Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Street Art or Urban Monster?

So is this a piece of creative street art or an urban monster?

Alan Garner has put together a collection of old folk tales, title appropriately enough Collected Folk Tales. Yesterday on G+ we had a great discussion about what kind of world it might be where such a creature existed. Then I started to read Alan Garner's book (which I'd picked up because of fond memories of Weirdstone of Brisingamen). The first story in the collection was this one.


There was a hill that ate people. The Rabbit's grandmother told him never to go near it. So the Rabbit went to the hill, and shouted, "Gobbleknoll, swallow me! Come, devour me!"

But Gobbleknoll knew the Rabbit and took no notice.

Later that day, a group of travellers came by, looking for a place to shelter from the rain, and Gobbleknoll opened his green and ferny lips, and the travellers thought that they had found a cave. They went in, and the Rabbit slipped close behind them. But the hill felt hairy pads on his tunnels, and before the Rabbit could reach the middle, Gobbleknoll threw him out, and the grass shut.

The Rabbit went and hid behind a tree, and a few days later a hunting party arrived at the hill just before night, and Gobbleknoll opened again. This time the Rabbit used magic art, and took the shape of a man except for his ears, which he tucked down his shirt, so that they would not brush against the roof and make Gobbleknoll sneeze.

He went down long and horrid passages, until he came to the hill's stomach, and there were the remains of all the victims, and some who were not  yet dead.

"Hey hey hey!" shouted the Rabbit. "Why don't you eat? You leave the best! Here's a delicious heart. What's wrong with that?"

Gobbleknoll set up a dismal howling, for it was his own heart that the Rabbit had seen. And the Rabbit knew this, and took out a knife, and stabbed the hill dead. The ground split, and the blue sky lit the deep hollows, and the living came out and wept before the Rabbit, and wanted to give him power and ricxhes. But all the Rabbit would take was Gobbleknoll's fat, and he went home with it on his back, and he and his grandmother were fit to burst from it for many days. 

Buy the book here

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