MONSTER FEATURE! FIENDS OF ALBION. THIS WEEK: HOBBES.
Albion’s leading newspaper is proud to present the first in a series of interviews with noted historian and monster expert Atticus Croddle. We sent investigative reporter Penelope Chumley to speak with the eccentric creaturologist.
As I sit back down in Mr Croddle’s musty gallery of curiosities (also known as his living room), I notice the small cupboard behind him has now been padlocked. He offers me a cup of rusty tea from an odd-looking teapot he keeps under his armchair. I decline.
PC: It’s fair to say you first made your name in the field of unnaturalism with your groundbreaking study of hobbes, titled Cryptic Taxonomy of Amorphous Bipedal Organisms, or Stop Gnawing on my Ribcage. What drew you to these horrid, little vermin?
AC: Well, hobbes may be horrid, they may be little, and they most certainly are vermin-like, but they are also fascinating, highly social creatures. My studies began with a desire to debunk the popular myths surrounding them.
PC: And these are?
AC: That they are children stolen away by nymphs, shadows or the so-called Child Catcher, who have been buried in dark places and had strange words whispered into their ears. I was highly sceptical of this theory for two reasons. One, it would imply a preposterous number of unreported child kidnappings. Two, biology simply doesn’t work that way.
PC: And was your debunking successful?
AC: Yes and no. We still don’t fully understand their methods of reproduction or their evolutionary lineage, but I found no evidence to support the Transformed Kid Theory. Though it is true that their behaviour has all the hallmarks of an immature and mischievous child.
PC: Such as?
AC: They seem to treat everything as play, from the building of defensive forts in the most unlikely of places, to the denting of human skulls with blunt instruments. They are most gregarious in nature though, and it is very rare to find a hobbe that isn’t part of a group.
PC: What of their famous penchant for appropriating human objects?
AC: Just like children enjoy aping adults, hobbes seem to derive unusual pleasure from mimicking humans. For instance, they not only like to use the weapons of their victims, they love to wear their clothes, whether these be pieces of armour or frilly dresses. They’ve also been known to wear pots and other utensils, suggesting they haven’t quite yet mastered the finer nuances of garment-usage.
PC: One of the more interesting points in your study is how hobbes appear to follow a rigid, military structure. Is this another case of them imitating human behaviour?
AC: That is my contention, yes. Strength and intelligence would seem to determine this hierarchy, with the weakest serving as grunts or footmen, and the strongest acting as higher-ranking officers. Very few hobbes have the presence to be leaders, and most will scatter in terror when they see their stronger members slain.
PC: And what would you say to those who claim their childlike antics make them cute, cuddly and deserving of our understanding?
AC: I would say they have never had one gnawing on their ribcage. Don’t forget that some have now learned to use advanced weapons such as crossbows and bombs. And, despite their primitive brains, they have a strong connection to the magical currents that run through this universe, allowing some to cast spells. So one would do well not to underestimate a hobbe.
Almost on cue, there is a loud thump as the cupboard door is banged from the other side, rattling the heavy lock.
PC: Umm. Mr Croddle? Do you have a hobbe locked in that cupboard?
AC: What cupboard?
PC: It’s been a pleasure talking to you again. I look forward to our next meeting, as do our readers.
You can read the previous edition of the BOWERSTONE TIMES here.