Saturday Goblin by Terry Whidborne for Goblin Week
He stood, as he had always stood, at the entrance to the Goblin King’s vault, guarding the gold. He’d sworn, on his eternal life, to guard it forever.
In 1896 an archaeological expedition set out to discover the Valle dei Re dei Goblin, believed to be found deep within the Dolomiti in Italy. The expedition was lead and financed by Conte Francesco, an amateur archaeologist, who had discovered ancient documents purporting to be the truth regarding Goblin Clans and their golden hoards.
Conte Francesco gathered together a small team in Rome, including three Mountaineers. After taking trains from Rome to Milan and then on to Bergamo, they began their trek into the mountains.
Weeks later, tired and hungry, they found the hidden valley: Valle dei Re dei Goblin.
The documents had proven to be extremely accurate. At the far end of this valley they discovered a petrified soldier guarding the entrance to a rocky cave. By the look of his tarnished armour and gaunt face, he had died a long time ago of starvation. He was a goblin.
When Conte Francesco looked closely at the cave’s entrance he spotted some goblin graffiti…
SatDay woz erE
Chuckling at the long gone goblin’s bad spelling, he entered the cave first as was his right as the leader. Within they found the finest of goblin gold: filigreed jewels, beaten bowls and plates, knives and forks. As they loaded up their backpacks a sense of unease wove its way through the group. No one could pinpoint the source, but all gathered gold quickly, unanimously deciding to camp further along the valley.
Later that night as they lay alongside a dying fire, an eerie voice was heard calling endlessly for food.
“Meeeeeeeat! Want fresh meeeeeeeeat!”
Despite their fear they all fell into an exhausted sleep. When Conte Francesco woke the next morning, the three Mountaineers had disappeared, along with their backpacks and the food. Only the original four expeditioneers remained. Cursing the untrustworthiness of country folk, Conte Francesco assured the rest of the team that he knew his way back through the mountains.
All day they trekked through the valley, never seeming to reach the end. Again they had to camp for the night. Again the same plaintive wail for food could be heard.
“Meeeeeeeeat! Want fresh meeeeeeeeeat!!”
Leaving two on guard, Conte Francesco slept an uneasy sleep, full of nightmare wars, strange creatures battling each other. He woke with the sun to find he was alone. The other three had gone, leaving him with his own pack of gold.
All day he walked. No water. No food. He walked endlessly along the valley carting his gold and his dreams.
Days later he was found, rambling and naked on a walking track in the mountains. His talk of goblins and gold had him sent to a local Abbey, to be cared for by the monks. He never recovered his mind.
Years later a travel diary was discovered after a landslide in the Dolomiti. It contained the above story as written by Conte Francesco himself. The monks were not forthcoming with details of his stay with them. They would only say that God looked after the feeble of mind.
He stood, as he had always stood, at the entrance to the Goblin King’s vault, guarding the gold. He’d sworn, on his eternal life, to guard it forever. The sunlight hit a patch near the cave’s entrance underneath the graffiti the Conte had read aloud…
aNd still iS
Copyright January 2014