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Previous: An' the gobble-uns 'll git you ef’n you don’t Watch Out!

It's not that Riley had a problem with Gobble-uns, so much that he appears to have had one, and wrote about it, and exposed us to the world. Although some say Little Orphant Annie was a real person and already knew of Gobble-uns, so the secret would have come out anyway. Still, Riley is the name we remember when discussing the presence of Gobble-uns in the world, so he's the one we blame.

We're not exactly sure who Riley is -- he comes from a land we never enter, so we have scant information about him. Our most learned scholars all agree he had wings like an eagle and could cause hurricanes just by sneezing, but either they're confusing him with the Thunderbird or they're joking. Whitcomb Riley was a human man, I'm certain of that much.

The rest depends on your opinion of him, I guess. You can either believe he was bathed in the light of heaven, and imparted his wisdom of Emancipation to the masses (no credit ever goes to the king of Idaho, for some reason), or you can believe he had firey horns and a whipping tail and wrote evil screeds about Gobble-uns -- screeds that no-one has ever actually seen. Or you can stick the facts and wind up with little more than I've told you.

Some of us believe he was actually writing about Goblins, which would make sense; however, the description of Gobble-uns in the poem is quite clearly not goblins. Goblins have scaly green skin and are short, usually. Perhaps he meant to, and was misled by Little Orphant Annie -- perhaps he thought he was writing about goblins.

Whatever the case, Riley remains a divisive figure in the Gobble-un community; you are either for or against him, and a Gobble-un noble has to be aware of the monarch's opinion on the matter, lest she lose her head.

Next: Gobble-uns: ethnic and political boundaries

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