Gävle Goat to be saved by ice

4:58 min

The celebrity Gävle Christmas Straw Goat which rarely survives beyond Christmas Day is to be protected from arsonists this year by ice! 

Security guards, cameras and special chemicals have all been used by the central Swedish town over the years as a deterrent, without much success.

Anna Porelius, spokeperson for the Gävle goat, told Radio Sweden about the latest crimebuster:

"The firefighters in town will cover him in water when we know that it will be at least -5 degress celius for quite a long time and then we will see what happens, it's never been done before so we don't know how heavy the ice will be and we don't want him to be a sitting goat, we want him standing."

The 13-metre-high straw goat will be unveiled on Sunday to celebrate advent and will be protected by secret methods until the weather is cold enough for the ice blanket. 

In recent years the goat has been protected by flame retardant chemicals but in the words of Anna Porelius, the goat ends up looking like "a shaggy dog."  

The 45-year-old goat has been burnt down 24 times since it was first set up in 1966, including the worst ever arson attack by Santa Claus and a gingerbread man who used flaming arrows to set the goat on fire.

It's a tough, short life for a Gävle julbok, as they're called, sometimes they only survive a few hours after being built. Fire is the straw creature's worst enemy but the 1976 goat was spared the match, only to be run over by a car. And the 1997 goat was damaged by fireworks.

Still, the town builds a new one every year, and the media seems to wait its demise rather eagerly. It may be a short life, but it is one of celebrity as the goat has its own web camera, watched by people from 140 countries.

And sometimes, just sometimes – the goat has the last laugh. In 2001 the goat was set on fire by a 51-year-old visitor from Cleveland, Ohio. The out-of-towner was convicted and spent 18 days in jail.