The Travelers and the Oyster

This is modified from Aesop’s Fables, Barners & Noble Signature Edition. 

Two travelers were walking along the shore at low tide when they saw an oyster lying there. They both reached for it at the same time, the first pushed away the other, and the two raised their staves and began to fight. An old man came along and asked why they were fighting, and when they told him, all three decided that he would listen to their arguments and act as judge.

While each traveler was arguing their case, the old man slowly picked up the oyster and opened it with his knife. When the travelers were finished, the old man solemnly took out and ate the oyster meat. He then handed each traveler a shell. “This judge,” he began, “Awards you each a shell. The oyster will cover the court fee.

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The Pickle Slicer Joke

Jokes will keep us sane. Here’s one of my favorites:

Mr. Jones worked at the pickle factory for twenty years. He was on the assembly line, just a few feet from the pickle slicer.

One day he came home with his hands in his pockets, tears running down his face.

Mrs. Jones ran to him. “What happened?”

“I was fired today.”

“What?”

“For twenty years I worked on the assembly line, and each day I’ve had this terrible urge to put my finger in the pickle slicer. Today, I could resist no more, and I put my finger in the pickle slicer.”

“Oh no!” cried his wife. “That’s terrible…what happened to the pickle slicer?”

“They fired her too.”

doge in space card redux

The Feathered Princess

Here’s another fractured fairy tale. I think that this one with transfer over to bardic circles well…because it’s short 🙂

The Feathered Princess

Once there was a fisherman. He was small, and greedy, lecherous and generally unpleasant. His nets were torn and frayed, and he was too lazy to repair them. He was not a very good fisherman.

One day he was leaving his boat after a meager day’s catch, when he saw a fair maiden bathing. Being lecherous and generally unpleasant, he hid in the bushes to watch. And he noticed that on the lake’s shore was cloak made of feathers.

The fisherman knew the legends, and he knew that this fair maiden was actually a swan princess. If he could steal the cloak, she would have to marry him and he’d have all the riches he could ever want, and being greedy, that was a lot. He crept forward, very sneakily, for he was lecherous and used to creeping sneakily, and grabbed the feathered cloak.

“Ha ha!” He cried. “I have your feathered cloak, Swan Princess! Now you must marry me, and all of your riches will be mine!”

The maiden slowly left the lake and walked toward the fisherman. Her steps were small, but she walked with purpose, her flaxen hair falling behind her. She raised her arms in the air, as if to embrace the fisherman, and ran to him.

Here comes my wealthy, beautiful…and also wealthy princess, the fisherman thought as he rubbed his greedy palms together. Look at how eager she is for me to hold her.

The maiden stopped in front of him. She let her arms fall to her side.

“What do you have to say to your husband and lord?”

The maiden looked him in the eye…and hissed

“What?”

She leaned in until her face was inches from his. “HONK!”

“What?”

“HONK!” She snapped her head forward, breaking the fisherman’s nose. “HONK!” She headbutted him again, flapping her arms as she attacked.

The fisherman had made a terrible mistake, for it was not a Swan Princess, but a Goose…a horrible, horrible goose. “No! This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen. You’re supposed to be my bri–”

The goose maiden honked again, and her call brought a flock of geese to her aid. It was a flurry of honking and pecking as they savaged the fisherman, who was now crying for mercy and for his mother.

When the fisherman was finally a bleeding, crumpled mess, the geese lined up one by one. Each of them took a possession of his: the first took his net and threw it in a tree. The second took an oar from his boat and waddled away. The third took a boot that had come off of him and swam off. And they continued until everything he had was gone. Then the Goose Maiden took back her cloak, kicked him once, and pushed his boat out to the center of the lake.

For she was a Goose. A horrible, horrible, goose.

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The Frog Fable Trilogy

I am still doing my thing with Fables and Fairy Tales for the SCA. Eventually, I will compile and alter them in a Watchmage book of stories.  I’m picturing a Decameron style book (I wonder why?) These three are from Aesop, but I combined them into one narrative. Enjoy.

A wise one can learn so much from one of Aesop’s fables. But I, your humble bard, have done better. Here are three of his fables, all connected. Presenting, The Epic Frog Trilogy of Epicness!

The Frog and the Mouse

A young Mouse in search of adventure was running along the bank of a pond next to a marsh, where lived a Frog. When the Frog saw the Mouse, he swam to the bank and croaked:

“Won’t you come with me to my home in the marsh? I can promise you adventure if you do.”

