Somewhere east of the sun and west of the moon, goblin settlers sail off to found a new society. Will life there be propserous and happy, or nasty brutish and short?
Listen to the Goblins' Story.
Read the Goblins' story for yourself.
Listen! We have heard stories of spear-bearers and mighty princes, treasure-givers and troll-slayers, but tonight our tale takes a different turn. Tonight we tell of the first founders of our commonwealth, coming courageously across the sea.
Long years ago lived a scrawny, scrappy goblin, blessed with the name Bjorn by his parents, and Bjorn the brainless by everyone else. Bjorn barely survived his babyhood, bringing accidents wherever he went. Neighbours nudged each other, murmuring that the boy was bad luck. His father was a fisherman, earning his keep in the land of the whales, and when he was grown, Bjorn the brainless braved the boats alongside his old dad.
True to form, in less time than it takes for a fox to finish a feeble chicken, Bjorn the brainless brought disaster on his father and all his fleet. One morning when heaven’s candle burned high in the sky, they sailed over the horizon, and vanished from their village. The gossips guessed and the widows wept that they have been sunk by a storm, or whipped by a whirlpool. Whatever the cause, everyone believed that they had made a meaty morsel for the monsters of the deep.
Then months later, dawned a day which no one dreamt of, when the battered boats of Bjorn the brainless bobbed once again in the bay. They had gathered neither gold, nor glimmering silver, but instead, rubies of rumour. They had pillaged only promises, tales of an empty island, ripe and ready for goblins to explore. In better times, such traveller’s tales would perhaps have enchanted only children, but there had been a bad business in the village. A group of goblins had quarrelled with the king, and were keen to cut ties.
So one day, when spring sunlight sparkled on the water, a band of adventurers set out to find a brave new world. These were our ancestors, as mottled and mixed as shells and stones on the seashore. Some were the rich and resentful thanes who had fallen out with King Freystein the Flabby. They came with gold, and goods and goats, more goats each than an ogre has warts. But others were poor and pitiful, shivering in their rags when the wind blew and the rain lashed down. They quit their country because they had nothing to lose.
Of course, there were green goblins and purples goblins, although in those dark and distant days, purple goblins were mostly servants. Generations before, the once proud purples had seen their homeland overrun by conquering greens. The remaining rump of purples were forced to do the foulest and filthiest jobs. In that time, before the great Loki the Liberator, nobody ever saw a green goblin scraping mandrake muck or shovelling cess-pits. Likewise the feebleness of females was taken for granted, they were treated as lowly and lesser for all purposes. Sadly and simply, male goblins and green goblins demanded deference, and the best of everything, whilst females and purples made manage with the meagre scraps.
Remember too that this was an age of religious strife. Hatred burned in many hearts for the sect of the Spoon-Carriers, back then a deviant and despised doctrine. Amongst our founding fathers and mothers, there were goblins who rejected religion, such as Gunnar the Gobby, who denounced the Spoon-Carriers as annoying nutters, worse even than bog-standard believers. Equally, there were devout worshippers in the old way, like Freya the Frantic, horrified by the heresy of the Ladle-Lovers’ practices. Atheists and the faithful joined forced to stigmatise the Stirring Ones.
So the ships carried a cargo of rich and poor, green and purple, male and female, plus a plethora of opinion on spiritual matters. A jumble of goblinhood, jangled together in the jam of the sea-jars, floating on the tide. When their boats beached on the new shore, they fought to found a new nation, not cumbered by kings.
But how could goblins be governed without a royal ruler? Bjorn the Brainless brought the idea that the land’s discoverer should lead, but this thought was as welcome as a troll-turd in a casserole. Nobody had left their lands and loved ones to live in a place governed by a witless wally.
After much anger, it was agreed that the goblins would elect a leader. Yet simmering resentment seethed, as the powerful players who planned their voyage to escape a king, saw no need of a goblin-leader in the guise of royalty, a king in all but name. In the end a deal was done, and it was agreed that the Goblin Leader should govern with a great council of Goblin Elders. It would be the Council which created laws to keep the peace and good order. But the battered and beleaguered goblins who were poor protested, were the Goblin Leader and Council together to be trusted? What if they struck a plan to strip the poor and powerless of their rights?
In the old country, complaints were quietened with clubs and swords. But in this new land, goblins needed each other to thrive, and beating down the bothersome voices would buy disaster when hands were needed to build shelters or bring in the harvest. So it was settled that there would be High Laws, which would bind both the Council and Leader alike. Eight High Laws were agreed and engraved upon a rune stone, but the problem of the ninth niggled and nagged at the community. Many factions fought for their final High Law, but none gathered enough followers to force consent. Finally, Eikki the Elk-Whisperer suggested that each new Goblin Leader should select a law from the list, and it would last as the ninth High Law for the length of that leader’s reign.
So the pioneers of Foundland forged piece by piece the place we know and celebrate. Their rough, gale-battered homes grew into our village, their first healer’s house, herb-enclosed, stood where Helgi the Helpful now stirs his bubbling brews to free us of fleas. They were the original bathers in the beautiful, bronze pool by the waterfall, they lifted their voices in worship around sacred stones where no goblin songs had soared before, and they bartered for berries and baskets in the clearing where our Trading Hut now stands.
So this sacred night we celebrate our ancestors, and the happy, haplessness of Bjorn the Brainless, which brought us to this Brave New World. Skol!