Writing 2014-04-30

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Sighvat catches up to the two foxes shortly after they leave the Court.  This is easy, as he has much longer legs, and they are carrying Agh.  The troll says, “Hey, foxes.  Let me help.”

Locha looks nervous about the huge troll, but Larrikan knows Sighvat can easily handle a Shy Folk.  He says, “It would be a big help if you could help us get him back to the Gather.”

Sighvat says, “Yah, your camp stay secret.”  Locha looks shocked at this, but Larrikan just smiles at the troll.  The troll tells Locha, “Is okay.  Trolls know Shy Folk very long time.”

The big troll gathers Agh up gently, cradling the Shy Folk in his arms, as some would carry an infant.  He walks slowly enough so the two Shy Folk can keep up easily, and comments, “Come to troll fire tonight, will ask skald to sing story of time Shy Folks’ Family Circle inside trollhome.”  He grins, and says, “True story!  Trolls know Shy Folk long time.”

Locha says, “Really?  That is… a hard tale to believe.”

Sighvat chuckles, says, “Song probably half bullshit, ja.  Lots of old ballads that way.”  He adds, “But true, too.  Just need understand important parts.”

Locha smiles, and says, “Ah.  I know many songs like that.”

Sighvat smiles, satisfied, and says, “Sure!  Shy Folk full of music and tales.  Knew you understand.”  He looks meaningfully at Larrikan and tells him, “Shy Folk trust trolls, ja?”

Agh replies, unexpectedly, “Aye.  Trolls have been good friends for a very long time.”

“You awake!” Sighvat exclaims, “How feeling?”

“Good, all things considered,” Agh says, “but my entire face feels like a giant bruise.”

Sighvat is laughing at this when they return to the still somewhat quiet Gather clearing, the two foxes trotting along with him.  Agh doesn’t struggle, and Larrikan isn’t worried.  Locha looks a little concerned by the troll keeping Agh, but follows.

Sighvat sets Agh carefully on a bench, and seems intent on getting them huge mugs of troll ale and finding a skald to sing.

Locha finally has a chance to talk to Agh, “Are you all right?  Do you want to go back to camp?”

“Nein,” says Agh, quietly, “Good here.  Let trolls sing.  Camp will wait.”

The trolls’ usual gusto seems revived by having guests.  Ale, food, and a prominent place for the skald are all arranged.

The skald sings a song.  It is one the Shy Folk realize they know.  It is about their Reynard being his usual helpful and unhelpful self.  This Reynard has the trickster fox pretend to be a troll to have a warm place to winter.  The fox gets put on the work detail, and has to use all his strength, tricks, and skill to keep his disguise.  He works furiously all winter, and, as he sets off in the spring, the trolls tell him, “Bye, fox!  Come back any time!”

The moral of the trollish version is different, though.  The troll tale is about tolerance, acceptance, and helping those who need it.


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