Places Goblins Mostly Aren't Hiding

Places Goblins Mostly Aren't Hiding

In Little Bear’s Visit, Little Bear’s grandfather tells him a story about a goblin. The goblin, startled by a bump in a cave he happens to be passing, jumps out of his shoes and runs away. He hears someone following him with a pit - pat - pit - pat - pit - pat, and is so frightened that he hides in a hole in a tree . . . only to discover that what was following him was his very own pair of shoes.

Now, as it happens, I very frequently pass trees with holes in them. I’ve passed them many times over many months in all sorts of weather and have had the opportunity to observe them pretty closely. I haven’t mentioned this to anyone yet, but I’ve come to believe it’s very likely there are goblins in some of these trees. If goblins are as easily frightened of footsteps as Little Bear’s grandfather suggests, there’s no reason to think that in the daytime, when humans are stomping around like brutes, little goblins with delicate nerves haven’t sought refuge just out of sight.

I repeat, there is no reason to believe goblins haven’t stuffed themselves in trees all around us.

To assist you kind-hearted, gentle people who wish to tiptoe past the trees with anxiety-ridden goblins in them, I have assembled this guide to help you identify which trees those are likely to be. It’s more difficult than you might think. For example, does this look like a good goblin hiding place to you?


It’s certainly the most classic Hole In A Tree I’ve ever personally come across. But is it a Hole For Goblins? No, my friends. It’s hard for the untrained eye to tell the difference, but it turns out that this is an offering tree, which is a completely normal and common type of tree that one sees everywhere these days. Right? You see strategically-placed bundles of dead flowers and crystals eight or ten times a day, don’t you? I don’t need to be worried about locally-occurring witchery, do I? Surely it’s just vegetarians run amok?

OR . . . is this some sort of druidic temple that, if touched, will transport me two hundred years back in time? Since it was pretty muddy here in 1819, and entirely peopled by muskrats, it’s probably best to treat offering trees like they all have goblins in them and tiptoe past. I’m sure that’s on someone’s list of best practices re: possible occult objects.

Now that you know what a goblin hole does not look like, you should be able to use the process of elimination to figure out what one does look like. That’s just logic. What do you think of this one?


Perfect height. Excellent curvature. Convenient placement next to a goblin-sized thoroughfare. Even has a front garden. “Absolutely a goblin hole,” you’re thinking to yourself. “No question.”

I regret to tell you, but this was a trick. A goblin may indeed try to hide here, but it’s obviously locked. Someone probably lives here permanently, and it’s rude to hide in a stranger’s house. Contrary to popular belief, not all goblins know each other.

Let’s try again. Yea or nay on the goblin potential of this magnolia?


Unlikely. This is too small for a goblin. Maybe a baby goblin. But a baby goblin shouldn’t be hiding on its own. That’s neglect. If you find a baby goblin in a tree, call the authorities. Do not take the baby goblin home with you.

I’m surprised you’re doing so badly at this, to be honest. But as the trivia game on the Encarta CD-ROM used to tell me in a very condescending voice (which I ask you to conjure at this moment) even a broken clock is right twice a day. Try again!


Don’t be a fool. This is much too high off the ground. Goblins cannot reach this. Do you even know what goblins are? Did you do any research on goblin-hiding at all before reading this post? Good grief.

This one should be easy:


I’ll just assume you correctly identified this as having nothing to do with goblins, as it has all the telltale signs of being a home for agèd fairies. Do you think you can possibly manage to also get this one right?

NO. This is a gnome door. You can see it’s been cleverly concealed by leaves. Goblins are not that smart. They’re afraid of their own shoes. How about this one:


If you didn’t know this was a raccoon hole, you probably already have rabies, and that’s why you’re getting so many answers wrong. It also explains the frothing, which I didn’t want to mention, but was wondering about. As it happens, it’s not completely unheard of for raccoons to share their homes with goblins, but usually it’s more of an overwintering situation, and almost always ends in a bitter argument over who ate the last string cheese. Most of the time, raccoon nests are too high for goblins to reach, anyway. It’s hard for goblins to climb without their shoes, which come off very easily.

I’m embarrassed to even test you on the next one because it’s so obvious:


Really? Okay, listen. I know I just started this blog up again. I don’t want to be hard on you. I want you to come back. BUT THIS IS LITERALLY A DRAINAGE PIPE IN A GRAVEYARD. Not even the ghost of a deceased goblin would hide here. No ghost would hide here. Ghosts don’t hide. What do they have to be afraid of?

This is your last chance to get one right completely on your own. You can do it, probably.


YES. Finally. This hole is just the right size, pleasantly situated at a hopping height for a goblin, and unassuming enough that the thing that’s following you might pass by if you were sure to hide your red hat and hold your breath. It’s also in a less-traversed area, which is more likely to be populated by mythical creatures. I hope you’ve learned from your mistakes and are feeling an appropriate degree of shame.

While we’re discussing goblins, I’d like to raise a point that has always bothered me about Little Bear’s grandfather’s story. It’s all very well and good that what was following the goblin was his own pair of shoes, but what made the bump in the cave? This unanswered question has haunted me my whole life. Please send your theories, small cakes, and the locations of any tree-holes large enough to fit me, just in case.

Photos by me. You may be wondering what the first photo is of. NO, it’s not a goblin hole - you know better than that by now. It’s a goblin TRAP. An adult goblin would never fall for it - the door is too small and the tree is too small and everything about it is wrong - but a baby goblin might. And boy will that goblin-trapper be sorry.

Fit the Second

Fit the Second