But arsonists did not succeed in setting fire to much more than a red ribbon on one of its legs, lending credence to the Goat Committee’s earlier claims of impregnability for this year’s beast.
“Some straw was burnt, but we have replaced it now,” said Anna Östman, spokeswoman for the Goat Committee.
For forty years the goat has presided over a square in the centre of the town. And on 22 occasions the 3 tonne straw animal has had its festive season cut short by acts of arson and destruction perpetrated on its sturdy frame.
But ever since flame retardant company Fiber ProTector arrived on the scene at the beginning of December the task of turning the goat into a blazing shadow of its former self has proved much more difficult.
“The whole goat would have burned down if it wasn’t for the flame retardant chemicals,” said Östman.
The burning of the goat, though illegal, is an international selling point for the town of Gävle. But this year the town Goat Committee decided that the monumental creature deserved protection for its 40th birthday.
In a bid to make this a happy Christmas for its favourite symbol the town authorities called in the Norwegians.
“We have made tests using petrol, oil, everything. It’s not possible to burn the goat,” Fiber ProTector’s Swedish salesman Mats Lorensson told The Local.