Nutcracker with Troll Hair (or something)

By |


[The auction for this Significant Object, with story by Adam Davies, has ended. Original price: $1. Final price: $14.50.]



Love Totem

The “Sylvia St. Etienne” edition

This is the only witness to — or, some say, the cause of — the tragic death of
legendary chanteuse and muse to famous Ecuadorian footballer

Francisco Chavarria



The artifact is in good condition.  Some slight damage, consistent with the violence of the wreckage, on the Tres Marias rabbit headpiece and on the hand-painted ovoid eyes.  Otherwise the piece is exquisitely preserved, including (as required by the folk magic tradition) Mr. Chavarria’s “plasma donation.”

The Mr. Yodels Tradition:

DSC01526Jacob Tauxe, the notorious “Swiss Voodoo Houngan” from Bern, designed the original line of ceramic Mr. Yodels figurines employed by frustrated suitors as love totems.  By a feat of acoustic engineering yet to be explained satisfactorily, all custom-made Mr. Yodels figurines produce a distinctive upper-and-lower register song — the “love yodel” — when placed at an open window by which the loved one walks, provoking powerful spontaneous feelings of pair-bonding, veneration, and leghumpery.

Dangerous and unsanctioned Do-It-Yourself models — those made without knowledge of the proper techniques or precautions — are rumored to be responsible for the unions of Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett, Woody Allen and relatives, Elizabeth Taylor et al., Chrysler and Daimler, and others.

The “Sylvia St. Etienne” Mr. Yodels:

Caracas, 1956.  The fiery Ecuadorian striker Francisco Chavarria meets the legendary Hollywood songstress Sylvia St. Etienne, best known for her sultry interpretations of “Ashes in my D-Cup,” “Cabana in Urbana,” and “That Was It?”

For seven glorious, champagne-drenched, strawberry-inserting, mogul-free weeks the couple was inseparable — until Ms. St. Etienne met the mogul Sven “Big Krona” Uggla.  Then they separated.

Heartbroken, and publicly humiliated, Mr. Chavarria vowed to get her back, but Ms. St. Etienne was — as they say in Monte Carlo — “avec mogul.”  With no other recourse to intercourse, the jilted footballer traveled to Switzerland and implored Mr. Tauxe to fashion for him the most powerful of all Mr. Yodelses. But the Swiss Voodoo priest, bitter over Mr. Chavarria’s last-second game-winning header over the Swiss, refused.

Desperate, Mr. Chavarria fashioned his own Mr. Yodels, ignorant of the necessary protocols, and tied it underneath the passenger seat of Big Krona’s BMW 507 roadster, thinking, you know: The windows will be down. Gotta work.

Only ten hours later, after Sylvia St. Etienne gave the last performance of her life, singing the hits from “Hurry Up, These Sheets Itch and I’m Sweating,” “Waiter! There’s a Jackass in my Demitasse!” and “Side-Saddle Won’t Work,” she drove off into the night with Big Krona and plunged to her death in a mountain gorge.

All that remains of the great singer are her treasured recordings—and, now, available for the first time to the public, from the estate of Mr. Abernathy Hastings of Newport, this gloriously preserved Mr. Yodels.

DSC01524Look at the eyes:  you can almost see what Francisco Chavarria saw.

Witness the ears:  you can almost hear what Francisco Chavarria heard.

Observe the mouth:  you can fit a Bud Kinger in that thing.

Reserve set low by request of the estate, this auction represents a rare opportunity to own the last remaining vestige of one of the 20th century’s most tragic love stories.

It may also possibly crack walnuts.


Adam Davies is the author of The Frog King, Goodbye Lemon, and Mine All Mine.

8 thoughts on “Nutcracker with Troll Hair (or something)

  1. I have the mate of the love troll hair nutcracker; they were torn apart, separated upon the tragic death of Sylvia.
    It is capable of cracking walnuts if they are very young and willing to enter that deep maw!
    Perhaps they should be reunited in the twenty-first century…

  2. Pingback: Intrinsic Appeal | Significant Objects

  3. Pingback: Houseware or Novelty? Cast your vote! | Significant Objects

  4. I would like to send a photo of my nutcracker, but being technically illiterate, I am unable to post it. Would you like a postcard?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *