A Hobbity Yule Calendar 2017

Discussion in 'Latest News' started by Pycella, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Pycella Member


    Today, we will look into an important Yuletide tradition, wassailing! Here is a recipe and instruction to get you started, delivered by our Quick Post lass, Miss Ambrinna. Welcome to join our wassailing in Winterhome on 30th December. We will also go wassailing in the Shire and visit different farms there in the beginning of January. Come and join, it is fun!

    Wassail - traditional with ceremony

    Heat a large container of ale or beer, about 3 or 4 pints.
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup mixed spice (cinnamon sticks and whole cloves are also excellent)
    2 or 3 small sweet apples, cut up
    1 1/4 cup pineapple juice
    1 1/4 cup orange juice
    the juice of 2 lemons

    Place over a slow flame; then, before it begins to boil, take off the heat and whip up some cream. Let this float on top of the brew like foam.
    Put in a suitably large bowl (the more ornate the better).
    Now go out to a tree or trees with a few friends (these don't have to be apple trees, since all can benefit from a well-intentioned blessing, but it is traditional to wassail fruit-bearing trees) Wet the roots liberally with the brew. Pass the rest around and when everyone is thoroughly warmed up sing a wassailing song, for example:

    Here's to thee, old apple tree
    Whence thou may'st bud and whence tho may'st blow
    And whence thou may'st bear apples enow.
    Hats full, caps full, bushel, bushel sacks full, And my pockets full too!

    Lift your glasses to the tree and shout "Huzzah!" as loud as you can.
    Lithea, Rubysue, Wildigard and 2 others like this.
  2. Pycella Member


    Time for a Yule poem again! This one comes from Miss Lina, and it bears an important message, spreading the true spirit of Yule. She made it initially for winter poetry competition held in 2012. One of my favourite hobbity Yule poems!

    The Grand Yuletide Caper

    A time fer joy and merry moods
    A clear and frosty winter day
    With snowy crystals in the air
    When we will all go out ter play
    No finer time fer children small
    No finer day ter run ahead
    Ter pat some snow into a ball
    And throw it at yer best friend’s head!

    But there is one who walks alone
    Who never comes ter laugh and play
    A lad with ragged and dirty clothes
    His family is poor, they say
    His hands are blue from winter cold
    A hungry look is in his eyes
    And when the others eat their food
    He turns away and softly cries

    A silence falls upon the fields
    The children hang their heads with shame
    Them never met the lad with smiles
    Them never called him by his name
    And up ahead them days of yule
    With garments new, with food and toys
    How long them days would be fer one
    Who never ever saw such joys?

    But even minds of hobbits small
    Are home ter thoughts both sweet and grand
    The children huddle by the fire
    Then draw up an impressive plan
    They’ll run fer home and get their toys
    They’ll raid them pies that stand ter cool
    They’ll find the brightest clothes they have
    And give the lad a lovely yule!

    But there’s a danger to their plan
    A thing ter overcome tonight
    Their parents surely won’t agree
    Ter do what children think is right
    The dog agrees ter help them out
    Ter lure them grownups far away
    He barks and yells and nips their heels
    “There’s goblins, fire and disarray!”

    It works! Their parents storm ahead!
    And so the children go ter work
    They enter all their homes with sacks
    And well inside them go berserk
    With ladders, ropes and sturdy chairs
    Them even reach the highest shelves
    Where food and clothes and presents dear
    Are hid from children like themselves

    A sleigh is dragged into the yard
    It’s filled with sacks and crates of food
    A pony comes ter help them out
    It must have felt that yuletide mood!
    With lanterns lit and cowbells near
    The children hop into the sleigh
    Through laughter, song and merriment
    The pony hauls them all away

    A cold and murky hobbit hole
    Where joy has rarely been around
    A family stares into the night
    When startled by the strangest sound
    A merry song and jingly bells
    A lot of knocks upon their door
    A stream of children flows inside
    And sacks are emptied on the floor

    The family that once was poor
    Are met with riches, joy and song
    But grander still than presents now
    A sense that even they belong
    But oh, a bark outside the door
    And stomps of tired grownup feet
    The children stop and swallow hard
    Their parent’s wrath they now would meet

