"Kate had never in her life seen such frightful deformities -and the goblins had never seen such a hideous dress." -Clare B. Dunkle, Labyrinth, Swish smack! Whip crack! Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat! Work work! Nor dare to shirk While Goblins quaff and Goblins laugh Round and round far underground Below my lad!
Sonmi received something rather special from a good friend not long ago, a present in tome form that is really beyond splendid. It is a 1939 copy of the book ‘The Goblin Market’ by Christina Rossetti, illustrated by none other than Arthur Rackham, one of my favourite illustrators! The prints are beautiful, the paper soft and thick, it is a joy from beginning to end.
It is a tale of tricky Goblins and two young sisters – one of whom, Laura, is tempted by the fruit at the Goblin market, and swaps a lock of hair for some, only to find herself physically wasting away afterwards. Her sister Lizzie goes to find the Goblin market herself, and buy some fruit, for the juice of it may save Laura’s life. The Goblins take her penny and then fight with her, trying to force her to eat their wares, but she will not allow them to succeed, and eventually they give up, flinging the penny back at her. She runs home and Laura licks up the fruit juices all over Lizzie (odd I know, but you do what you must in these situations), then goes into convulsions. She will either live or die that night, and a happy ever after is provided as she comes round and the two sisters, having learned a valuable lesson, skip off into the sunset.
I think there’s a lesson for all of us too in the following lines –
‘We must not look at Goblin men,
We must not eat their fruits
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots.’
(I like this little chap at the end out of all the small illustrations dotted throughout the book.)