Here is another of the timeless tales from my anthology.
As a special Easter treat, from this Friday 26th March – until next Tuesday 29th March, you will be able to download your very own free ebook copy of Goblin Tales from your nearest Amazon outlet…
The Siren’s Song
In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), Bejuss the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, and finally, curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo) are visited by a beautiful stranger.
Spring was almost over; summer was just around the corner. Byz and Mous had just finished the annual late spring clean of the goblin brother’s home. As usual, Neo had absented himself, leaving all the housework to the others while he took baby Ylesse and the love of his life, Miranda the mare, for a picnic in the southern meadow.
Make sat on the large bough outside their front door, contentedly smoking his bestest briar pipe with not a care in the world. He closed his eyes and puffed away, happily blowing honeysuckle flavoured smoke rings that rose slowly through the old oak’s leaves on the faintest of breezes.
Glob was seated on his chair beside the window, nodding off with Bejuss the lisping raven perched on his shoulder. The old raven closed his one eye and spread his wings to absorb the sun’s warmth. For the moment all seemed well in the world; everything was as it should be.
Then the sweetest, most seductive voice ever heard, sang softly to Make from beneath the old oak’s bough. He listened, totally entranced by the voice’s beauty. A strange smile broke out across his old leathery face. His mouth slackened letting his bestest pipe drop onto the bough, bounce once, and fall to the ground. His heart beat faster, dangerously out of control. The power of the beautiful voice increased its hold over him. His eyes began to revolve in their sockets and expand to three times their normal size. Threatening to burst as they now bulged dangerously, his eyes endlessly changed colour from brown to red, to vermillion, to bright yellow and green, and back to their normal shade of brown.
As the voice’s magical hold over him increased, he drooled constantly and shook violently as he lost all physical control. Poor Make jumped up and down, soiling himself. He tore at the sides of his mouth with his fingers, stretching it open to twice its normal size exposing his sharp teeth. His tongue extended further than normal and wildly lashed from side to side as he began babbling like an idiot. He danced like a goblin possessed, now completely under the voices’ spell. Doing an increasingly fast giddy jig, he eventually tripped and fell towards the ground, landing on his head, knocking himself out on one of the oak’s thick roots.
When he came round a few moments later, he found his sore head was being gently cradled in the lap of the most beautiful young goblin he ever imagined could exist. She tenderly kissed his bruised forehead as she carefully picked dead leaves, twigs, snail shells and squashed slugs from his hair. “There, there my handsome one,” she soothed, all the while gently stroking his cheek, “come with me my sweet love.”
Now totally under her spell, try as he might, poor Make could not get out the words to answer her. All he could do was nod his head in agreement, while at the same time uttering a string of complete babble. “Yarnner, nya, nya – greeuuw springldo, myak, myak,” was all he managed to say as he got to his feet, gently aided by her, still dizzy from his fall.
Glob heard her deadly invitation and Make’s incoherent babbling. Quickly sensing extreme danger he rushed to investigate with Byz, Mous and Bejuss following nervously close behind. Scrambling down to the ground, Glob immediately took charge, snatching his brother from her arms. Calling for Mous and Byz to fetch strong twine to bind Make tight, he drew his razor sharp blade.
Avoiding her hypnotic eyes, he commanded her to go back to where she came from. She began to sing again, this time concentrating on Glob. But he had already stuffed moss in his ears, knowing full well what she was. Brandishing his blade, he prodded its sharp point at her in his attempt to drive her away with one hand while hanging on tight to his still dazed brother Make, who was desperately trying to walk towards her in a trance.
Her bewitchingly beautiful green goblin face twisted into a deadly mask of pure hatred. Her eyes flashed in anger as she hissed at Glob. Giving him a black withering look, she headed north through the wood, knowing that sooner or later her chosen victim would have no choice but to follow. Glob quickly tripped Make and then fell on him, forcibly holding him down until Byz and Mous returned. Between them they quickly bound him tight until he couldn’t even move his little finger. This situation had only occurred once before in Glob’s long life. Poor Make was suffering from the dreaded mating frenzy inflicted upon him by a deadly goblin siren.
“Wot’z wrong wiv him then?” Mous wondered out loud. Job done, Byz had completely forgotten everything as usual. He now sat playing happily with a snail as it slithered along on the ground. He burst into tears when Bejuss suddenly snatched it from him with his twisted beak and swallowed it whole, shell and all.