The Mouse did not need much coaxing, for he was excited to see the world and everything in it. But he did not dare risk going into the pond without some help.

The Frog had an idea. He tied the Mouse’s leg to his own with a tough reed. Then into the pond he jumped, dragging his young companion with him.

The Mouse soon grew afraid and wanted to return to shore; but the treacherous Frog had other plans. He pulled the Mouse down under the water and drowned him. But before he could untie the reed that bound him to the dead Mouse, a Hawk came sailing over the pond. Seeing the body of the Mouse floating on the water, the Hawk swooped down, seized the Mouse and carried it off. But the Frog was dangling from its leg! Thus at one swoop he had caught both for his dinner. For those that seek to harm others often come to harm themselves

Perhaps this frog earned his gruesome fate, but things would get much worse for our amphibious friends in the marsh.

The Fighting Oxen and the Frog

Two Oxen were fighting furiously in a field, at one side of which was the frog’s marsh. An old Frog living there marsh trembled as he watched the fierce battle.

“What are you afraid of?” asked a young Frog.

“Do you not see,” replied the old Frog, “that the Ox who is beaten, will be driven away from the field and will live in our marsh. We shall all be trampled into the mud?”

The young frog didn’t believe him, but it turned out as the old one had said. The beaten Ox was driven to the marsh, where his great hoofs crushed many frogs to death. For When the great battle, the weak suffer for it.

And so war came to the marsh, but the frogs persevered, as one does in the face of such ribbiting tragedy. So much, that one frog earned a far different fate.

The Frog and the Ox

The beaten Ox came down to a reedy pool to drink. As he splashed heavily into the water, he crushed a young Frog, the very frog that didn’t believe the old one, into the mud.

His brothers and sisters quickly told their mother, a huge and vain frog, what had happened and who had done this.

“It was great big monster,” said one of them, “he stepped on little brother with one of his huge feet!”

“Big, was he!” said the mother Frog, puffing herself up. “Was he as big as this?”

“Oh, much bigger!” they cried.

The Frog puffed up still more.

“He could not have been bigger than this,” she said. But the little Frogs all declared that the monster was much, much bigger and the old Frog kept puffing herself out more and more until, all at once, she burst. It was a horrible mess, frog guts everywhere.

Now the medieval moralists that preserved Aesop’s fables present the moral of this story as one should not attempt the impossible. But I humbly disagree. Attempt the impossible! Be larger than what you are. For though you may burst in the attempt, spilling frog guts everywhere, just before that moment, you will be larger, greater, more impossible, than you ever imagined you could be.

doge in space card redux

The Day I Took A Piece of the Rainbow

Here’s yet another story fairy tale, this one in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve been telling a version of this at SCA events, but I finally wrote it down. Some form of it will likely end up in the Watchmage anthology. Enjoy.

(BTW, The first book in the Watchmage Chronicles is still only 99 cents. If you like these shorts, support your humble writer friend and pick the book up.

Watchmage black

One day, I fell in love with a fair maiden, but she would only marry me if I brought her a present of great worth, one that no one else could ever possess. Being the man that I am, I swore that I would bring her a piece of the rainbow, the most powerful of charms, or never return.

I sailed to find the end of the rainbow, where I could chip off a piece. Who would miss a tiny piece? I thought.  So, we sailed to the North, the West, the South, and the East. We sailed in the circle…we were all pretty drunk.

But I followed that rainbow. I went by sea and by sail, rode over hill and dale…even over Chip. Finally, I came to the end of the rainbow. It ended at the roof of a stone guard house, and in front of the guardhouse was a fierce leprechaun, armed with a mighty hammer that he held with two hands. Around his neck was a tiny piece of the rainbow.

Leprechaun

The leprechaun growled as he waved his hammer at me. “Ye canno’ have me gold, b’hoy. Leave, afore I squash ye flat.”

“I don’t want your gold, only a piece of the rainbow.”

“Wha’?” He stepped forward to squash me flat, or at least my kneecaps.

“I brought gifts” and I retrieved four bottles of whiskey from my cart.

“Leave da whiskey,” he said. “Now move yer feet backward.” He slapped his hammer against one hand.”

But I knew a secret about leprechauns. They can’t resist a challenge. I looked at the stone wall of the guard house. “I’ll wager with you that I can knock down this wall with four strokes. If I win, you give me a piece of the rainbow. If I lose, I’ll give you this whiskey, and you can squash me flat.”