    With hanging heads and trembling lips
    The children must confess their crimes
    Their parents shake their heads and sigh
    Then laugh and join the happy times
    “We’re proud of yer, our rascals dear”
    “Yer shown us what is right and good”
    “Ter care fer others during yule”
    “Ter share yer riches, clothes and food”

    The stove is lit, the brandy served
    The food is shared by all inside
    The toys are played with all night long
    The clothes are worn with newfound pride
    No grander feast was ever seen
    No presents ever felt so dear
    No lonely more the lad would feel
    Embraced by yule and hobbit cheer


    The text and drawing are from Miss Lina's Burrow.
  3. Pycella Member


    Today's surprise comes from the Green Dragon innkeeper, Barmy Rootknot! Let's take a look what Barmy has prepared for us!


    Dear inn guests,

    To celebrate Yule, I have prepared you a merry drinking game you can try out during your weekly gatherings at the Green Dragon. It is a simple game: just take a gulp of your drink when the following instructions tell you to do so. Should you run out of your beverage, please don’t hesitate to come to the bar and let me fill your pint again, and again, and again, and again.

    Yours sincerely,
    Barmy Rootknot
    Green Dragon innkeeper

    The Green Dragon Friday Drinking Game

    During GDF, always take a gulp of your drink when…

    • someone complains about the ale prices at Green Dragon
    • someone complains about how dirty the old rug is
    • someone tries to put their drinks on Simbo’s tab
    • someone drops their mug on the floor
    • someone drops their instrument while playing
    • someone falls asleep at the inn and doesn’t respond to others
    • someone mentions turnips
    • someone plays the bagpipes
    • someone plays the Drums® (unauthorized)
    • someone has played a very quick dancing tune
    • someone keeps dancing even when there’s no music
    • someone throws a snowball or a rotten fruit
    • someone comes in wearing a hat (and without taking it off… manners!)
    • someone starts to speak something incomprehensible
    • you hear barking, meowing, peeping, chirping, howling, roaring… noises that shouldn’t be heard inside an inn
    • someone starts a rumour
    • someone lights up fireworks INSIDE the Dragon (if this happens, the culprit will have to pay all drinks on behalf of the present inn guests).
    PS. Feel free to entertain yourself with this merry drinking game all year round, not only during Yule.

    PPS. If you need more challenge, you may add more rules to the present ones. Just don’t lose your coin purse during the game! You can always leave your coins to me (for safekeeping, of course).
    Tibba, Lully, Rubysue and 5 others like this.
  4. Simbo Bandmaster of the Songburrow Strollers

    Eeek! My prolonged absence from the Dragon is going to cost me!
    Rubellita, Potty and Pycella like this.
  5. Pycella Member


    Today, we will return to recipes! This one is something for the pork lovers, sent by our Miss Lina. Some sort of pork biscuits, I presume!

    Pork is a big thing during the Norwegian yule, and the mainstay on the yule dinner table is the "holy trinity of pork": Roast pork ribs/pork belly, white pork sausage, and pork patties.

    Most Norwegians are incredibly conservative when it comes to how the ribs should be prepared. It has to be roasted to perfection, of course, with crispy crackling. Outside of that, there is little room for variation in the taste department, and the traditional spices are just salt and pepper. Naturally, every yule, some cheeky chefs want us to try something different; spike the pork ribs with cloves, use orange juice instead of water for steaming, add garlic, etc. etc., but they are usually laughed at and shown the door.

    Similarly, there is little variation when it comes to the white pork sausage. Everyone buys them from the store, they are all fatty, and they all contain certain yule spices like nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice or similar. The biggest difference between them is:
    • how fine-ground the pork meat is
    • how much flour and other filler things are mixed into them
    • how large the sausages are
    Taste-wise, they are pretty similar, although price-wise you often get what you pay for.

    Trimmings are also traditional: Boiled potatoes, often doused with fat from the roasted ribs. Possibly some prunes, apples, mustard, lingonberry jam and/or pickles, and definitely pickled cabbage (either red or regular) (the Norwegian version is a bit sweeter than traditional sauerkraut). Some heathens pour a thin brown gravy over the ribs, but they are also usually laughed at and shown the door.

    The patties, though: Now THERE is where you can add your personal touch to things. You could buy them in the stores, of course, but there are also thousands of local recipes.

