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Blessed Almalexia's Fables for Afternoon


The Crow and the Netch

One day a curious crow decided to fly farther than he ever flew before. He flew and flew and finally came upon a creature that he found very strange.

"Friend!" he called as he flew by the creature. "Friend, what is it that you are? I have never seen a flying beast such as you!"

"They call me a netch," the good netch replied.

"A netch! A netch! That's quite the catch!" the crow cackled. "Tell me, netch, how is it that you fly?"

"I've flown these shores since I was born," the netch replied. "I do not know how."

"Don't know, don't' know, oh what a show!" the crow called out. "Where are your glossy feathers that help you glide?"

"I have no need of feathers to glide," the netch explained, "but I have a strong, thick hide to protect me."

"A hide! A hide! Oh, what a find," the crow mocked. "Tell me netch, where are your eyes?"

"I need no eyes to sail the skies, as you can plainly see," the netch once more replied.

"No eyes, no eyes, to sail the skies!" the prideful crow continued. "But it makes you far uglier than I!" And he began to laugh at the netch's misfortune.

The crow's laughter grew louder and louder, eventually attracting a nearby cliff-racer. The beast swooped down upon the crow, swallowing him whole, and he could mock the netch no more.

The netch simply sighed and said, "Mocking others is for naught, for none can change their own weakness."

* * *

The Gifted Guar

One day a farmer decided to give his daughter a gift. She had started a family of her own, and he wished good fortune for her. He chose his finest guar and brought it to his daughter's new home.

His daughter was delighted at this gift, but her husband only glared.

"You didn't even let us choose?" the husband asked angrily. "What if this guar is sick, or old, or weak? I must at least inspect it before it's left in our care!"

The daughter tried to calm her husband, but the farmer simply nodded and said, "You may examine this guar as you see fit."

The husband inspected every inch of the guar, even forcing the beast to open its mighty jaws to look at the state of its teeth.

"Well, it will have to do," the husband conceded, though he knew it was a fine guar indeed.

The farmer stroked his chin. "You know, I think you're right. You should be able to pick whichever guar you wish. I know there's plenty for sale in the local market."

The husband simply gaped as his father-in-law walked back home, guar in hand.

His wife slapped her husband's arm and told him, "You fool! Never look a gift guar in the mouth!"

* * *

The Child of the Councilor

One summer's day, a councilor was walking along the market in her splendid regalia, attended by her many servants. She was so splendid that a small mer in the crowd told his mother, "I wish my mother was a councilor, instead of you!"

The little mer never expected the councilor to hear him, nor did he expect her to turn toward him in the crowd.

"I have heard your wish, little one, and I accept," she told the open-mouthed little mer. "You will be my child, and you will have all that you wish."

The little mer was immediately taken to the councilor's manor and placed in a room with toys and sweets. He laughed and clapped his hands, playing and eating all he wished. But soon he grew bored and went to speak to a servant.

"It's no fun playing by myself," he told the servant. "Can I have someone to play with?"

"The child of the councilor has no equal," the servant told him. "There is none worthy to play with you."

The little mer had little time to think on this when a scholar came to his room. The scholar looked upon the little mer with scorn and said, "Your lessons should have begun hours ago! The child of the councilor must know many great things."

The little mer was made to listen to the scholar's lectures for hours and hours, and soon his head ached with all that he was to know.

Eventually it was time for dinner, but the little mer's troubles were not over.

"In those clothes? In that state?" cried his servant, horrified. "You must be washed and clothed if you are to be presented as the child of the councilor!" And so the little mer was scrubbed roughly and forced into very uncomfortable clothes.

By this point the little mer was almost in tears. He missed his home, and his clothes, and his friends. But most of all he missed his mother, who he had never gone a day without.

When the little mer was finally sent to the dining hall, he was met with a surprise. Seated at the dining table was his family, all laughing and smiling. He ran to his mother arms and cried, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I want you to be my mother after all!"

The councilor, who was seated at the head of the table, smiled and told the little mer, "You have learned a very important lesson, my child. We often forget to be thankful for what we have, when thinking only of what we want."

Blessed Almalexia's Fables for Evening


Sotha Sil and the Stars

Young Sotha Sil lay upon a patch of moss and gazed up at the stars. Driven by his great love of maths, his mind turned to counting. "I shall count every star and give each a name!" he resolved. For hours he counted and named until, at length, his eyes tired and he drifted off to sleep.

When morning came, Sotha Sil woke with a start and looked up at the sky. Alas, all the stars had vanished. He buried his face in his hands and began to weep, for he had learned a harsh lesson. You see, child, time cages all tasks.

