Chapter 12 – The Plan!


Twenty minutes later, back in the den, Hob was fed on the old pasta. He didn’t complain, though he liked jam tarts better – but for a goblin food is food! Have you ever trained a goblin to concentrate on one single thing? No? Neither had Jerry and Jacob.

“Now, Hob,” Jerry began, “you hold this elf shoe nice and tight and think about going home, like this.”

Jerry demonstrated, holding the shoe tight to his chest. He closed his eyes and said slowly, “I want to go home. I want to see my mother, I want to see my brothers, I want to see my Gran … Okay, Hob, now you.”

Jerry handed the grimy goblin the tiny green shoe. Hob sniffed and frowned. He held the shoe just like Jerry showed him and started, “You want to go home, you want to see your mother, you want to see your brother, and you want to see your Gran …”

Jerry shook his head.

“No, Hob, you want to go home. You want to see your brothers Tob, Sob and the rest of them. You!” Jerry wondered how long this was going to take.

Jacob wondered, “What if the magic works now and we don’t need moonlight?”

Jerry gave his brother a puzzled look.

“What’s wrong with that? If he disappears now in a puff of smoke, are you going to cry?”

“True,” Jacob agreed. “Now, Hob, try again. Think of your family.”

Hob mumbled, “But I don’t like Bob. Do I have to say Bob?”

Jerry laughed. “No, just think of all the nice things you miss at home. Try to picture them in your head.”

Hob nodded in agreement. “Yes! I do want to go home, I want a big, big pot of goblin guzzle, I want to bite elves and frighten stupid fairies. I want −”

Jacob laughed again. “Goblin guzzle? What’s that, Hob?”

Hob looked surprised.

“You throw everything into the big black pot on the big fire, mix it up and guzzle it down.”

Jacob turned to the goblin, thinking, ‘Why did I even ask?’ But he said aloud, “Great, Hob, that’s fine. Keep saying things about your home and hold that shoe nice and tight.”

The boys were not at all sure the ‘Beam me up while clinging to an elf shoe’ thing was going to work, but they were determined to try.

“Midnight it is then.” Jerry shrugged his shoulders.

“But how do we keep him fed and quiet until then?” Jacob was worried.

“Let’s teach him some games!” suggested Jerry. “Perhaps we could teach him cards, or boy, girl, fruit, or something like that.” He frowned. “But he can’t read or write, so we’d better try him on cards, or snakes and ladders, I’m sure he can throw a dice.”

Jacob went up to Gran’s house to look for suitable old boxes of easy games while Jerry asked Hob a bit more about GoblinLand.

“Do you play games, Hob?” he said.

“Games, what is that?” responded the goblin.

“Well,” said Jerry slowly, “if you’re in the woods you can play hide-and-seek. One person, or goblin, counts to a hundred and everybody finds a good hiding place. I bet you goblins play that.”

“Oh yes, we play that game.” Hob grinned in his odd way. “We call it Bite You, Goblin, and when you find a goblin you can bite him.”

“And do you count to a hundred while all the goblins hide?” asked Jerry, interested.

Hob frowned at this question as if unsure, then said, “We shout a goblin shouting song – Get Away, Get Away, Get Away.”

“That figures.” Jerry gave up on the games. “What about special days? Do you have special days like we have birthdays, when you get presents and have parties and things?”

Hob shook his head and looked a bit miserable.

“What is this presents?” he asked.

Jerry felt a bit miserable too, and then he said, “We’ll give you a nice present before you go back, then you’ll see.”

Jerry felt better when he told Hob this, and even better when Jacob marched in with an armful of old games.

“I had to tell Gran we’d have a games night tomorrow and then she can join in. I told her we’re sorting out old games first, but I don’t think she believed me.”

Jerry rolled his eyes. “We’ll just have to hope she did. I love Gran, but she often seems to guess things, if you know what I mean.”

He began sorting through the games Jacob had brought.


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