    Most patties are rather loose and fatty. I prefer them a bit firmer and with high meat content. So I skip the potato flour/starch and milk that most use, and I add some ground beef to the mix instead. So, here is my own recipe for...

    Pork patties

    This makes between 15-25 patties

    500 grams "medisterdeig" (ground pork meat with ca 25% fat)
    500 grams ground beef meat (I use high-quality, low fat meat)
    2 eggs
    ca 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    ca 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    ca 1/2 teaspoon fine-ground ginger spice
    ca 4 teaspoons of salt (try with 2-3 first if you don't want them too salty)
    Butter or pork fat for frying

    Make sure all the ingredients are at the same temperature (straight from the fridge works). In a bowl, coarsely mix the meats together with a fork, then add the eggs and spices and stir a bit more. You'll want a rather coarse mixture, not too firm. Go easy on the spices if you feel the recipe adds too much, and you can always add more during the testing phase below.

    Heat your pan and add butter or fat. Take a very small sample of the mixture and put it in the pan, fry it until it is edible. Taste and see whether or not you'd like to add more salt, pepper or spice to the mix. After you're satisified, it is time to start frying proper.

    Scoop up tablespoons of the meat mixture, roll them into ball with your hands and put them in the pan, flattening the tops and bottoms slightly in the process (you'll want them meatball-like chubby and thick, not burgery flat). Fry until done, anywhere between 4-7 minutes on each side, depending on how hot your pan is and the size of your patties. Put them on a plate to cool while you fry the rest of the patties.

    Keeps if covered in your fridge for a day or two, or in your freezer until your yule dinner. Enjoy!

    The holy trinity of pork heading for the table

    (Picture from http://norwegianarts.org.uk)
    Tibba, Lully, Wildigard and 3 others like this.
  6. Pycella Member


    Today, we continue our pork-themed weekend with a story I wrote for you; it's about the Old Bloodtusk!

    A scene from the play "An Ode to Old Bloodtusk", performed by the Order hobbits

    Old Bloodtusk: the O(ink)rigins

    It’s Yule again, and the Frostbluff theatre opens. Maybe they will finally perform the play “An Ode to Old Bloodtusk”, maybe not. A group of Shire hobbits have performed it a few times though, so you might be familiar with the vicious boar and the terror it caused in Bree-land and beyond. There are many stories about that horrible hog that once terrorized Sprigley’s farm in Archet. This one tells how Old Bloodtusk ended up in Archet and where it came from. The story takes place before Yule, and it also explains a few other things.

    It all started in Evendim, sometime in late autumn. Those days, there was still pigs and pork in Evendim, unlike today. The tall folks farmed their pigs here and there, where the creatures could roll happily in mud, and enjoy their lives. Autumn was a season loved by the pigs: for some reason, the farmers started to give them more food at that time. It was like an all-you-can-eat buffet for the pigs, all day long.

    One day on a farm, the pigs were scoffing their oinkteenth meal and conversing in their own language, Oinkish.
    “I just love autumn!” a striped pig oinked, digging into some mashed veggies. “So much to eat!”
    “This has been a good harvest season, it seems,” a black pig oinked back. “We are getting more than just the leftovers from our Master’s meals.”
    “And the best thing is”, a very large pig added, “that the ones who grow largest during this time of the year are allowed to join the Master at his Yule feast! He said that himself!”
    “You will do well in that competition”, the striped pig oinked and sighed. “I bet the food’s oinklicious, as no pig never returns to our pigsty after that feast!”
    Suddenly, the conversation was disrupted by gloomy laughter that came from a nearby bush. The pigs startled a bit. “Who’s there?” they squealed. But they only saw two eyes glowing in the bush.
    “You simple oinkers are just eating your way to your own doom. Didn’t yer sows tell you that there are no free meals in this world?”
    And then it came out from the bush: it was a boar, wild and grim, armed with two sharp tusks. It was the Old Bloodtusk, a beast that everyone knew and feared.
    “What do you know about any of that, you savage Warty Wartface?” the large pig snorted. “You’ve never been to a pigsty or lived with the two-footed masters. You are just full of jealousy!”
    The other pigs oinked in agreement, but Old Bloodtusk just smirked.
    “I would never submit to a two-footed wretch! Don’t you understand that this lovely Master of yours growing you fat so you could join his table… not as a guest, but as the main dish!”
    The pigs squealed in disbelief. “You don’t know our Master, he is a good person! He is treating us so well!”
    “Well, have you ever seen a pig that has oinked back from his Yule table?” Old Bloodtusk asked. “What do you reckon, does your sweet Master entertain them as his guests all year round, year after year?”
    That made the pigs look a bit uncertain. The striped one stepped forward. “If that’s true, what should be do about it, you Old and Wise Bloodtusk?”
    “You should all escape and run away!” Old Bloodtusk declared. “Save your precious hides and chops.”
    “Dear oh dear”, the pigs squealed. “That’s not an option for us! We will be eaten by wolves and bears if we run away!”
    “Not if I lead you”, Old Bloodtusk said. “These lands are not safe for oinkers. Join me, and I will show you a place where we can all roll in the mud peacefully and be plump and happy.”
    “If all the pigs of Evendim join and travel together, no beast nor man will dare to attack them.”
    The pigs looked slightly more confident.
    “I will return in a few weeks and then, I will lead you to your freedom.”

    And sure, Old Bloodtusk did as promised. He managed to convince all the pigs of Evendim to join him in his quest. When time came, he started to gather all the pigs to his oinker ranks, one farm at a time, after nightfall.

    It was certainly a sight. In the moonlight, they went forward like a stream of pork, lead by their fearsome leader who was armed with the deadliest tusks of oinkkind. The wild creatures of Evendim didn’t even dare to disrupt their journey. They headed towards south, and everything went quite peacefully until they reached the sandy beaches of Brandywine, the Brown Flat-lands.
    There on the shore, a pierate ship was getting ready for departure. In the bright moonlight, they spotted the wandering pigs. The pigs shivered at the evil-looking pierates, but Old Bloodtusk didn’t. He turned to the pigs and hissed: “Let me have an oink with those scruffy ruffians. That boat will take us to the lands where we are all safe.”
    “Where will it take us to, Old Bloodtusk?” the pigs asked.
    “White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise”, Old Bloodtusk oinked, with a happy glimmer in its eyes. “With lots of mud and turnip mash.”
    “Well, that isn’t so bad”, the pigs muttered.
    “It isn’t,” Old Bloodtusk nodded. “You just wait here and let me handle this for you. Follow me when I have finished with the two-legged idiots.”

    “Ahoy, cap’n!” one pierate gasped. “Months of pork roast be comin’ right at us!”
    “We could do wit' some extra supplies,” the captain nodded. “Prepare some cabin for that grub!”
    “One o' them be approachin' us,” the pierate gasped. “Be ready t' grab it! We shall 'ave pork pie fer months, lads!”

    The pierates never knew what hit them. One by one, they fell overboard, some into the waters, some onto the sandy beach, all oinkstruck by Old Bloodtusk. In the heat of the battle, the anchor rope tore off and the ship drifted offshore, driven by the Brandywine stream. Only Old Bloodtusk was left onboard. The pigs could hear his oinks in the night: “Just follow the river, to the south! Meet me in the hobbit lands…”

    The pigs didn’t want to stand there and wait for the pierates to recover, so they started to go southward as instructed. But as they started to wobble away, they met an old hobbit on the beach. He seemed to be on a night walk with his pipe and walking stick.
    “Hullo there, and no need to be afraid,” he said to the frightened oinkers. “I won’t hurt you. I was just on my night walk. My son has lost his toy dog, and I was looking for it… Then I saw the ship and the boar… What was that?”
    The pigs oinked and the old hobbit lad seemed to understand. “So, the Old Bloodtusk, a match for a shipful of pierates! I am sure a creature like that would be worth of a story… a play even… ‘An Ode to Old Bloodtusk’!”
    The old lad seemed to get lost in his thoughts, and the pigs didn’t want to waste more time in those dreadful lands, so they continued with haste. If all hobbits were as harmless as the old lad they had met, their lands shouldn’t be too scary either.