The leprechaun laughed. “Wager accepted! These walls have lasted a thousand years. That whiskey and yer squashed head are mine!”

So I went to the wall and stretched as if I was ready to perform some great feat of strength. I raised my hand over my head. “Here goes…”

*knock* upon the wall. *knock* in front of my eyes. *knock* at my waist. *knock* at my knees.

I turned around and grinned.

The leprechaun looked at me dumbfounded, his hammer fell to his side, for he knew I had won. I knocked down the wall.

curing in Gaelic, he snatched the piece of the rainbow hanging from his neck and threw it at me. I left him the whiskey, for I knew that he’d need to drink his sorrows away.

And I returned to my love and presented her the piece of the rainbow, the most powerful of charms. But she refused me. She instead chose a man with a…bigger charm.

And that is why I wear this chunk of rainbow around my neck. It’s not the size of the charm that matters. It’s how you win it.

cosmic-cat tripping balls redux

The Shepherd Boy Dovid

This developed from a chat with a friend, and I decided to finish it for her. It’s very silly, but so am I…

Come gather round dear children, and heed the words I say
A tale of bravery and woe to make you cry “oy vey!”
For when the sky grew dark, and so many ran and hid,
There stood one boy against the wolves, a shepherd boy Dovid.

Dovid he was out one day, a-minding all the sheep,
He listened to them “baa” and he listened to them bleat.
He put his horn up to his mouth and played a tune he did,
For no one blew his horn quite like the shepherd boy Dovid

The sheep oh they did dance around, The chickens and cattle too
Goats swung each other by the beards, a 23 Skiddoo!
The dogs! The Cats! The bunnies! The Bats! They frolicked and they slid.
They loved to hear the music of the shepherd boy Dovid.

The villagers–boo– they did not like young Dovid and his tune.
He should be far more serious, not horning to the moon
Until one fateful day, when the troubles flipped its lid.
They learned their one true hero was the shepherd boy Dovid.

10 packs of wolves came from the west, all nasty fangs and fur,
they gnashed their teeth and how they howled, they “grrred” a fearsome “grrr”
The people they all ran away from both ends to the mid,
All except that horney boy, the shepherd boy Dovid.

The wolves prepared to feast upon the animals a-dancin’
They circled round the sheep, oh, no escape a-chancin’
The sheep all bleated: mistreated, left feeted, and scared from tail to nib
But the wolves were in for a surprise: the shepherd boy Dovid.

Dovid put the horn back to his lips and he began to blow
A tune no wolf had heard before nor one they’d ever know
For wolves are smart and wolves are fierce but wolves know no music,
especially not the tunes of the shepherd boy Dovid

The wolves big paws, they came with claws, and now began to dance
They wagged their tails and booped their snoots, a prelude to romance.
They twirled around the sheep and goats but did not bite or nip,
For they were too entranced by the shepherd boy Dovid

And all those wolves, they danced all night to the music of the horn,
and they were all a-fast asleep by the coming of the morn.
And Dovid led his sheepies home to where the sheepies lived
And not a sheep was lost because of the shepherd boy Dovid

The next day all the people returned and oh to their surprise
Their sheep, their chickens, their goats, their cows all staring with big eyes
The animals they had judged them all, they knew what they had did,
And not one of them was half as brave as the shepherd boy Dovid

Now no one ever complained again when Dovid played his horn,
And secretly they smiled, and they never were forlorn,
They learned that music is special, and worth a hefty bid,
And especially the music of the shepherd boy Dovid

doge in space card redux

 

 

The Pig and the Chicken

Over the weekend I visited my friend. He has about two dozen chickens and recently got a domesticated pig (i forget the breed but it won’t be more than 300 pounds tops). Right now it’s a piglet and no more than 30 pounds. No…no pet is eaten at this house, although the chickens lay some mighty fine eggs.

The new piglet wanders around the yard, rooting for…well…roots. That’s pretty much what he does all day. And the chickens ignore him. Except for one.

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The Fly on the Wall: Another Weirdass Fable

The following was inspired by a huge fly that got into Katie’s apartment last night and pissed me off with its flyness and flyosity.

Once upon a time, there was a fly. He was not a sly fly, nor a cry fly. He was not my fly or your fly or anybody’s fly. He was Guy the Fly, just a simple fly in an unsimple world, a world where he could find no picnics to sample and faced all sorts of predators that wanted to predatize him with their predatory ways.

