Nogal’s feet hung off the ground as he reached into a barrel. His fingertips scraped against the sharp nails that lay at the bottom. Sucking in his breath, he leaned in further, grabbing a handful of nails as the barrel toppled over. As he went down, Nogal’s foot hooked a rake and sent it clattering to the ground as nails spilled around him.

“Who goes there?” a man said as heavy footfalls headed towards the shed in which Nogal lay.

Nogal shoved fistfuls of nails into his pockets before he scooted outside and out of sight. He then retrieved a pile of papers resting upon a tree stump and weighted down with a hammer. He grinned. The time was upon him.

Walking to the center of the small village, Nogal took one of the papers and, with a nail from his pocket and the hammer in is hand, posted it on a wooden beam. He stood back and admired the haphazard writing of his own hand:

FACT: Dragons are tough and gristly creatures–not fit for consumption unless in a stew.

“What have you got there?” a woman said as she passed by.

Nogal started and his mouth hung open. Then, before she could say another word, he darted away and out of sight.

He stopped to lean against the wall of a house as he waited and listened. Assured that no one was coming, he then nailed another paper to the wall behind him.

FACT: Unicorns are insufferably fatty, and should only be prepared in a slow braise.

He then tested a window and, seeing it was unlocked, lifted it and snuck inside. Looking around the snug room, he then nailed another leaf over a baby’s crib.

FACT: Hippogriffs are awfully arrogant, but can often be made palatable with a stout honey glaze.

A woman walked through the door and screamed when she saw Nogal. She grabbed a broom and swiped it at him.

Nogal dodged the attack, darting around the woman and ran outside. He hustled to the other end of the village and hid behind a tree. He grabbed another nail from his pocket, but realized he had left his hammer behind. So he took a paper and stuck it onto a branch instead.

FACT: Minotaur is the finest of all meats, and should be enjoyed slowly roasted and basted in wine.

He straightened and smiled as he viewed his last contribution. Then, towards the town he shouted, “You’re welcome!”

Villagers gathered and pointed to where he stood. Some clutched axes and knives, and all wore displeased frowns. When they started towards him, Nogal clutched the rest of his papers and darted into the woods and out of sight.


  1. How exactly does one catch a dragon to put in a stew – aren’t they more likely to eat the cook? 😉
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    • Sara C. Snider

      I don’t think Nogal thought that far. I can see him thinking, “Not my problem!” 😉

  2. Hi Sara – interesting how Nogal flitted here and there .. and then why he’s telling everyone how to cook those exotic foods … but disappears as soon as a villager or the villagers turn up – now where’s he gone to .. cheers hilary

    • Sara C. Snider

      He’s all about providing the service, he’d rather do without the social interaction. 😉

  3. That story made me smile, I loved the little facts in Nogal’s notices! I feel like this is the start of something bigger though, are you going to explore the story further?

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks, Celine! I hadn’t really planned on expanding it. I think that’s one of the problems with really short fiction–it’s difficult (for me, anyway) to write self-contained stories that don’t feel like it’s leading to something else. Heck, I have that problem with longer stories…

  4. Like the others, is this a short story with no end, or will this lead us further into Nogal’s life? I wonder how he could know such things as cooking up these beasts… Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @

    • Sara C. Snider

      Well, we’re not going in further to Nogal’s life, so… I guess it has no end. 😉 As for how he could know such things–I like to leave some matters open to the reader’s imagination.

  5. This guy is obviously a prankster! This is like a Middle Earth version of Flash street art, done by young espresso gulpers…I totally get it! It’s more about the hit-and-run artsy enigma, designed to provoke, than it is about communicating anything of substance.

    • Sara C. Snider

      Haha! He is a bit of a vandal. I love that you’ve associated him with “hit-and-run artsy enigma.” I’m now imagining him with a beret, and a clove cigarette. 😀

      • Jennifer Tyron

        The beret and a clove cigarette comment = LOL. Totally agree with Craig’s assessment. This was delightful whimsy. I saw Nogal as a little sprite or gremlin; just stirring up shite, but now I see him in a beret!

        • Sara C. Snider

          I think a sprite or gremlin is an excellent assessment of him. 😀

  6. Someone better warn all the magical creatures. They’re on the menu! 🙂

    • Sara C. Snider

      Indeed! Though, the hippogriffs will probably just sniff their noses and go about their business. 😉

  7. ::snigger:: – I like Nogal, he’s blithely unaware of the trouble he is causing 🙂
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles
    Wittegen Press

  8. Nogal is actually a South African Afrikaans word (Afrikaners are Dutch in origin from the 1650’s) so I was REALLY surprised to see this word pop up. Don’t ask me to explain it and I won’t ask you to explain Nogal’s actions. Perhaps I would say: W.H.A.T.??? What the nogal are you doing with all those nogal papers? Thanks Sara, I had fun reading, nogal!

    • Sara C. Snider

      I just Googled it, so I think I know. Unless Google is wrong… (gasp). Thanks for reading, Susan! 😀

  9. Hahahaha 😀 Nice! I wonder how he knows… My D&D group cooked a Questing Beast once…

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    • Sara C. Snider

      Mmm, Questing Beast. Sounds spongy. Perhaps best served with strawberries and a lemon glaze. 😉

  10. Interesting story. I wasn’t sure why the villagers were so mad at him…was it due to his habit of putting his recipe tips where he shouldn’t, or was it something more sinister?

    • Sara C. Snider

      There was that, yes, but then also the theft, the sneaking into people’s houses and just generally being a little creepster. 😉

  11. Simply delightful, Sara, and really well-written. Chekhovian all the way through to the … um … final word.

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks, Samantha! I’m not familiar with Chekhov, but I will take it as a compliment all the same. 😉

  12. The little facts woven into the story were clever. I loved everyone’s reactions to Nogal. 🙂

  13. Enjoyed it a lot. Nogal is a true imp 😉

    • Sara C. Snider

      That’s pretty much what I thought when I saw the name–imp. Glad you liked it and thanks for reading! 🙂

  14. Unicorns are fatty? I can see it 🙂

    This is my favorite so far!

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