A straw goat in Sweden is famed for being illegally set alight – and someone just torched its ‘little brother’

A Swedish city plagued by the poor situation of having its festive straw goat continuously burned down has suffered another year of disaster, after it was reported that the straw goat’s “little brother” had been torched in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Gävlebocken, located in Gävle, hasn’t had much good luck since it became a thing in 1966. The main goat – still standing at the time of writing – has only survived the Christmas season on just 18 occasions.

Unlike Guy Fawkes, burning down the straw goat is Very Much Illegal and not something the people who put in the hard work of installing it every year want.

Yet for most of the years Gävlebocken has existed, it’s been burned down or otherwise destroyed by members of the public.

In 1976, it was hit by a car and in 2001, it was burned down by an American tourist who thought it was a perfectly legal thing to do (it wasn’t).

Four years later, it was reported that it was set on fire by a flaming arrow, fired by arsonists apparently dressed as Santa Claus and a gingerbread man.

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Webcams were installed in 2009 to prevent vandals, except they were later taken offline by a denial of service attack, in which time the goat was burned down.

This year, local media report the second smaller goat installed alongside Gävlebocken – which was introduced in 1986 – had experienced major burns, but was not destroyed completely.

Police are yet to find a perpetrator.

Responding to the news, the official Gävlebocken Twitter account wrote: “Oh little brother. My heart feels heavy when I see that someone has attacked you.

“Leave us goats alone!”

The burning of the smaller goat has received mixed reactions, however. Some appeared genuinely upset by it coming to harm:

Yet the majority expressed their delight at the destruction:

Whether Gävlebocken will suffer the same tragic fate remains to be seen.


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