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Author Topic: Frethoni Fable #73: The Woodcutter Conundrum  (Read 2416 times)
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« on: 18 August 2013, 22:17:35 »

Here's a little tale meant to be added as an addition to the Frethoni Book of Fables:

The Woodcutter Conundrum

Fable No. 73, ca. 500: Among the best known fables in northern Santharia is "The Woodcutter Conundrum". It tells us about two youths, both woodcutters, who shunned each other on principle - they never spoke, always went their own ways. But one day they are both surprised by a fierce deadly snow storm when out in the woods. The race to get home safely has begun... Will they make it? Well, yes. And no.



It is said that up north, on the Suarezian Gulf, close to the Calmarios Wood, there were once two youths living in the village of Nordril, by the name of Jenem and Moraec. Both had chosen to become woodcutters, and yet while it wasn't a very large village they lived in, they very rarely met, and if it happened nevertheless, they didn't care much what the other had to say. Now nobody really knew why that was so, and it didn't actually bother anyone as long as they both did their work, which was cutting wood, and people paid them for that. It might have been the case that the reason for their mutual animosity was founded in a tavern fight they once had some say, or that both had wooed for the same girl a while back, or even - as some suggest - that the one used to snatch work from the other and the other paid it back the same way. Well, we will never know what drove a wedge between them and maybe it's all just rumour anyway. But the fact remains that they both ignored each other.

Now one day in beginning winter when it was already cold outside, but no snow had fallen yet, Jenem and Moraec went out in the woods at Lightthrive. The boys were supposed to collect some more firewood so that it may warm the stoves in the harsh days to come, and thus they took their handcarts and followed the road along the Calmarios in search of a good spot to pick up some lumber they could use. In fact they met somewhere at a bridge leading over a small creek, but only nodded when they saw each other without speaking a word, just the way they always used to. Then they searched for wood in different parts of the wood.

It happened about an hour after their encounter that a chilly wind suddenly reached them coming from Dragon's Maw, but it wouldn't remain the only unpleasant surprise in store for them. Soon after the icy harbinger gripped and shook them to the bone the skies opened and large snowflakes began to rain down as well. First they were just lending the landscape a beautiful picturesque touch, then the white blessing from above became denser and denser, so dense eventually that seeing a few peds ahead became almost impossible. Within minutes everything had turned white and there was no end of the storm in sight as the wind blew unabatedly. While only halfway through with collecting branches, both boys who were working on their own eventually realized that a heavy snow storm was upon them, and that they needed to get home as soon as possible. Jenem for a while even tried to pull the heavy cart back, but then abandoned the effort, soon understanding that it was no use and that he would have to return for it later. Moraec didn't even try to take the cart with him. As they fought their way back each briefly saw the shape of the other youth struggling through the snow back home, but soon they lost sight entirely, and thus continued on their own.

Did any of them return home safely, I hear you ask. Well, Moraec did. Exhausted, his face half frozen he arrived at his father's hut. His mother thanked the Gods for having him back and hugged her son fervently. Immediately she got to preparing a hot Northman's pot to warm him up and forget about the storm. Moraec lay down to rest while his mother was cooking, listened to the whistling and soughing of the wind and watched the snow pile up and up outside. He had made it.

So what about Jenem then? Loud thuds on the door sent a shiver down the spine of Jenem's sister who was weaving in her home at the time. Výalla, anxious that something might have happened to her brother, opened, but was instantly relieved when she saw her dear brother standing there. His face blue, the hands cold as ice, Výalla tended to her brother instantly by rubbing him with a warm towel, then fed the stove to make the returnee comfortable. "Come, and rest, I'll make you some food," she said and Jenem smiled back at her, and began to recount his day's events.

Alas, the story doesn't end here. For a few hours later, after the storm had ceased, villagers found the two bodies of Moraec and Jenem. They lay somewhere near the bridge where they had met in the morning, frozen to death, not very far away from each other.

Some Black Butterfly Rovers who had camped near the creek claim that they never saw Moraec and Jenem cross the creek on their way home. One of them who read the cards and said that she can see events in the future and the past, is sure that if at all only their ghosts returned to their families. The latter however claim that the boys had visited them for real, but that both of them had left again soon after their safe arrival back home. Neither Moraec nor Jenem said much about what they planned to do out in the cold or where they were heading. Only that they'd forgotten something, and the villagers are still debating until this day whether they ever found it.
« Last Edit: 26 August 2013, 15:25:43 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged



"Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the heart." -- Maria (Metropolis)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #1 on: 19 August 2013, 02:27:08 »

Hello!  wave

This is a well-told story. It has a very post-modern feel to it. The story is not my cup of tea, as I don't enjoy post-modern literature. But that of course doesn't prevent one from appreciating the craft that went into the tale. :)

I don't like endings which leave everything up in the air - but then again, that is kinda the point of mystery stories like this, right? It is called the Woodcutter "Conundrum" after all!

The trouble I have with post-modern fables is that fables, by definition, are "short narratives making an edifying or cautionary point". When everything is left purposefully vague, I fail to see what we are being cautioned against. But ignore me. I just don't get postmodernism.  :P

Let me know if you'd like a uri-check. I think I might have some free time tomorrow.

All in all, a sweet addition to our fables! You should write more, Art - always a pleasure to read your work.
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« Reply #2 on: 19 August 2013, 14:45:40 »

Hmmm... I don't know if this story really qualifies for postmodernism. True, at the ending the moral of the story isn't spelled out explicitly, but then again I thought the implication is already that strong what it is about, so that spelling it out isn't actually necessary. Very different from, say, a very typical postmodern work like "The Journey" I wrote a while back which is postmodern through and through. But yes, you're right - basically I prefer to write stuff that somehow involves the reader, otherwise the reader just gets something presented and has to swallow it whether he/she likes it or not. If a book/film etc. carefully lays out the problem and then puts it in the hand of the reader to think about it (another example is my story "Beyond the Rift" - all implicit) then already much is gained. Ideally you should arrive at the same conclusion I had in mind when writing these stories, but the difference to a regular story is that you really need to think about it... At least that's the idea. :)

Concerning an Uri-check: If you have time, I'd appreciate one of course. The text isn't that long fortunately. I'm sure I've managed to hide a couple of dozens of mistakes in there to be discovered by trained eyes... ;)
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"Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the heart." -- Maria (Metropolis)
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« Reply #3 on: 21 August 2013, 22:10:54 »

Sorry for the continuing delay, Arti! I couldn't get to uri-ing this as swiftly as I imagined. Will try to put together the edits tonight.
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #4 on: 22 August 2013, 03:29:13 »

Hope to do a small site update this weekend, so if you can get to the check until then, this could go in as well methinks. :)
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"Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the heart." -- Maria (Metropolis)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #5 on: 22 August 2013, 05:23:41 »

Here we go! A bit short on time so attached as a Word doc.

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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #6 on: 22 August 2013, 05:25:03 »

Regular doc file, please!  cool
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"Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the heart." -- Maria (Metropolis)
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« Reply #7 on: 22 August 2013, 05:27:29 »

Oh well, that might cost extra!  rolleyes

(All payments to be made by homing pigeon.)
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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« Reply #8 on: 08 September 2013, 03:38:54 »

An irritating story, one that does not allow to set it aside when finished with reading - but that's what you have intended, right?  cool

Quote
large snowflakes began to rain down as well

Snowflakes rain? Stumbled about this expression, which is not so good for the flow, but maybe that's just me who does not know the expression.
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"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path  that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking,  breathlessly. ~Don Juan"
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