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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Sidekick Advent Calendar: Day 2

Hold on to your hats, because the Sidekick Advent Calendar is going to have some regular and recurring features, and also hats keep your head warm and it's getting dramatically cold out! In fact, keep a spare pair of earmuffs handy in case something exciting happens and your hands are otherwise occupied!

The first recurring feature to be unveiled is ...

Move over, Krampus!

Krampus is Germanic folklore's Christmas beast-demon, a counter to St. Nicholas who stuffs naughty children into his sack and spirits them away on cloven hooves. Why, we at Sidekick are forced to ask, aren't there a sweeter abundance of Christmas monsters with which to terrorise impressionable minds? Might we make a suggestion or two?

First up, one of Japan's impressive array of mythical changelings: the Aka-shita. Yokai.com describes these fearsome demons as "agents of bad luck and evil ... primarily known as punishers in water disputes".

Here it is as it appeared in our Japanese monster anthology, Obakarama, rendered visually by Michael Stone, and addressed in poetry by Adham Smart.

Traditionally, the Aka-shita is a summer monster, but there's nothing to say a little winter shift work would go amiss. Hiding in its cloud, the bright-tongued revenger would find house entry via the chimbley easy. It would then proceed to the child's bedroom and lick its sleeping face to make a moral determination. Evil or ethically-compromised minors would suffer bad luck in the ensuing present-giving, receiving the wrong edition of the latest Pokemon, Bryan Adams instead of Ryan Adams, and so on.

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