* * *

The Strongest Nix-Ox

A great nix-ox trumpeted to its herd, "None of you love the master more than I! Do you see what great burdens I bear?"

"But you are twice our size!" the lesser nix-oxen grumbled. "Better for us to carry four bales of saltrice than struggle with six and risk great injury."

"Bah!" the mighty nix-ox snorted. "It's hard work you fear, not injury." The great beast took up its yoke and trudged out into the field.

The lesser nix-oxen gathered by a fence and watched their mighty brother take up two bales of saltrice, then four bales, then six, eight, ten! Until at last, the great nix-ox was laden with twelve full bales. "Do you see?" it said, straining for breath. "None of you love the master more than I!"

Just then, the nix-ox's shell began to crack under the weight. It let out a painful bellow and collapsed under the bales - crushed to death.

The lesser nix-oxen sighed and shook their heads. "Poor fool. He learned too late that there is no mortal strength without limits."

* * *

The Tale of the Frozen Guar

A lonely guar struggled through the Ashlands on a cold, moonless night. The wind was frosty and bitter and chilled the animal to the bone. "Alas!" it cried, "I will die here, alone in the cold."

Just then, the guar caught sight of a faint orange glow in the distance. "A campfire?" it barked hopefully, "It must be! It must be!"

The guar raced toward the light, its feet growing warmer with every step. Soon, the cold gave way to a sweltering heat. The air grew thick and acrid, searing the guar's nostrils and lungs. But still, it hurried on, barking, "It must be a campfire! It must be! It must be!"

Finally, the guar reached the orange glow. Alas, it was not a campfire, but a great flow of lava. The guar, so seduced by the warmth, gave this truth no heed. It sprinted to the lava's edge and tripped on a loose stone. With one last joyful bark, the beast landed headfirst in the fiery liquid and died.

So you see, child, a fool's thirst for safety carries its own risks.

* * *

The Most Beautiful Netch

A netch mother once said to her calf, "You, my darling, are the most beautiful netchling in all these isles. No bull is worthy of you!"

For years the netch's vanity grew. Many worthy bulls approached her with loving intent, but she rebuffed them all, saying, "Do you not know that I am the most beautiful netch in all these isles? None of you are worthy of me!"

At length, the netch grew old and weary. "Alas, I shall die alone!" she cried.

A young netch couple passed her by and sighed at her wretched condition. "We must be cautious with our calves," the betty said. "Smothering a child with praise does nothing but harm."

Blessed Almalexia's Fables for Morning


The Tallest Shroom Beetle

A shroom beetle, lamenting its small stature, crawled to the top of a great mushroom. It gazed out over the Ashlands and cried, "Ha! There is no shroom beetle taller than I! There is nothing I cannot see!"

Just then, a cliff racer swooped down and plucked the beetle from its perch. The beast grinned a wide toothy grin and said, "Had you stayed on the ground, I never would have seen you. Is it not better to be short than dead?"

Alas, the beetle learned too late that forsaking one's nature brings nothing but ruin.

* * *

The Tale of Two Herders

Two guar herders met in the market square, preparing to sell their stock. The shorter of the two laughed at the other and jeered, "You bring only one guar to market? Look upon my herd! I have brought ten and twenty and stand to make a fortune!"

The tall herder merely shook his head. "You may have ten and twenty guars, but they are scrawny and frail. Better to have one steady beast than a hundred sickly ones."

The short herder released an oafish chuckle and prepared to usher his beasts into the pens. Just then, a great ash storm arrived and pummeled the market with howling winds and choking fumes.

Eventually, the storm relented. The tall herder and his great, strong guar were unharmed, but the short herder's guars were thrown this way and that, and not one of them had survived.

"Do you see now, my friend?" the tall herdsman said. "Numbers are no substitute for quality."

* * *

The Friendly Alit

A jovial alit pranced across the Ashlands, ever watchful for a beast it could call "friend." Presently it came upon a nix-hound who was preening itself in an ashpit. The alit smiled a great smile and cried out, "Greetings, friend!" The nix-hound, seeing the alit's huge teeth, panicked and dashed under a rock. The alit sighed and pranced on.

In due course it came upon a vvardvark rooting through a beetle-nest. "Hello!" the alit shouted, smiling widely and revealing its huge, sharp teeth. The vvardvark squealed in terror and scampered off into the bushes. The alit released another mournful sigh, and trundled on toward the shore.

