The Gift (Day Two)

The Story of the Goblin Who Poisoned the Christmas Pudding

Once upon a time, there was a goblin.

(“You don’t know what the story is about,” says Alana. “You’re stalling.” “Just listen,” says Peter. “Okay…” says Alana.)

Once upon a time, there was a goblin, and he…

No, once upon a time, there was a family.

(“Make up your mind,” says Alana. “I have,” says Peter. “I meant to say it’s about a family.” “Alright,” says Alana, “tell me about the family.”)

Well then, there was a family, and the family had two boys and two girls. The boys and the girls were all grown up and had moved away from home, but because it was Christmas they were coming back to their parents’ home.

(“Where did they live?” asks Alana.)

The oldest boy lived…in a shoe-box, perched on top of a hill. It was a giant shoe-box, left there one day by a giant who bought a pair of shoes and then ran away, causing an earthquake and destroying three towns in his wake. The earthquake caused a housing crisis, and so the oldest boy couldn’t get a house anywhere, but then one day he found the shoe-box and it was just the right size for him to live in, so he grabbed all his belongings and stored them inside the shoe box and lived there at night, working very hard all through the week in the hope that one day he could buy himself a better house, or, failing that, a giant packing case somewhere.

The oldest daughter, who was next in age after the oldest boy…

(“What was her name?” asks Alana.)

The oldest daughter, Tiffany, who was next in age after the oldest boy, Frank, lived on the next hill in a giant doll’s house, where she lived with her husband Bill. Frank wasn’t married yet; he had a lot of girls who came to visit him in his shoe box, but none of them ever stayed. So he often spent time with Tiffany and Bill, and when Tiffany had a child, a little girl called Suzy, Uncle Frank often came over, sometimes to see Suzy, sometimes just to get out of his shoe box. Tiffany would tease Frank about his life in the shoe box, but she loved her brother very much and had always been close to him.

The youngest girl, Sasha, lived several hills away from Tiffany and Frank. She lived there with her husband…Hector.

(“Hector?” asks Alana, giggling. “Why Hector?” “Because his parents liked the name, of course,” says Peter. “Now stop interrupting.” Alana stops.)

She lived with her husband Hector…inside a car. The car was all that they could afford for now, but they hoped that one day they might own a shoe box, or a packing case, or even a house. But Sasha was happy not living too close to Tiffany or Frank. She saw them at Christmas and that was enough for her.

The fourth child, Sam, lived further away still. He and his wife Wendy were about to have a baby and so they had bought a house…

(“A house?”)

They had bought a house, because Sam had made a lot of money selling giant packing cases as a form of low-cost housing. As a result, they owned a two bedroom house at the foot of a hill and were very happy there.

And so: it was Christmas, and the whole family were returning to their parents’ house to celebrate together. It was the only time when the whole family saw each other these days, what with Sasha and Sam living so far away. They were not such a close family any more, but they always united at Christmas, particularly because they all loved their mother’s Christmas pudding.

There was something magical about that pudding. The saddest person in the world could eat it and they would feel happy. If you had the ‘flu, you could eat that pudding and you would feel better. If you were in the middle of an argument with someone, one bite of the pudding would make you the best of friends. And so, even though the children were not close during the year…

(“Except for Tiffany and Frank…”)

…except for Tiffany and Frank, they would always come together over that pudding. Whatever differences or disagreements they had, the pudding would always appease them.

(“It sounds like an amazing pudding.”)

It was a truly amazing pudding.

But…inside the hill, near where the parents lived, there was a goblin. Being a goblin, he was wicked, and, being wicked, he delighted in nothing more than to see other creatures be miserable. The goblin had heard the reputation of the mother’s Christmas pudding which was spreading far and wide, and he hated what he heard, because the pudding did the exact opposite of what he liked most to do. Where he tried to bring misery and discord, the pudding brought happiness and unity. The goblin hated the pudding.

And so he formed a plan. He knew that other families on nearby hills were also wanting to get themselves some of the pudding. They made their request and the mother agreed: she would make extra puddings this year and give them to other families on neighbouring hills. This meant that the happiness would spread further than the family our story is concerned with; BUT the goblin worked out that if he could somehow poison the pudding, with a poison that would take away all its happiness and replace it instead with misery, then the goblin could succeed in not only making our main family miserable but also all the families living on nearby hills. The plan was perfect. The goblin only needed to know how to poison the pudding.

Go to Day Three

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