Every year, the people of Gavle, Sweden, erect a huge Yule goat made of straw. And most of those years, arsonists manage to burn it down before Christmas. It's happened again, early Saturday morning.
The massive straw goat, which this year had been beefed up with flame retardant liquid, has long been a target for arsonists since the first one was erected in the central Swedish city in 1966.
Police authorities were alerted at 4am that the 13-metre tall Gävle goat (Gävlebocken) was on fire and emergency services were quickly on the scene.
"We are out looking with patrols and as usual keeping an open mind on this matter," Fredrik Nilsson of the Gävle police told Aftonbladet.
I'm so sad my friends that I have to leave you now! Thank you for this year! Take care and have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!— Gävlebocken (@Gavlebocken) December 21, 2013
The last post on the Gävle Goat's blog is quite emotional. It begins:
My dear friends!
Unfortunately, I have to make my last post for this year. I´m now writing to you from goat heaven.
I´m so sorry that I already have to leave you! I had really thought and hoped that I would celebrate Christmas with all of you and get to go with you into the new year but unfortunately it was someone who did not think so! Last night just after four pm it got really hot. Someone set fire on me, ugh! terrible!
The goat has been torched at least 24 times in its history. A record was set in 1977 when the goat started to burn only six hours after it was completed. Local authorities and the goat committee are asking for the public to come forward with any information on the perpetrators. -via Boing Boing
(Image credit: Flickr user Johan Karlborg)