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The story is only nine pages long, and has few, but significant differences from the show version.
In both versions, the parents have an almost obsessive compulsive need to turn any explanation into a tall tale. The underlying moral to this story is that if you lie enough, you eventually get to the truth whether you realize it or not. We never learn the true names of the parents, but we are given the names of the son and daughter, which are Jimbo and Stefa.
In the story, the creation of the Grither is left unknown. The father barely has time to get the story started before a set of grandparents show up to enjoy Christmas Eve with the family. In the show however, we find out that the Grither was born on a sailing ship that got lost in the Arctic sea. They drifted about for weeks but saw nothing except icebergs and glaciers. Some passengers drowned or froze to death or committed suicide. The Grither was born out of the rage of all of those people who died. No one knows exactly why the Grither kills, other than selfish pride.
In both versions, the Grither lives in the hull of an ancient packet ship in the ice flows of the arctic circle. In the show however, the ship is located in a cave on the opposite side of a mountain range that flanks Santa's Workshop. The monster is imbued with a paranormal hearing ability that allows him to keep tabs on anyone in the world who speaks his name. Once he hears his name spoken, he sets off to find the culprit and murder them; for there's only one Grither in the entire world, and he believes himself to be so special that he should never be mentioned. The only way to deter the Grither from murdering his victim is if said victim finishes the story of the Grither which details his creation and general MO before the Grither arrives, a story known by very few, since it is said that no one has ever escaped their fate once the Grither has set out.
The Grither also hates being cold and wet, which is mentioned in both the show and the story. In the story however, JImbo asks the rational question, " Then why Doesn't he leave?" Father answers by saying "He Does. Everytime he hears anyone speaking his name aloud." He's doesn't like gossip, and he's always glad for the chance to go somewhere to stifle it.
In both versions, the Grither gains its moniker from its mode of dispatching his victims by "grithering" them in; a form of crushing which the father uses a grabbing hug as an example. He has fists as big as basketballs, arms as long as boa constrictors, and a body as tall and as supple as a poplar tree. In the show, the Grithers ears grow a bit larger everytime his name is said, which is something that does not happen in the story. The children, more specifically Jimbo, says his name so many time that he is informed by his Father that the Grither can now use them as wings, and now moves in even faster for the inevitable kill.
In the show, the Grither is very pale with red and white veins that show up like a road map. In the story however, the Grither is translucent. You can see right through him, as if he were made of melting, colorless gelatin, and looks like a plastic road map due to the veins twisting inside of him. In the story they help hold him together and keep him warm against the stinging cold of the arctic waste. In both versions, the red veins are filled rage, and the blue veins are filled with fear. Only in the show do we find out that the fear and rage comes from the victims of the lost sailing ship scenario.
Both versions of the story contain a song that the Grither sings to keep himself entertained. In the show, the father tries to take credit for hearing the Grithers song, but is corrected by the mother when Stefa denies belief that her father heard the Grither singing the song to himself within his arctice home. The mother tells the children that it was their Uncle Michael who heard the song, who then taught it to her before teaching it to their father. No questions like this arise in the story. The Grither's song from the story, while sharing similarities, is also different than the show:
From The Story
I am the Grither, gruesome and hungry
Here I come, folks,
All the while grimacing.
You cannot escape me - it's simply impossible.
Don't even try.
I am the Grither, crude and most grum.
Pleading is useless.
So are your prayers - also your rabbit's feet.
The Grither is greedy
For only one thing:
To silence your gossip, folks.
That's why this song says
Your moments are numbered.
I'm quite sorry for you.
I'm quite sorry for you.
So please do accept
My most heartfelt apologies.
From The Show
"Oh, I am the Grither
You cannot escape me,
For pleading is useless
And so are your prayers
The Grither is greedy,
For only one thing,
To keep you from taking
To keep you from taking
To keep you from taking
His name in vain."
There are further verses that tell what he looks like, but we never find out what they are as something that claims that it is the Grither begins beating on the front door as it sings the Grithers song. This happens in both versions.
In the show, its uncle "Michael" who shows up and pretends he is the Grither to scare the children. I think this is a nod to author Michael Bishop, but there's really no basis other than coincidence. In the story however, its the grandfather who acts as if hes the Grither. The children, being the children they are, begin to panic before they realize that its eithier releative given their respective versions. Stefa hides behind the Christmas Tree and begins lobbing presents in the direction of the door in the show version, while JImbo hides behind his fathers chair. In the story however, both children hide behind the fathers chair, and the entire family is given a fright when grandpa barges through the door. Both the Uncle and Grandfather are dressed head to toe in various fur cloathing, concealing their idenity until they remove their hats and scarves.
The endings are also different. In both versions, once Uncle Michael and Grandpa are revealed to not be the Grither, the children are still panicked because the father has not finished the story, meaning the real Grither is still on his way. The mother, becoming tired of the sharade, forces the father to admit that he made the whole thing up. The show version then has a winter storm blow open the door. The wind knocks the uncle into the dining room, the MOther and Father into their respective chaits within the living room, and Stefa positons herself against a wall between the two front windows in the room. With obvious struggle, Jimbo forces the door closed, and the parents ask their children if they're okay. Stefa screams that it was the Grither, and as her mother tells her theres no such thing, the Grither reaches its long arms in through the windows, picks up the Mother and Father by their heads, and snaps their necks. Uncle Michael and the children survive. In the story however, the impression is given that no one survives. In the last scene of the story, Jimbo and Stefa are picking up their crayons while the Adults go into the kitchen for coffee and doughnuts. As they tidy up they happen to look out the window and see the Grither looking in at them. The last line of the story is as follows:
"But because they weren't a bit surprised, Stefa and Jimbo didn't even scream...."
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