    When they reached the northern border of the Shire, something stopped them in their tracks: it was the loveliest music they had ever heard! Well, at least it sounded lovely in pig’s ears: the music consisted mainly of squeaks, oinky melodies and squeals. Then they saw her: a young red-haired hobbit lass, playing a pibgorn. When the lass saw them, she smiled happily and said. “Oh, pigs! Say, are you lost?” The pigs oinked and looked at the pibgorn as if they were under a spell. “Well, I better go back home to Budgeford, it’ll be breakfast time soon,” she said and smiled. She continued her playing and started to walk southwards. And all the pigs followed her squeaking. All the way to Budgeford where they found turnip mash, lovely mud and all that.
    “This must be the land Old Bloodtusk was talking about,” the pigs thought. “Strange that he didn’t arrive here first! Oh well, he will turnip eventually…”

    What happened to Old Bloodtusk? Well, they say the ship foundered in a storm somewhere down the Brandywine River, but there was not a trace of Old Bloodtusk. Still, we know that he eventually ended up in Archet where he settled down in a rotting tree stump and started his career as a constant menace. Somewhere on the shores of Brandywine, Master Ronald Dwale wrote a play about the wild boar for the Frostbluff theatre, but it never got performed there, sadly. Only a Shire-based acting troupe has managed to perform the tale for other hobbits. Oh, and Budgeford has been the pork capital of Middle-earth ever since, thanks to Old Bloodtusk and the pibgorn lass. These days, she squeaks happily among the musical Brandy Badgers, spreading the message of pork. And Evendim has never seen a single pig after this incident.

    As for the pigs… yes, they oinked happily ever after.
    Tibba, Lithea, Lully and 3 others like this.
  7. Pycella Member


    Today, I am tormenting you with this squeaky voice of mine: I made a short song tribute for the LOTRO Yule Festival. Here is my version of Walking in the air (from the Snowman), with my own lyrics. I made the lyrics last year for a Brandy Badgers tune, so you might hear me singing this in-game too, if you ever come by when we rehearse! *coughs* I recorded this tune when I had a flu, so maybe it's not the best take ever (messy singing and pronunciation), plus I am an amateur when it comes to singing. But as my pa said: every bird just sings with the voice they own. If you want to listen to the original while reading these lyrics, you can always play it here.

    Walking through the woods
    (you can toggle these lyrics on the video too, in subtitles)

    I'm walking through the woods
    I've wander'd so far from home
    The trees are watching me

    As I plough through the snow

    It's getting very dark
    I feel my limbs are getting weak
    All I dream about 's some rest beside a hearth

    Then I see a light
    It's shining through the snowy trees
    I'm holding my dear breath
    As I reach a magic world

    Snowbeasts lie on the ground
    Sleeping peacefully
    Snowy grims floating on the icy ponds

    I feel I'm getting close
    The snowmen are all greeting me
    This must be Winterhome
    Where no one feels alone

    Music streams through the air
    Calming, full of joy

    Snowflakes dance merrily
    In endless whirls

    Then, the dream is gone
    I wake up in my hobbit hole
    Yet I have the strongest feel

    That Winterhome is real
    Lully, Tibba, Wildigard and 5 others like this.
  8. Potty Member

    Thank yer, Miss Pycella!

    That's some mighty fine singin' and strummin'!

    Yer quite an amazin' songbird!

    Pycella likes this.
  9. Rubellita Member

    I totally agree with Master Potty here! And I must add, that it sure takes some courage to record yourself and publish it. But it was lovely to hear it!
    Pycella likes this.
  10. Pycella Member


    Our Quick Post lass Miss Ambrinna must be busy these days, but she had time for another Yule calendar delivery: she sent us another biscuit recipe! It's the darkest time of the year in the north, so I bet these sunshine biscuits will brighten your day quite well! May them be a light for you in dark places when all other lights go out!

    Sunshine Sugar cookies with Orange frosting

    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1 cup shortening
    2 eggs
    1 cup milk
    1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    Combine milk with vinegar to make sour milk. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars, shortening, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Stir in sour milk and mix well. NOTE: Dough will be very sticky and hard to handle so be sure to refrigerate either several hours or overnight. Roll on well floured board to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters to desired shapes-a sun shape or large round circles are best to signify the sun with large cutters working best. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown on bottom. Frost with frosting (recipe below) and decorate.

