Whilst anticipating that the mysterious creature would leave him presents in exchange for an altar befitted with foode and drink, a clearly deranged child left cookies and milk on his table this evening as an offering to a pagan forest god.
5-year-old Æthwald Meegs apparently was under the impression that the bearded mythological hunter spirit would break into his hovel in the middle of the night to bring rewards for the child’s good behavior over the course of the year.
“I bet if the Great Huntsman really likes these cookies he’ll bring me a new spinning top to play with!” spake the unhinged apostate. “I even gave him gingerbread, and my mama says that’s his favourite!”
According to sources present at the family Mistlemas Eve party, Meegs believes that the barbarian nightrider travels to the homes of all boys and girls whose actions were in keeping with the standards of his mystical sect, whilst he shuns those he deems to be naughty. The gifts he bears, Meegs said, are produced by a clan of dwarves he hath enslaved in a remote northern sweatshop.
“Dost thou think he got my letter? I know he did,” spake the heathen lunatic, naively thinking that sending a letter addressed merely to “Ye North Pole” would somehow end up in the hands of a centuries-old hunter being. “I even left him some carrots for his reindeer, so I bet he’ll give me extra presents this year!”
At ye press time, the cloaked deity had bypassed Meegs’s hovel, instead delivering a new suit of armour to a neighbouring warlord who honored him with ale and human sacrifice.
Behind the story:
In future newsletters, we will occasionally include short blurbs at the end of each story describing what inspired the story and/or the history of what is depicted in the images.
I originally wrote a non-medieval version of this a few years ago, and I decided the Great Huntsman deserved to be resurrected for Ye Olde Tyme News this year. While Santa Claus is based primarily on traditions related to Saint Nicholas, a bishop who lived during the days of the Roman Empire, at least some sources believe his origins may predate Christianity.
Yule is a historical pagan winter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples, and many of its customs have stuck around to become part of Christmas. One such event that was associated with Yule, at least according to Wikipedia, was the “Wild Hunt.” This is a folklore motif that’s present in many different cultures, but basically a bunch of supernatural hunters led by Odin fly around the sky killing stuff. Sort of like an ancient semi-apocalyptic Germanic version of Christmas.
Also Odin looks a hell of a lot like an angry one-eyed Santa:
So Christmas in ancient Germania was pretty terrifying (although not as terrifying as in Iceland, where an evil ogress, a giant cat, and 13 Yule Lads descend from the mountains into the villages and eat people).
All that to say, if you want to keep Odin happy this Christmas, make sure to leave out some milk and cookies.