The Christmas Cat, in Shadowplay


“Everyone knows the Christmas Cat, he’s angry, huge, and mean,” begins the story of inequality and injustice for the poor, with the feline ogre who punishes those who fail to perform for their overlords. Retold in a shadow puppet play from the Icelandic story of Jólakötturinn, by Layla Holzer and Spike Dennis.

A shadow puppet film inspired by the Icelandic tale of The Christmas Cat by Layla Holzer and Spike Dennis

“He feasted on the very poor,
Who worked the Christmas through,
But still had no new clothes to wear,
No coat, no shirt, no shoe.”

STORY: Labor Taskmaster: The Yule Cat Monster of Iceland

Christmas Cat, Jólakötturinn

Poem excerpts from “The Christmas Cat,” an English version of ‘Jólakötturinn’ by Jóhannes úr Kötlum, taken from “Bad Santas and other Creepy Christmas Characters” by Paul Hawkins, published by Simon & Schuster.

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About The Outpost regularly posts articles, photo essays, features, and documentaries from around the web that illuminate the challenges to coexistence between city and wild, developed and developing, human and other. To reach out, write to jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow us on Twitter @WilderUtopia