Sinterklaasjegeshenk!

Dutch is not the equal of German when it comes to menacingly long compound words, but sometimes it offers up a good’un.

Today is the festival of St. Nicholas, familiarly Sinterklaas to the Dutch, when good kids get a present and bad kids get threatened with abduction to Spain, because we’re still upset about the Thirty Years War and colonialism. We won’t, to avoid roaring arguments about racism versus cultural heritage, think too hard about St. Nick’s sidekick who does the abducting. Let’s just imagine a regional variant of Krampus and leave it at that.

ANYWAY, by way of observing Sinterklaasje and honouring my own paternal heritage, and to also nod to the British seasonal tradition of a ghost story, I’m posting Wassail today. Keep warm, as the sun prepares for its bounce off the southern limit of its yearly wobble, and if you have a sufficiency of bounty please share it with your fellows.

A Tiny Present

This weekend, my generally quite North American family will be observing Sinterklaasje (fellow long-time fans of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast will understand what it means to say that some of the background noise of my childhood was in the Dutch language).  Our idiosyncratic approach to the day sees a handing of a single small present to each of the kids in the room after a small clue-driven scavenger hunt, while the adults try not to look meaningfully in the direction of the next clue lest Zwaart Piet appear to steal our rum.

Since I’ve already got a bit of a scavenger hunt going, I’m marking the day here by simply posting a very silly little bit of fiction, the short title of which is Two Natural Oddities. A bit of fun and self-flagellation, in keeping with the season.