“Right Mous, goes n fetches Neo. We’s needs him – go on sharpish now, run. Make’s life depends on us gettin him cured!” Mous was about to yell at Glob for being so bossy, and then thought better of it when he saw the terrible madness increase in Make’s normally peaceful eyes. Swallowing his resentment he quickly ran towards the southern meadow in search of Neo.
Within the hour, thanks to Neo and Miranda lending a helping hand via the stout rope tied to her halter, gibbering Make was hauled unceremoniously up through the oak’s branches to the front door of their home. Between them, Make’s brothers rolled him inside and locked him in the largest cupboard they had. “Yarnner nya, nya, greeuuw springldo, myak, myak!” Make repeated angrily from deep inside the cupboard, still delirious thanks to the siren’s song.
Glob shook his head, greatly concerned for his brother’s welfare and sanity. “It’s as I’s feared brothers, Make gots the mating frenzy. He’s gots it bad. Unless we’s gets him helps, he’ll go mad, or worse – escapes n goes ter her ter willingly die at her hand!”
Neo snorted, shook his head and began to say, “sounds likes he’s already mad…” before Glob cut him off.
“Neo shuddup n listens! I’s only seed this once affor. Once every thousand summers or so, a goblin siren is born from a bad acorn on the ancestor oak wot falls ter the ground, armed wiv all the deadly weapons she needs, wiv a strong desire ter entice wiv her voice. Under the law writ down a long time ago in the pages on the great book, all bad acorns mus be destroyed. Only the normal ones for eatin n the royal ones, which is picked n stored away till a new mother on all is needed ter be born is allowed. It’s as likely the wise council n our mother Hermione mays not know this ere one is wandrin free in the world yet. Each spring the wise council checks the new stocks on acorns thorough like. But sometimes a badun gets missed, cos thousands on acorns grow in the ancestor oak’s great branches. Once she’s charmed her victim, whenever she calls him he jus cants helps hisself. He mus go ter her. Then when she’s finished playin n tormentin, she kills! None on us, daresn’t lets him out on our sight for a moment. We’s mus guards him wiv our lives. I’ll summon Yathle ter takes Mous ter tell Hermione quick sharp. She’ll wants ter send out huntin parties ter chase this ere siren down affor she sets orf another wiv the frenzy. Meantimes Neo, go gets Brilith please, we needs her advice n magic ter cure Make.”
Before he set off on his long horse ride to the east to fetch Brilith, Neo had one last question. “Why dids the frenzy only strike Make down thens?”
Glob gathered his wits before he replied. “It only affects one goblin at a time whens she sings her huntin song. It gets worse if she touches him as she dids when she kissed the bruise on his bonce n strokes his cheek. The terrible need for her she invokes in her victim – makes no mistake, is the worstest yearning a goblin can ever experience, more than wots we feels when we sees jewels! Some survives if they is tied up like we’s jus did wiv him, most don’t. Tenerate, once the siren has charms him wiv her song n touched him, there aints nothin he can does about it on his own. He needs serious help.” Neo frowned and nodded before quickly vanishing through the door.
Hours later when Neo returned with Brilith, Miranda almost collapsed from the sheer exertion of the long hard ride there and back, completely lathered in sweat. While Neo tended to her every need, Brilith began her work to mix a magic elixir to restore Make’s sanity and composure. Glob and Byz waited patiently, prepared to administer it as they sat on him in the cupboard. But when Brilith handed it over to them Make refused to open his mouth, still gibbering through clenched teeth.
Then Bejuss came to the rescue. He pecked Make hard on the end of his long pointed nose, making his eyes water, causing him to momentarily open his mouth, at which point Byz held his brother’s bleeding nose, while Glob quickly poured the evil tasting concoction down his throat.
“Well my dears,” Brilith began, as she observed Make’s face for any sign of a reaction to her elixir, “all we can do now is wait for it to work. I’m hopeful it will reverse the siren’s magic. Meantime you all need to stay here sitting on him and guarding him. If it looks like he will try to escape, then I’m afraid you must hit him on his head to knock him out. Be ever watchful my dears, he will have bouts of incredible strength as the elixir does battle with the siren’s magic.”
After making sure Miranda was revived from her exhausting trip, Neo came back inside and joined his brothers in the cupboard by sitting on Make’s head. He broke wind from time to time, filling the confines of the cupboard with a disgusting smell, making all inside retch and hold their noses, while Byz continued to hold down Make’s feet and Glob sat on his belly.
In his frenzied state, Make squirmed and wriggled threatening to unseat his brothers. But the one thing he could not do, even during his most violently strong moments, was break free from the strong twine that bound him tight. “Yarnner, nya, nya, greeuuw springldo, myak, myak, fiddgloo glimik!” Make’s muffled voice angrily pleaded from beneath Neo’s bottom. “Grango radik imlik – please!”
