Monday, December 25, 2017

The True Meaning of Narblesnard.

Seasonal greetings, Burrowers!


I hope that wherever you are, your holidays of choice are or have been bringing you spiritual fulfillment and/or really freaking neat stuff.

I am at least distantly observant of the Yulesmas, if only because I can't fit any evergreen larger than a shrub through the front door of my burrow. But I do have my own rituals. I can't say that it's a goblin holiday, since I haven't really met any others of my kind- probably because I'm usually hiding. Then again, if there are any other goblins in the Upstate mountain valleys, I can't help but imagine that they must celebrate it as well.

After all, our lives depend on it.

You see, a goblin is not the most secure creature in its environment. The rivers we enjoy living next to can flood, or the weather can trap us indoors with snow, ice, or mud. The mountain-folk can occasionally make sport of hunting us down with their brand new Weatherby hunting rifles, or accidentally run us over when we attempt to cross a street. And any pet larger than a large mouse is a natural predator to us, in sufficient numbers and with the necessary viciousness of course.

But all of those pale in comparison to the danger of the squirrels.

Masters of the trees overhead, possessed of an unnatural speed and jerkiness of movement, and obsessed with gathering food in these trying months, squirrels have spelled the doom of many a hapless goblin. Either by ravaging our food stores, or attacking us directly in their rush for supplies, only woe betides one who sees those black eyes and massive incisors during the first ghost of winter.

Or so I like to imagine, to make my ideas make more sense. Like I said, I've never seen another goblin.

At any rate, a great deal of trial and error went into developing the perfect response to the hostilities of nature's most godless nibbling-machine. The answer, it turns out, is appeasement. It required cutting almost all of the acorns out of my diet, but by leaving a trail of them leading away from my territory, deep into the woods where a mighty cache of the nuts can be found, a goblin can live in peace for the most trying of weeks before the beginning of the long cold. You just have to get used to the sounds of savage fighting, if more than one squirrel followed the trail to the distraction.

That time of huddling in one's burrow is an excellent opportunity in which to try brewing any new tea recipes you've discovered on the backs of recycled boxes that year, or to finish stitching patches into the heels of your decade-old socks. Or, if you're feeling particularly daring, try taking just one or two of those acorns you secreted into your person, and roasting them in your oven made from discarded terracotta pots and votive candles.

But in the end, the sounds of chittering, narbling, and rapid munching comes to an abrupt snard of an end, and the quiet of winter can set in at last. This is Narblesnard, and it is a moment for collective sighs and relief among all goblinkind.

Of course the bushy-tailed devils don't actually hibernate, so it's back to basics every week when they wake back up to forage some more. But the spirit of the holiday is to remind us all that we can survive. That the future brings with it new potential for good, as well as for terror. This feeling is reinforced by the fact that, after the day of Narblesnard, the hundreds of convenience stores in town finally stop playing those infernal songs about jingling bells and unwheeled chariots drawn by mutant snow-deer.

So, Blessed Narblesnard to all!

May you survive the New Year, so that we can do it all again next time.

And the next time.

And the next time...

And the next time.