The Goblin Chef is utterly peerless
when he makes his many pies,
and so dedicated to his craft, and so fearless,
that others dare not cook likewise.
A butcher artisan of a great many skills
he has found ways to use every type of meat
whether it be ogre fat or mermaid gills,
gnome heads, nymph ribs or princess feet.
Many would gladly risk themselves
to eat what his fevered brain makes,
and many do, in fact, stocking his shelves
with ingredients for his pies and cakes.
You never know where inspiration will strike
as the Goblin Chef feeds his fans,
and he may, indeed, give the meal a price hike,
costing you an arm and a leg for his pans.
But what deliciously unique treats
he offers to those willing to give them a go!
Brownie brownies, fairy sweet meats,
barbecue troll loin and giant tongue gumbo.
Unicorn brisket and witch wart grits,
leprechaun chili and dragon bone stew,
centaur sausage and mandrake jam on biscuits,
and, a Northland favorite, pookah cordon bleu.
Who knows many species he has slaughtered
while beset with his culinary muse?
Or how many ecosystms he has altered
for the sake of seeking unique menus?
That is not to say some are wholly spared,
nor wholly cooked; sometimes he needs only part
of a creature’s body, such as a toe, seasoned and prepared
for a dish, leaving the rest for the creature to depart.
This is why you may see an ogre reading in brail
because he has no eyes, or a mermaid floundering
because she is missing part of her scaly fish tail
or a centaur with only two legs, foundering.
Even goblin folk fear the Chef’s cutting board,
his sharpening whetstone grinding on their nerves,
and though they pride themselves on his mischief and discord,
they have suffered from him, too, as hors d’oeuvres.
He has been known to travel far and wide
to places unknown even to the most worldly wizards,
facing the myriad dangers of a world betide
with bandits, monsters, gods, and blizzards.
He has gone to many places and harsh lands
such as the Breathless Desert and the Mumbling Mountains
He even went to the Molten Matharan Marshlands
where the crystal reeds sparkle among magma fountains .
Whole herds of centaurs flee in a great stampede
when he visits the Easterlands for new recipes,
and in the Northlands, where there grows yam weed
he hunts Yam-Yam Birds, as big as Cressy trees.
Some think of him as a single-person scourge
and as a force of Nature as fickle as the seas
who may feed your family, when taken by the urge,
or feed your loved ones to other families.
Whole armies have attempted to slay him,
thinking him a demonic and malicious merrymaker,
and yet he somehow survives, as if by Fate’s whim,
proving himself a resourceful fairy baker.
One of the greatest armies set camp atop a high hill
to prepare to slay him, going to sleep early that night
and thinking they would surprise him for an easy kill
only to wake up as gourmet soup at first light.
The Goblin Chef did not waste them, however,
and chose to feed them to a litter of kobold pups,
and the pups thanked him by lapping it up, now ever
hungry for human broth in skull-rimmed cups.
Yet, he has also served lords, and even kings,
on one side of the table, or the other,
in a seat, or on a platter with a side of fixings—
served foe to foe, friend to friend, brother to brother.
He knows much, such as there is no finer grease
than that of court sycophants’ slime set afire
when they have overstayed times of peace
and times of war, each fed to his “beloved” sire.
He knows, too, the most tender of tenderloin fare
has to be coddled throughout a tender life,
and so when one duke asked for a steak, served rare,
he served to him his own pampered wife.
One lord, it must be said, was not shocked after
the Goblin Chef revealed to him his supper’s truth.
Hearing he had eaten his wife, he broke out in laughter,
saying, “Sweeter than she had ever been in life, forsooth.”
It is said that once he has a dish in his head, under his toque,
then nothing prevents him from its realization—
neither animal nor human nor fairy escape this cook,
nor even kraken or titan or demigod escape mealization.
So beware if you seek flavors with a jaded palate
or he might see in you a perfect flavor
and cut you, gut you, tenderize you with his mallet
and serve you to your loved ones to savor.
(This poem is set in the Tangleroot Universe, a universe long in the making. If you happen to be interested in this universe, please check out my ebook short story collection on Amazon “Strange Hours: Tales Of Magic And Horror”. It has many short stories and novellas in it, including four stories set in this fantasy universe: “Bone Stew”, “Getting To The Bottom Of The Problem”, “The Necromancer” and “Black Blake And The Bottled Imp”).