I flipped open a page of this irresistible, yellowed little relic and found myself up til midnight stuck to the pages. I can’t help sharing some of Reginald Bakeley’s wisdom with those of you who are unfamiliar–
In the foreword, Clint Marsh describes Bakeley “was a man who, unlike other writers on the subject, had no wish to go further into Faerie, but was determined to fight tooth and nail to get out.” Okay, intrigued.. Naturally, I wanted to know how to goblinproof right away. I was totally caught off guard by the detail of this little book:
“Aside from the peril presented by their eggs, which they do indeed begin to lay after a short while, goblin hens are notorious for their tempers, which are nearly as quick as their razor-sharp beaks.”
Bakeley recommends making sure your chicken coop is not built on a ley-line (a channel of energy which runs along the surface of the earth) and re-routing the ley-line if you do have the misfortune of settling over one. A goblin can be tricked into moving on or, in the best of cases, simply freed from the coop to allow him to complete his natural migration. Simply keeping the coop neat and tidy deters new goblins, who prefer a dark, dank mess. But these Faeries are no casual matter:
“Nothing spoils a carefully prepared breakfast like the cracking of a changeling egg. Whilst so many of these dangerous ovoids look and feel perfectly normal, they possess repulsive qualities seldom noticed until mealtime.. the Ungerslud family of Shrophsire was the unlucky recipient of a goblin curse via changeling eggs, for the morning after the eggs were eaten, the lot of them awoke with their legs n backwards, as they remain today. Young Ettie Ungerslud went on to become a source of local pride by clinching the National Backwards Hopscotch Championship later that year, but surely you can imagine that life is not all fun and games under such a curse.”
Never fear, aspiring chicken coopers! After a quick perusing of the chapter, you’ll have all the information you need to protect yourself and you can “go to bed early, my happy friend, and rise at dawn to gather eggs from your freshly goblinproofed chicken coop.” I did just that, minus the chicken coop, and had a ridiculous dream about joining the town council so I could advocate for getting revenge on the goblin that turned my legs backwards.
Read my interview with Bakeley here: