Goblins: Conclusion

This story is part of the Twenty-Two Goblins unit. Story source: Twenty-Two Goblins, translated by Arthur W. Ryder, with illustrations by Perham W. Nahl (1917).


So King Triple-victory came to the monk Patience with the body on his shoulder. And he saw the monk along in the dark night, sitting under the cemetery tree and looking down the road. He had made a magic circle with yellow powdered bones in a spot smeared with blood. In it he had put a jug filled with blood and lamps with magic oil. He had kindled a fire and brought together the things he needed for worship.

The monk rose to greet the king who came carrying the body, and he said: "O King, you have done me a great favour, and a hard one. This is a strange business and a strange time and place for such as you. They say truly that you are the best of kings, for you serve others without thinking of yourself. This is the very thing that makes the greatness of a great man, when he does not give a thing up, though it costs his very life."

So the monk felt sure the he was quite successful, and he took the body from the king's shoulder. He bathed it, and put garlands on it, and set it in the middle of the circle. Then he smeared his own body with ashes, put on a cord made of human hair, wrapped himself in dead man's clothes, and stood a moment, deep in thought. And the goblin was attracted by his thought into the body, and the monk worshipped him.

First he offered liquor in a skull, then he gave him human teeth carefully cleaned and human eyes and flesh. So he completed his worship, and then he said to the king: "O King, fall flat on the ground before this master magician in an attitude of reverence so that he may give you what you want."

And the king remembered the words of the goblin. He said to the monk: "Holy sir, I do not know that attitude of reverence. Do you show me first, and afterwards I will do it in the same way."

And when the monk fell on the ground to show the attitude of reverence, the king cut off his head with a sword, and cut out his heart and split it open. And he gave the head and the heart to the goblin.

Then all the little gods were delighted and cried: "Well done!"

And the goblin was pleased and spoke to the king from the body he was living in: "O King, this monk was trying to become king of the fairies. But you shall be that when you have been king of the whole world."

And the king answered the goblin: "O magic creature, if you are pleased with me, I have nothing more to wish for. Yet I ask you to make me one promise, that these twenty-two different, charming puzzle-stories shall be known all over the world and be received with honour."

And the goblin answered: "O King, so be it. And I will tell you something more. Listen. When anyone tells or hears with proper respect even a part of these puzzle-stories, he shall be immediately free from sin. And wherever these stories are told, elves and giants and witches and goblins and imps shall have no power."

Then the goblin left the dead body by magic, and went where he wanted to.

Then Shiva appeared there with all the little gods, and he was well pleased. When the king bowed before him, he said: "My son, you did well to kill this sham monk who tried by force to become king of the fairies. Therefore you shall establish the whole earth, and then become king of the fairies yourself. And when you have long enjoyed the delights of heaven and at last give them up of your own accord, then you shall be united with me. So receive from me this sword called Invincible. While you have it, everything you say will come true."

So Shiva gave him the magic sword, received his flowery words of worship, and vanished with the gods.

(700 words)