Brilith’s face suddenly lit up. “It’s working my dears, its working,” she said, smiling with great delight and deep satisfaction.
“Snifflglog! Neo gets yer smelly backside orf me face can’t yer, n stop doin that, it stinks summink awful!” Make yelled from beneath his brothers. At that very moment, Mous burst through the door with word from Hermione that she had sent out search parties looking for the siren.
With Make almost cured, Brilith now turned her attention to assisting in the hunting down of the siren. But first she had to find out the siren’s name for her magic to work. She asked Yathle to carry her and her sacrificial goat. She had chosen simpleminded Byz for the task because he was likely to be the most immune to the siren’s voice, and she asked Bejuss to be her spy. Her plan was to chain Byz to an oak when the siren’s killing ground was finally located and then retreat to a safe distance, ready to strike. Hermione’s hunters eventually found the spot, but dare not go any further.
The siren soon appeared and began to sing to the tethered simpleminded young goblin. Byz smiled his simpleton’s smile. She showered him in kisses as she released him from his chains and walked hand in hand with him to the centre of her killing ground.
Keeping his one eye on his master, Bejuss listened intently to their conversation. “What’s your name my handsome,” the siren gently asked while she ran her fingers through Byz’s hair.
Byz smiled his simpleton’s smile again as he looked at her beautiful face. “Me name’s Byzantine Du Lac if yer please. Buts yer can calls me Byz if yer likes,” he replied, smiling and giggling, not for a moment realising just how much danger he was in. “Would yer likes me ter plays yer a pretty tune for a pretty lady?” he asked as he reached inside his jerkin and produced his reed pipes.
The siren nodded her head and smiled her sweet but deadly smile. As Byz began playing a beautiful melody, Bejuss drew closer while the siren’s attention was held by the music Byz played. When he finished playing, he smiled at the siren and asked her what her name was. Bejuss strained his ears in anticipation from his hiding place in the branches overhead.
“Why do you want to know my name my handsome?” the siren asked suspiciously as she warily looked around and about her.
“Cos I’s likes yer n I’s wants yer ter be me friends,” Byz said in all innocence.
The siren fixed him with her hypnotic eyes while smiling sweetly at him and gazing deeply into his eyes, trying to read his every thought. Finding nothing but a jumble of mental visions of spiders, honeycomb, jewels, flowers, snails and slugs, she relaxed. “I’ll tell you my name my handsome one if you’ll give me but one gentle kiss.”
Byz blushed and smiled. He closed his eyes and puckered his lips. The siren pressed her lips to his, tasting spider spit. Byz had just swallowed one by accident. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand after spitting out the foul taste. “My name is Heliotrope my handsome gentle Byzantine,” the siren cooed as she tenderly stroked his ears, making him moan in ecstasy, despite still tasting the foul spider spit on her lips.
Bejuss silently flew to Brilith and whispered the siren’s name in her ear. Brilith whispered back her thanks to the old raven, rewarding him with a fat juicy slug, and began conjuring a spell to end Heliotrope’s deadly power.
Byz lay deliriously happy with his head on Heliotrope’s lap as she smiled sweetly at him. She softly blew in his ear and tenderly kissed the end of his long pointed goblin nose. Then, with her new victim laying totally relaxed, suspecting nothing, she opened her mouth to deliver her killing song. But nothing happened! Brilith’s spell had not just ended all her evil powers, but it had also changed her into a normal young goblin girl.
By the time Brilith, Bejuss and Byz returned back to the brother’s home, the simpleton had totally forgotten everything about Heliotrope, or even where he had been. Make was back to his normal happy self, quietly blowing honeysuckle smoke rings, enjoying his bestest briar pipe.
And what was Heliotrope’s fate? Hermione took pity on the young goblin female and employed her as her personal maid and confidant, keeping a close eye on her. She never allowed her to leave the confines of her royal apartments. Not that Heliotrope presented any further danger. But still, she was not about to take any chances with the effects of her new daughter’s obvious feminine delights on any more of her goblin sons. Heliotrope may have lost her deadly power, but she was still a very beautiful and desirable young goblin. If she was allowed to roam freely she would doubtless turn the heads of all the goblin males she came in contact with, causing totally unnecessary problems in the future.
Hermione had already experienced enough trouble in that department when her late sister Sherazid lured a mate to her bed. After all, according to the law it was she, Hermione Fingletook, who was the one and only mother of all Goblindom.
Make and Byz didn’t stand a chance did they?