The Machen Hobgoblin
So many people are real bumble-puppies when it comes to knowing the difference between goblins and hobgoblins; they fumble and foozle and always get the wrong end of the stick.
Nobody should confuse a hobgoblin with his cantankerous cousin. Hobmen are bright and breezy little creatures always ready to give humans a helping hand and likely to tickle you pink with their antics.
One particular hobman used to hobnob with a family in Machen and his favourite piece of waggery was to eavesdrop as they jabbered. One night he pricked up his ears when the father instructed his son to repair a gap in the mountain hedge the next day.
When the young man awoke and made for the mountain, he discovered that the task was already done, and thought that either he or his father was addled. Returning home to breakfast with his parents, the son spoke to his father of his surprise and both scratched their brows in a baffle.
The goodlady of the house entered the scullery where they spoke, carrying huge helpings of porridge for her menfolk: I seek your hearts through your bellies. Said she. Have my workers washed their hands?
No indeed! wisecracked the hob, as he thrust his soot-black hands down the hobhole in the rafters:
Lie a-bed a-morning
Hands snowy white;
Labour through till dawning
Hands black as night!
Key Contact: Rhymney Valley Tales
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