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Gävle Goat gets best birthday present ever

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17:22 CET+01:00
In 1966 a man called Stig Gavlén had a dream: while others settled for mere Christmas trees, the town of Gävle should have an enormous Christmas goat.

And so it came to pass. A straw goat, 13 metres tall and 7 metres long, proudly stood over the town square until terror struck on New Year's Eve. A passing vandal had lit a match and 3 tonnes of straw goat set the winter night ablaze.

"This year is an anniversary, as we have had the Christmas goat for 40 years. And 22 times the goat has been destroyed," Goat Committee spokeswoman Anna Östman told The Local.

Yesterday the goat's birthday was celebrated with fireworks and, finally, the greatest gift of all.

"We decided that the best gift for him this year would be flame protection," said Östman.

Freddy Klaffmo, a director of Stockholm-based textile protection company Fiber ProTector, came up with the idea of making the goat more or less impervious to the annual arson attacks. Unlike last year, when a gingerbread man and a Santa Claus fired flaming arrows at the gigantic beast and brought it tumbling to the ground.

The action was caught on security cameras. This year however the Goat Committee is so happy with the animals new protective winterwear that it has deemed cameras unnecessary.

But what would it take to burn the fireproof goat? Assuming anybody was desperate enough to keep the tradition alive.

We managed to track down Swedish sales manager Mats Lorensson and the wild goat chase was over. When asked if the goat was going to burn this Christmas, Lorensson exuded confidence.

"It's not possible. We have made tests using petrol, oil, everything. It's not possible to burn the goat," said Lorensson.

Those sound like the words of a man throwing down the gauntlet.

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