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/…) $\endgroup$
    – Bartors
    Feb 5, 2020 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ wiadomosci.dziennik.pl/polityka/artykuly/… tries to ban fur farming, 2017 minister of Enviroment about illegal detroy of Wilderness gazetaprawna.pl/artykuly/… $\endgroup$ Feb 5, 2020 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ And exactly where do they say that human rights "defy Will of God". The first link is about fur farming and how a poseł responds with "Your are stupid" to an activist and follows with "I have your arguments in arse. You are a fool" which may be unparlamentarian but has nothing to do with God. The second one is about Minister Szyszko saying in a debate about Białowieża forrest that we will continue with cutting trees because he does not follow "wester ideology that humankind is the worst enemy of nature but that of Catholic church in which nature serves humanity". $\endgroup$
    – Bartors
    Feb 5, 2020 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ Furthermore it is worth noting that the "deforestation" was not in the national Park area of the forest but in the "normal" forest which is, form a economical point of view, just timber manufacture. Anyway, the whole business with Białowieża has nothing to do with animals and their rights. As for fur farming Norway have banned in only recently while it is legal in most other countries (even european) so please stop being such oikhophobe. $\endgroup$
    – Bartors
    Feb 5, 2020 at 14:20

Have the Lord leave the land to a "promising successor" who is either a cultist under the goat demon's thumb,the goat demon in disguise or someone weak minded who'd listen to the goat's council. Maybe use trickery or rewriting history (lying) to make the goat into a holy animal blessed by a saint or some such.

Essentially the key here is making sure the goat has an easy time of it. So assuming it is intelligent it can work out a plan for this. Additionally if in the will the land the goat wants is declared "The Lord or the King's Land" it can be expressedly forbidden to enter by law. Which is great if the goat wants to do its dark rituals away from prying eyes.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer. I like the irony in blessing the demon as a holy animal :) $\endgroup$
    – Syphoenix
    Feb 5, 2020 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Syphoenix No problem. :) $\endgroup$
    – Obelisk
    Feb 6, 2020 at 20:35

The property is technically left to a caretaker or inheritor on the condition that the goat is cared for until it dies of natural causes

But this goat never will.

It's in the patsy's interest to defend the arrangement from inheritance challenges because this goat is going to die any day now, and when it does they're going to cash in big time. The goat obviously doesn't die in a natural goat lifespan, which prevents the patsy from spending any money not in direct service to the goat's needs or the defence of the property from other claimants. Meanwhile the goat practices unholy things in secret.

Decades later, the patsy dies of old age, having spent themselves and all their resources in pursuit of that payday, a tragic victim of the sunk cost fallacy. By this time, the property and surrounding area sit abandoned, the locals scared away by the violent clashes over inheritance, and rumours of lurking demons.

Only the goat remains.


I see a couple of problems with the described situation.

The first one is the legal situation, as in "is it possible for an animal to have property". Given that animal trials existed in medieval period and that the domesticated animals were treated in such trials as "members of the household" and "normal subjects to the law" (A video about animal trials) it may be feasible to create a world where a lawyer could argue that if the animal is subject to the law, then it should as well be subject to the whole law, not only the criminal law and thus be able to inherit. Now, as commenters above have pointed out you will need "a trustee" as the goat is unable (from a strictly practical point of view) to administrate property. As the goat is a demon the trustee might be possessed, which is good for the goat, while trying to manipulate the populous into thinking that the whole situation is just something to do with stupid law and is in fact iuridical fiction. This could cause the servants and other people to accept the situation.

Now, second problem. You will need to kill of pretty much everyone that might have a claim on the property. Why? Because in medieval times "bigger army diplomacy" was an accepted way to resolve a conflict.

I do believe that possessing a child of the owner and making that child the sole heir is way simpler.

  • $\begingroup$ I understand, essentially the goat just needs someone to act as lord for him and will not mind or answers its presence. $\endgroup$
    – Syphoenix
    Feb 5, 2020 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ That would be the simplest and most reasonable way of achieving your goal. Although writing out the whole iuridical process with arguments both pro and con, and then adding a layer of human reactions could be quite interesting (if you are into it). $\endgroup$
    – Bartors
    Feb 6, 2020 at 8:39

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