THE PALE FROGSTOOL ("BLUE MUSHROOM", "RIVER SHROOM")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Pale Frogstool ("Blue Mushroom", "River Shroom", "White Frogstool", "Northern Frogstool", etc.) grows primarily around flowing rivers and streams throughout mid-Sarvonia, ranging roughly from the Dorashi River in the south to the Ulaenoth River in the north. Known for its light-blue or white colouration, it is harvested for use as a garnish (usually for taenish or fish), and is occasionally included in herbal remedies to help reduce or treat tumours and other growths.

Appearance. A casual stroll along any river or stream in mid-Sarvonia will likely reveal, at first glance, nothing at all growing about the banks save for moss and reeds. However, a closer look into the shaded nooks of the bank may reveal a curious little growth, often little more than a hand-span high and a palmspan across. This light-faced little mushroom is known as "Pale Frogstool".

Pale Frogstools

View picture in full size Picture description. A flitter-twitch passes by a couple of Pale Frogstools which grow on the riverside. Image by Seeker.

Pale Frogstools grow out of the banks to soak up the mists and moistures of the rivers around which they flourish. They are pale blue or white in colour, from the edges of their unassuming little caps to their delicate gills (patterning the underside of their caps), to their sturdy little trunks. Even their brief collection of roots is light in colour.

Pale Frogstools tend to arise out of the banks with unaccustomed celerity (though perhaps the speed might be viewed as usual for mushrooms). In mid-growth, they look like rounded arrows popping out of the earth, before blooming into a round, open cap.
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Territory. The Pale Frogstool grows around rivers and streams throughout mid-
Sarvonia, ranging from the Dorashi River in the south to the Ulaenoth River in the north. It has many names, depending on whom you talk to and where you go. Among much of the Santharian population, it is called the "Pale Frogstool" or the "Blue Mushroom" - or sometimes the "White Frogstool" by smaller villages particularly among Caltharians living near the Cylian River and hobbits in the Silvermarshes. The Kuglimz tend to know it as the "River Shroom".

The Pale Frogstool tends to choose the shadier banks as its home; it shrivels under long periods of direct sunlight. Shady over-hangings or parts of the banks that turn away from the sun are most apt to host these little fungi. And of course, they love the moisture of their homes on the water, and would soon perish if drought turned the rivers dry.
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Usages. In the remedy of boils, tumours, and other growths, your local medicine man or woman is likely to recommend the consumption of the Pale Frogstool in some manner or another. Unusual or unnatural growths are often treated with this fungi, particularly if it is accompanied by dry skin. For topical treatments, they are occasionally boiled: when boiled, they excrete a slightly translucent, white-ish oil that can be ladled off the top and bottled to be applied atop a growth. (In extreme cases, this oil may also be consumed, though it tends to be ill-tasting and difficult on the stomach).

Herbalists will often use the mushroom in tincture form, combining it with alcohol that helps to preserve it for long periods of time. While not as potent as fresh Pale Frogstool oil, it is believed to reduce growths and can be taken orally (often mixed with other herbs) or topically.

For preventative treatment against tumours and growths, mushrooms can be collected and dried, then used as a garnish. They are most popular with taenish and fish. It is, however, a rather bland-tasting mushroom in general, and isn't a common food source for this reason.
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Reproduction. The reproductive cycles of the Pale Frogstool have not been widely researched, or regarded by anyone with much interest due their ubiquity. It is generally assumed that, like many fungi, they have small seeds or spores released from the gills. When these spores are released in a Frogstool’s lifecycle is unknown, though the timing is assumed to be highly depending on weather conditions and the time of year.

Pale Frogstools grow most rapidly and in greatest quantity in the spring and fall, when temperatures are moderate. They rarely grow in snow, and tend to be small or short-lived in summer. At their longest, they will last several weeks before dying off; at their shortest, they last only a few days.
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Myth/Lore. The Pale Frogstool, being a rather common fungus, has a number of common stories regarding its creation. The most popular, known widely through villages throughout northern Santharia, is the story of the Pale-Skinned Frog. It is often told as a fable against vanity and laziness to children, and while it has many adaptations, the following is perhaps the most popular:

The Pale-Skinned Frog. Once upon a time, there was born a pale-coloured frog. She was regarded as quite beautiful for her pale-coloured skin, but the one who regarded her as beautiful among all others was… herself.

“There is no frog more beautiful than me!” she would croak, and would sit upon the bank so all the other frogs could see how lovely she was. Occasionally she would plop into the waters to return the wet gleam to her lovely pale skin, then climb back on the bank to try to attract admiring looks from the other frogs.

“Won’t you help us catch flies and bugs?” the frogs would ask her.

“Oh no,” she would protest, “I am far too beautiful for that.”

And she would sit upon the bank, regarding her reflection in the water with much admiration.

“Won’t you help us care for our tadpoles?” the other frogs would ask her.

“Oh no,” she would protest, “I am far too beautiful for that.”

And she would sit upon the bank, regarding her reflection in the water with much admiration.

“Won’t you help us build our lily-pad homes?” the other frogs would ask her.

“Oh no,” she would protest, “I am far too beautiful for that.”

And she would sit upon the bank, regarding her reflection in the water with much admiration.

One day, a little girl with sea-blue eyes came to the river where the vain little frog was sitting. The little girl held a little golden marble, which fell from her little hands and rolled into the river. “Oh no!” the little girl cried. “I have lost my marble! Oh, little pale-skinned frog, would you be so kind as to go in and fetch it for me? I would be ever so grateful.”

The pale-skinned frog looked at the little girl contemptuously and said, “Oh no. I am far too beautiful for that.”

As soon as these words were spoken, the little girl changed, revealing herself to be Baveras in disguise! “Your vanity and sloth have made you unkind,” she told the frog, who was ever so sorry for what she had done. As punishment, Baveras turned the frog into a frogstool, so that the frogs who worked very hard could crawl upon her every once in a while, and take a rest.
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 Date of last edit 3rd Dead Tree 1672 a.S.

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