    3 egg whites
    4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    1 teaspoon orange extract
    1 Tablespoon of orange rind
    1 Tablespoon of Orange Juice

    Beat egg whites in clean, large bowl with mixer at high speed until very foamy. Gradually add sugar, rind, orange juice and extract. Beat at high speed until thickened. Spread over cooled cookies or put in a pastry bag with a piping tip attached and pipe onto cookies.
    Lully, Wildigard, Rubellita and 3 others like this.
  11. Lithea Member

    I have ter say how much I am enjoying all the music and recipes and tales in this Yule Calendar. Thank you so much fer posting Miss Pycella.
    Pycella likes this.
  12. Pycella Member


    We received another delivery from Miss Ambrinna: she sent us a lovely wintry poem, and it's about her friend, Mr Robin. Sing throughout the year, like this songbird does!

    Mr Robin

    Robin sang sweetly
    When the days were bright:
    'Thanks, thanks for summer,'
    He sang with all his might.

    Robin sang sweetly,
    In the autumn days,
    'There are fruits for everyone;
    Let all give praise.'

    In the cold and wintry weather,
    Still hear his song:
    'Somebody must sing,' said Robin
    'Or winter will seem long.'

    When the spring came back again,
    He sang, 'I told you so!
    Keep on singing through the winter
    It will always go.'

    While you read the poem, you might want to take a look at a wintry painting that is related to singing too. Miss Rubellita sent us the painting with following note:

    Dutch artist Anton Pieck is well known for his wintry scenes that remind many of the novels by Charles Dickens.
    In the above picture he even predicted Winterhome, hobbits and wassailing. Aye, he even foresaw the upcoming fiddle!

    Tibba, Lully, Rubellita and 4 others like this.
  13. Lully Member

    Like many other hobbits, I am really enjoying this Yule Calendar, Pycella. Thank you for lifting my spirits and making me smile and chuckle through what's been a difficult month so far.
    Pycella likes this.
  14. Pycella Member


    Today, I am dusting off an old Yule story I wrote. Well, it's only one year old and it has been told only once before this at the Green Dragon. It's about the Yule Man, that elusive feller who is believed to bring presents for the hobbits that have been nice and behaved well. Here it goes!

    IMG_20171202_194636_01 (2).jpg

    The Yule Man

    Once there was a small hobbit family, consisting of a father and his small son only. Sadly, the mother had passed away when the boy had been just a baby, so the father cared for the boy all by himself. The boy meant all the world to him, and the father did his best so that his son would live a happy life, even without a mother.

    But like most small hobbit lads, the boy was sometimes a bit unruly. The father did his best to keep the boy in control, but many times, he noticed that he didn't have the courage to scold him and be too strict as a parent. That's why the father invented "the Yule Man".

    Every time the son did something he wasn't supposed to do, his father said: "If you don't behave, the Yule Man won't bring you any presents this Yule." That seemed to work too. To make the Yule Man seem more real, the father made his son write a wish list to the Yule Man before every Yule. And every Yule, there was a pile of presents beneath the Yule tree, left there by the Yule Man. Hence the boy believed in the Yule Man with all his heart. It was clearly a situation in which both parties were happy – so the father kept it that way. "It is only an innocent lie, it does no harm," the father thought.

    But as boys get older, they tend to do more thinking and even get suspicious.
    One Yule, the boy asked his father:
    "Why doesn't the Yule Man bring you anything, pa?" he asked.
    The father looked a bit baffled, but then replied:
    "Oh, it must be that I have never wished for anything, dear son."
    That seemed to settle the matter then, but it didn't end there.

    One autumn before Yule, the boy had been playing with his friend. When the boy came back home, he looked very upset.
    "Pa, my friend says that... the Yule Man is not real, that he is only a fairy tale."
    The father shook his head and comforted his son.
    "That's nonsense, we both know he is real. He brings presents every year."
    "Yes, but couldn't that be anyone? We never see him in person, just the presents!" the boy sighed and continued:
    "This year, I want to see him myself! And I won't make a wish list that could fall into the hands of fake Yule Men."
    "I will wish for something inside my mind. If the Yule Man is real, he can read my mind and see what I wish for."
    "Well, this makes things a lot more complicated," the father thought.

