Tales of Meerstrand (III): Old legends

Legend of the silver spoon

Once, when the old gods roamed the lands, there was Kalvi, who has just defeated the Bony Beggar once more. The forever youthful smith was looking to replenish his supplies and came upon a town with a small market place. One stall was selling various tools and curiosities from silver. Kalvi took a liking to a small silver spoon, so he took it and paid to the old man behind the counter enough coin to sustain him and his family for 3 season cycles.

“I will be back” Kalvi said “and give you back the spoon. But you must not keep it and resell it, for misfortune will befall you”.

The old man was overwhelmed by his fortune, closed his shop and went to his wife to tell her what has transpired. His wife, an elder woman already, nodded several times and they agreed to wait for the youthful lad to come back.

After 3 cycles, Kalvi returned again in spring, bringing the spoon back. But he saw that the market stall is no longer there. He asked around and was told that the old man and his wife died not long ago, sick with fever. Kalvi was very saddened to hear this news and blamed himself for not leaving the spoon with the old man. He then turned around and gave the spoon he promised to return to a beggar on the street and told him to sell it in 3 cycles, as until then, only fortune will smile upon them. Thus it became that silver spoons are kept at homes for no longer than 3 cycles, for later, they bring only misfortune. Better give them to beggars, they need the fortune much more.

A dwarf and the wheat wraith

One day in late autumn, when Obela was busy overseeing the planting of winter crops, the malicious Wheat wraith invaded the orchards and ravaged ripe apples. The harvest was poor and folk couldn’t make enough cider for the offerings and their king, so sorrow gripped the village, people feared the wrath of gods and king.

During this time, a dwarven bard roamed into the village, playing a cheerful music and brightening people’s hearts. Folk sat around the fire just before the first snow and told him of the village woes. The dwarf huffed and puffed, but asked to bring a small barrel of pure water. Folk did as he asked: went to the forest where there was a purest stream of water and brought back a small barrel. The dwarf played his flute softly before the barrel, then put it aside, dipped his thumb into the ice cold water but for a glance.

“Drink from it” he said, sitting back and taking his flute. Men of the village sipped a little bit and felt burning sensation down their throats.

“What is this? It burns! What is this magic?”

“That is a fire liquid” the dwarf, playing the lute softly “your king will be happy, as will your gods”. From then on, the village folk respect dwarves greatly and whenever Wheat wraith turns to malice again, folk can turn to fire liquid to call for the gods.

Dorothea the turtle rider

Once in a fishing village by the sea, a beautiful maiden lived by the name of Dorothea. She was a commoner, a daughter of a fisherman and a seamstress, but many suitors came to her, asking for her hand, some promised large dowries. Dorothea became known throughout the kingdom as the most beautiful maiden ever lived and even the young prince decided to come and see her in all her beauty.

This fascination with Dorothea irked Gaila, for Gaila was dark and grey, shadowy figure that roamed the night, searching for lost souls, hounding them. In her jealousy, Gaila came many nights to Dorothea, whispering and weaving dark thoughts into girl’s head. Dorothea soon became somber, lost all joy in life and refused to see any more suitors.

One night, as Gaila was whispering to Dorothea’s ear, the girl woke and went with a boat into the sea. The night was lit by full moon, so the girl rowed far away from the shore and prepared to jump into icy water, her eyes afloat with tears, her heart sunken and heavy and her soul dark and saddened.

Dorothea jumped and waited for air to leave her lungs and her grief to end. At the last moment, Waseria looked up at the sea’s surface and saw the girl drowning. The goddess took pity on the poor girl and gave her fish lungs, releasing her from the darkness of the soul. But Dorothea could no longer return to land, nor was she a creature of the depths, so Waseria called a giant turtle Trygvis and on his back, Dorothea roams the sea to this day, seeing wonders only gods and fish would see.

The Sleeping sea

Once upon a time there was a poor fisherman that sailed in his dingy every day to bring his three daughters food from the sea. His daughters he loved more than anyone in the world and they gave him such joy, for he was old and withered and they were young and beautiful and loved him back just as much. And so, by climbing into his boat every morn, he prayed to Waseria to be kind in the seas and Magyla to not take his soul away so he could care for his daughters.

But the sea was restless all the time, waves and storms raging relentlessly and the fisherman return with naught in his nets every evening, for the storms would tear everything apart. And so, one by one, his three beautiful daughters succumbed to hunger. While burying his last daughter, the old fisherman wept in grief and proclaimed to Magyla, the goddess of death, who so willingly took his daughters’ souls, that she could have his soul too if she would punish Waseria for her cruel and capricious nature that caused his family to pass through the veil. Magyla heard his plea and answered. She told him to go to the place where mountains meet the sea and demand justice from Waseria and all the way he would have Magyla’s protection. She also gave him an old oakwood spoon, as a symbol of hunger, to give to Waseria as tribute and as a reminder of what she caused. If she will hear him, the old fisherman will join his daughters, but if not, Magyla would make him suffer for eternity, drowning him in the very sea he so loathed over and over.

Keeping the oakwood spoon close to his heart, the fisherman set out towards the mountains, climbing up and up for seven days and seven nights, hunger in his belly, but determination in his soul, or maybe protection of the deadly goddess, carrying him further until finally he reached the cliff where he could see the raging sea at his feet and saw a maiden looking out into the dark stormy waters. She was young, her hair so long it touched the ground, her figure slender, her skin pale and greenish, her dress white and tattered. The fisherman screamed at the maiden’s back, demanding answers why she wouldn’t calm the sea and let him fish. Had she no heart of her own?

Waseria turned and the fisherman could see her dark green eyes filled with anger, her face sharp and otherworldly. She approached him, her hair dancing in the wind, asking what made him different and who was he to come here and ask her to murder her own creation, the fish in the sea, so that some petty old man could live. What was he worth to her, the all-powerful goddess of the sea? The fisherman said nothing, simply took the oakwood spoon from his bosom and handed it to the sea maiden.

“Does my suffering bring you no sorrow?” he asked simply, giving her the poor-looking wooden spoon.

The look of crumbling old things, the spoon and the old man, gave pause to the goddess and she reached out towards the wood. But as soon as she touched it, her skin hardened, her eyes became motionless and she fell to the ground, a wooden figurine in the size of a lass.

The sea rumbled for the last time, the waves grew even higher, reaching for their fallen mistress. The cliff was swallowed by enormous waves, washing away the old man and the wooden statue of the goddess. And they both slept in the depths, one would never wake up, the other waiting her chance.  

For more stories of the world of Meerstrand:

Tales of Meerstrand (I): The Painter

Tales of Orcittia (I): The Huntress

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