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On Playing the Frogs

Author: 
Toralf

Helga, you'll never believe what I saw the other day. I was walking through Tadulpa and came upon a small group of Argonian musicians. Most were playing clay flutes and lizard-hide drums, but one was playing the craziest instrument I've ever seen. He called it a "vossa-satl." Apparently, there are all kinds of vossa-satls—some as small as a jaw harp and some as big as a pipe organ! My new friend's vossa-satl was about the size of a game hen. Sounded a bit like a game hen, too.

The instrument looks kind of like a polished wooden clam shell with a series of valves along the top. Each segment of the shell is actually a small, hollow compartment with a mouth like a bugle (the one I saw had five). According to the musician, each chamber is a different size and produces a different tone.

Now here's the craziest part. They put live frogs inside! My friend was kind enough to open his vossa-satl to show me the five small frogs within, one in each chamber! He gushed over them like a new mother showing off her babies. He told me their names, what they did for fun, and what they liked to eat. The only thing he didn't tell me is where he found them. Apparently, the location of their spawning pond is a tightly guarded secret.

Before every performance, he squirts a few drops of frog-musk into each compartment. This drives the frogs wild and sets them chirping and croaking like mad. By pushing the valves, he's able to muffle certain chambers while leaving others open. This allows for some bizarre but harmonious notes! I could scarcely believe it! I offered to buy his instrument on the spot, but he refused. Just as well, I suppose. I doubt those frogs would survive a winter in Windhelm. I ended up buying you a flute instead. Not the most exciting instrument, but I'm sure it'll sound better than that old goat-horn bugle you love to play!

Best,

Toralf