    He started to work on a Yule Man outfit: a pointy hat, a thick coat and a fake beard made of tangled wool thread. The outfit was the easiest part though; he also had to figure out what the boy was wishing for Yule. The father kept a close eye on the boy, but the boy didn't reveal any clues about his wish.

    Time passed, and suddenly, it was the evening before Yule day. As the boy had fallen asleep in his bed, the father sneaked outside where everything was covered in snow. He went to an abandoned cottage near the Brandywine River and changed into the Yule Man clothing. Looking like a meagre dwarf, he came out and sat on a pile of snow in the winter night.
    "What should I do?" he thought. "I still don't know what my boy wants! He will never love me again!"

    Suddenly, his mourning was interrupted by a crashing noise and loud screaming – it was coming from the icy Brandywine!

    The father ran down the bank and saw that someone had crashed though the thin ice that covered the edges of the river. Quickly, he removed the messy wool thread beard from his face and rolled it into a rope.
    "Take this, and I will pull you to safety!" he shouted and threw the other end of the rope to the person in the icy water. The father was able to pull the hobbit out of the water into safety.

    The father had to hold his breath, because it was the most beautiful hobbit lady he had seen in ages. He gave his thick Yule Man outfit (without the beard) to the soaked lass and changed back into his normal clothing.
    "You better come to my burrow and warm up. What did you do on the ice, dear lady?"
    The lass blushed.
    "I wanted to skate in the wintry moonlight, silly me... I'm so happy you came by and saved me!"

    Back at the burrow, the father led the lady to the fireplace and brought her some tea. Together they sat on the rug and stared silently into the fire.

    Then the father heard a noise: his son had woken up and stood behind them. The father sighed:
    "I am so sorry, son, but the Yule Man..."
    But the son beamed. "The Yule Man is real! He was here just now!"
    "What?" the father gasped.
    "He came to my bed and apologised that he never came to see me before. And he told that I would find my present here, next to the fireplace..."
    The father looked around, but didn't see any presents. "What do you mean by that?"
    "I wished something for you! You never remember to wish anything yourself, silly pa."
    The father gulped. "What did you wish for, son?"
    The boy pointed at the drenched hobbit lady. "A wife!"
    "You should have waited for me before you unwrapped her!" the boy added sternly.
    The father blushed crimson, and the lady even more.

    And crimson red were the roses in her hair when the two married next summer.
    So, be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it.
    And above all, remember this: don't skate on thin ice, and be nice.
    The End.
  15. Lully Member

    I'm a big advocate of that piece of wisdom *chuckles*
    Pycella likes this.
  16. Lina Chief

    Lully and Pycella like this.
  17. Pycella Member


    Yule is getting close now, so it's high time you start to clean up your burrow! Here are some tips how to make Yule cleaning easy. They have been gathered from some wise Shire hobbits.

    1. Bring the dirty dishes to Winterhome

    Are you sick of dishwashing? Then you probably could try out this old tradition that will make your cleaning a lot easier: bring the dirty dishes to Winterhome. At Yuletide, dishwashers from all Middle-earth gather there to clean up the filth and dirty dishes. No one will notice a few more piles of dirty dishes there. Throwing your dishes to the closest pond is not recommended, as this is not good for the environment. Leave the ponds for the weeds and old shoes, please.

    2. Put all your extra stuff into one big pile

    If you have lots of stuff in your burrow and you want to make the place look neat in a heartbeat, just put everything into one big pile. Feel free to decorate the pile by hanging paintings or curtains on it. This makes cleaning a lot easier and faster, and you won’t tip over anything that has been left on the floor. If someone wonders about the pile, you can tell them that you are hiding their Yule gifts in the pile. No one will suspect anything.

    ScreenShot00889 (2).jpg
    Exemplary cleaning in a Bramblebury home

    3. Drive unwanted guests away with crazy decoration

    If you are not into cleaning at all but don’t want to let others know that your burrow is a mess, you can always drive others away with crazy yard decoration. The furniture vendors are selling all kinds of weird stuff these days. Put a giant bowling ball in front of the door, or maybe a haunted Yule tree. No one will bother you.