One day Guy was fleeing…no…flying…away from one of these predators when he saw with his hundred eyes a rectangular-shaped cave. It was cool in the cave, and Guy could see with his hundred eyes that there was raw chicken breast on a baking sheet in the kitchen. “What luck!” He buzzed. “I can eat a tiny bit of that chicken and there is nothing that will attack me. This is paradise!”

The cave closed shortly after Guy the Fly flew into it, but Guy was not perturbed. He had flown a long way before he saw the cave, and was not afraid of such odd occurrences. But when a giant, fleshy hand swatted at him, Guy went from unperturbed to very, very perturbed.

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The Canadian Burning of the White House (A totally true history…seriously)

Most Americans foolishly believe–as our lying teachers and textbooks have told us for 200 years–that it was the English that sailed from Chesapeake Bay and laid waste to Washington DC, burning the White House. Of course, this is a lie made by lying liars for their own agendas. The truth is far more sinister and involves our “polite” neighbors to the North: Canada.

In the Spring of 1814, after the glaciers receded from the Canadian wilderness, the Sovereign State of Canada launched a dastardly attack, cutting a swath of destruction from New York to all points south, ending with a deplorable burning of the sacred American Capitol. Here is the absolutely true story of the Candian assault on our land.

The Armored Moose Cavalry

Beginning in Montreal, the Canadian forces crossed the St. Lawrence River and marched south. At the head of the attack was Lt. Colonel Tim Horton, who led the feared Canadian Armored Moose Calvary. The moose were layered in steel, with spikes adorning their antlers. Their riders carried curved axes called “hockey sticks.” They trampled through the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York. Wherever they stopped, they built a coffee shop named after their leader. Some stand even to this day, though under the name “Stewarts.”

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Lt Col Horton in his dress uniform

Following the cavalry shock troops were massive cannons mounted on Zambonis fueled by something later called “Crown Royal.” Carried in special pouches, this mighty fuel allowed the Zambonis to travel great distances, gliding across the terrain as if they were on ice. Behind them were the Canadian riflemen, bedecked in their plaid, flannel uniforms, though the officers wore denim trousers and open denim jackets with a wolf shirt beneath.

Supporting their assault was perhaps the Canadians’ most vicious and barbaric weapon, the Canadian Geese Air Corps. These fierce creatures rained fetid death from above, from which there was no escape. When opposing troops saw their flying V pattern overhead, they ran, for no man can match the ferocity of a Canadian Goose.

The Canadians sacked Albany, then plowed south, skirting New York City and instead attacking the port of Newark. Oh, how the streets of Newark ran sticky with syrup that day. The barbarous Canadians celebrated their victory with a feast of sliced and fried potatoes smothered in gravy and cheese curds. They called this food  “cheese fries with gravy (note: translated from Olde Canadian).” It is still on the menu of most New Jersey diners, though I dare say that they don’t know its sinister origins (or do they?).

The Canadian March South

They continued south, and the American militias were helpless against them. They fled at the sight of the armored moose and geese assaults, and Horton’s hockey hackers cut them down. After bringing polite destruction down on Philadephia, Horton split his forces. One-third of Horton’s troops headed west, laying waste to Appalachia in Virginia and Kentucky. The most famous battle of their western campaign was the Bowling Green Massacre #neverforget.

The rest of Horton’s troops moved south toward the Capitol. The American troops stood ready, but with a fierce battle cry of “yeh hoser!” the armored moose cavalry charged. There was no stopping the massive beasts, and the moose were just as fearsome. The Zamboni artillery fired double-doubles upon the left flank of the American troops, scalding them and driving them to flight. President Madison and his wife Dolly fled the White House, Dolly taking the portrait of George Washington with her before the Canadians could desecrate it with slabs of Canadian Bacon.

And there, on the 24th of August, 1814, Lt. Col. Horton sacked Washington DC and burned the White House. They then celebrated with some Molsons and danced to Nickelback all night long.

Nickelback

Nickelback: the greatest of outrages

Aftermath

Eventually, there came peace, and Horton’s Hackers returned to the Great White North. But they left a legacy across America. You see, no Maple Tree ever grew in America before the Canadian assault, but one intrepid rifleman named Johnny Mapleseed planted acorns along the Canadian army’s path. Without this young man, there would be no American maple syrup.

The discarded bags for the Crown Royal were later discovered to be excellent dice pouches for 19th-century games such as “Cellars and Cholera.”

Canada later said that they were sorry for the burning, and especially for Nickelback.

doge in space card redux