The Gävle Goat
Since 1966, the town of Gävle in northern Sweden has yearly built a giant straw goat to celebrate Christmas. And arsonists almost yearly set the goat on fire.
The vandals and policemen engage in an annual struggle to decide whether the goat will live or die, and the vandals usually seem to win out. Here’s a timeline mentioning some of the more entertaining incidents in the goat’s history:
- Stig Gavlén came up with the idea of a giant goat made out of straw. The goat stood until 12:00 p.m. that New Year’s Eve, when it went up in flames.
- The goat survived. Until this year there was no fence around the goat and it was popular for children to play hide-and-seek inside and around the goat. Also, it is said that one night a couple made love inside the goat. As a result, in subsequent years the inside of the goat has been protected by a chicken-wire net.
- The goat burned down only six hours after it was assembled.
- Tired of arson, the project is abandoned. Schoolchildren build a miniature. Their little goat was kicked to pieces.
- The goat collapsed because of sabotage.
- A car crashes into the goat.
- The goat was burnt even before it was erected. A new one was built and fireproofed. It was destroyed and broken into pieces.
- Nothing happened to the goat this year, but gamblers were for the first time able to gamble on the fate of the goat with English bookmakers.
- The Southern Merchants’ goat survived New Year’s Eve and was taken down on 2 January. It is now stored in a secret location.
And, yes, the 2008 goat was also burned.
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