    An ominous festive bowling ball

    ScreenShot00895 (2).jpg
    Scary Yule decoration at a yard

    4. Get a pig that will eat the Yule decorations

    Do you want to get rid of your Yule decoration easily? Let a pig do it for you! Pigs are omnivores: that’s a fancy word for creatures that can eat virtually anything they think is edible. Be it mistletoe, garlands, or Yule stockings, it’s all just a great feast for the oinkers. If you don’t want to take a pig of your own, there is one at the Songburrow Hall that you could borrow. For as long as you like. Like forever. Please, help us, it is eating our mathoms and Potty’s napping chair!

    Yule2 (2).jpg
    An oinker drooling at the Yule decoration

    5. Skip the whole cleaning and go for a holiday trip instead

    If you are not home at Yule, why clean it up? Go to a nice holiday location instead. Winterhome is a beloved attraction during Yuletide, and it has some good accommodation and activities to offer. Snowball fights, snowmen, theatre, eating contests… That place is free of all stress. And when you book a room there, remember to give Lobelia’s details when they ask for the billing address. If they ask who you are, just say that you are Miss/Master Underhill. That's what they all do.
    Tibba, Wildigard, Pennyroyal and 5 others like this.
  18. Pycella Member


    Almost Yule Eve now! Hopefully many of us are ready with the preparations and have their larders filled with food for the upcoming holidays. But if you suddenly realize that you are out of the sweet stuff and have no energy for baking, you could try out this lazy Yule apple recipe that builds on the essential ingredients of any tasty food: sugar, butter and crispiness!

    Pycella's lazy Yule apples

    6 - 9 apples
    100 g butter
    100 g sugar
    100 g almond flakes
    2 tablespoons wheat flour
    2 tablespoons milk
    (cinnamon etc.)

    Peel the apples (I used a sweet variety), remove the seeds and cut the apples into wedges. Place them into a buttered tray and prebake for 10-15 minutes at 200°C. Combine butter, sugar, almond flakes, flour and milk in a pot and heat it until the butter has melted, mix it well. You can add some Yule seasoning to the mixture (cinnamon should work well). When the apples have been prebaked, spread the mixture over them and bake for another 15 minutes (or until the topping looks nicely brown) at 220°C.

    Tip: if you don't have enough almond flakes, like I did, you can use pine nuts too, or something similar.

    Yule apples.JPG

    As an extra, I am adding a new song here that I wrote for the Badgers. I sang it at the Green Dragon Yule party yesterday. You can hum it to the song "Fairytale of New Pork".

    Purple Snowbeast's Yule Eve

    It’s Yule eve in the woods
    Where the snowbeasts roam
    In their lair they sleep

    In caves so dark and deep
    But one small beast stays up
    She wants to go straight out
    A purple snowbeast

    Who just wants to have fun

    When others snore quite loud

    The beast sneaks swiftly out
    She sniffs the cold air
    Snow falls on her hair
    And then she hears the sounds
    Someone toots loud
    She hurries to join

    the party in good time

    The Badgers are playing their favourite songs
    All foxes and birdies are humming along
    Creatures of woods having fun in all peace
    They just concentrate on their musical needs
    “Dear snowbeast, come forward, join our grand band”
    “Here are some instruments, take one in your hands”
    So she grabs the bagpipes without second thoughts
    Her snowbeast lungs can toot them all night long

    And together they played and sang until the break of dawn
    It was the best Yule eve that snowbeast ever saw

    The trees were swaying, their hearts were melting
    The songs warmed up the cold winter night
    The stars were smiling, blistfully shining

    And bears they all grumbled, asleep in their pens

    And together they played and sang until the break of dawn
    It was the best Yule eve that snowbeast ever saw

    And when came the morn
    The snowbeast hurried home
    But she was filled with joy:
    She’d found a new toy
    It was the bagpipes she clung to her arms
    And from that day onwards

    She tooted bagpipe songs

    Every day she played all her favourite songs
    It was the best Yule gift she ever got
    Tibba, Rubellita, Lully and 4 others like this.
  19. Lully Member

    Grand recipe, Pycella. Now I know what to do with the basket of apples I won in the raffle at last night's Green Dragon Yule Party. :)
    Pycella and Tibba like this.
  20. Rubellita Member

    I really love the Yule Calendar! Let's do it again next year and make it a tradition, Miss Pycella!
    You have so much talent and such grand ideas!
    Pycella, Tibba and Lully like this.

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