About two hours north of Stockholm a goat stands in the town of GÃ¤vle. Itâ€™s a large goat, a Christmas goat, a straw goat. This goat is a tourist attraction, it is known, simply, as GÃ¤vlebocken. The GÃ¤vle Goat.
A Swedish Christmas tradition accounts for a Christmas goat that also delivered presents. As a small child, the Christmas goat scared me. A lot. It was loud, gruff, and just kind of ugly. Luckily, the GÃ¤vle Goat is less scary and more impressive.
Each year, GÃ¤vlebocken is built, and each year, people try to burn it down. Turns out that a goat made of straw is an inviting target. This year though, there was a new twist as an attempt was made to steal the goat with a helicopter. Someone thought it would be a good idea to steal a straw goat that weighs 3.6 tonnes, is 13 meters high and seven meters long.
The chess game between the potential vandals and the protectors of the goat has become a sort of holiday tradition. Since the first goat was burned down in 1966, 24 subsequent goats have been burned. So far, the 2010 goat still stands, and would make a perfect day trip from Stockholm for anyone doing some last minute European travel planning.
This goat, as you may imagine when people are trying to burn you and steal you with helicopters, has a story to tell. Thatâ€™s why GÃ¤vlebocken has a blog, a Twitter account, and even submits itself to a webcamera. Learn more about the GÃ¤vle Goat here.