Finally, it spotted an ash-hopper rolling in the sand. The alit summoned up its widest, most cheerful smile and said, "Hail, ash-hopper!" The ash-hopper leapt back in horror and sprung away as fast as it could.

The alit was heartbroken. "I will never have a friend as long as I have these terrible teeth!" it hissed. The beast resolved to be done with them altogether. It took a huge rock in its mouth and bit down hard—knocking out all its teeth like a box of loose nails. "Finally," it sighed "other beasts will no longer be afraid!"

Just then a great Kagouti arrived, stomping its feet and preparing to pounce. The alit growled and opened its wide jaws to frighten the predator away, but the kagouti just laughed. "You fool! You've no teeth left in your head!" The alit realized its folly too late. The kagouti lunged and swallowed the cheerful beast in one huge gulp.

So you see, child - that which we hate in ourselves is often our greatest gift.

* * *

Vivec and the Cripple

Lord Vivec, while walking down a road, came upon a cripple with a gnarled and withered hand. "Young bravo!" the cripple cried, "Will you not help an oathman in need?"

Vivec stood before the cripple and furrowed his brow. "What is wrong with you, old mer?" he queried.

The cripple lifted his hand and replied, "Do you not see my withered hand? It is twisted as old roots and pains me greatly when the storms roll in. Women shun me because of its ugliness, and children run at the sight of it. Please, have pity!"

Vivec stood quiet for a moment, then drew his bright sword and severed the mer's hand in one clean stroke. The cripple howled in pain as the warrior-poet dressed the wound.

"Do not bawl so, old mer," said Vivec. "Do you not see that I have done you the greatest kindness? Better to be done with an evil than to carry it on for pity's sake."

The Homilies of Blessed Almalexia


Sotha Sil and the Scribs

Young Sotha Sil, while playing in the egg mines, saw a number of scribs in a deep shaft, and he began to cast stones upon them, snickering as they skittered and scattered, until one of the scribs, lifting its head up in agony, cried out to Sotha Sil: "Please, please, have mercy, little boy, for what is sport to you is suffering and death to us."

And so Sotha Sil discovered that the idle of amusements of one may be the solemn tortures of another.

Lord Vivec and the Contentious Beasts

A shalk and a kagouti were strutting back and forth in a foyada, casting aspersions of one another's looks. "You are the ugliest creature alive," the shalk told the kagouti. "No, YOU are the ugliest creature alive," the kagouti told the shalk. For each thought himself most handsome, and the other most ugly.

Then Lord Vivec chanced by, and settled their dispute. "No, you BOTH are the ugliest creatures alive, and I will not have my pleasant sojourn spoiled by your unseemly squabbling." So he dealt them both mighty blows, shattering their skulls, and silencing their argument, and went merrily upon his way.

And thus Lord Vivec proved that ugliness is as much in one's manner as in one's appearance.

The Boiled Kagouti

It is said that if a kagouti steps into a boiling pool, he will leap out immediately to avoid harm.

But if the kagouti is standing in a pool, and a wizard slowly raises the temperature, measure by measure, to boiling, the kagouti will calmly stand in place until he is boiled.

Thus we see that we must be alert not only to the obvious danger, but also to the subtle degrees by which change may result in danger.

The Dubious Healer

Once upon a time, a Telvanni issued forth from his tower and proclaimed to all the world that he was a mighty and learned healer, master of all alchemy and potions, and able to cure all diseases.

Lord Vivec looked upon this wizard, and listened to his boasting, then asked him, "How can you pretend to prescribe for others the cure to all diseases, when you are unable to cure yourself of your own manifest arrogance and foolishness?"

The Guar and the Mudcrabs

The Guar were so tormented by the other creatures they did not know where to go. As soon as they saw a single beast approach them, off they dashed in terror.

One day they saw a pack of Nix-hounds ranging about, and in a desperate panic all the Guar scuttled off towards the sea, determined to drown themselves rather than live in such a continual state of fear. But just as they got near the shoreline, a colony of Mudcrabs, frightened in their turn by the approach of the Guar, scuttled off, and threw themselves into the water.

'Truly,' said one of the Guar, “things are not so bad as they seem. For there is always someone worse off than you."

The Wounded Netch

A wounded Netch lay himself down in a quiet corner of its feeding-ground. His healthy companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, yet each one helped himself to a share of the fodder which had been placed there for his use; so that the poor Netch died, not from his wounds, but from the greed and carelessness of his erstwhile friends.

And so it is clear that thoughtless companions may bring more harm than help.