THE FOUR BROTHERS ISLETS

The legend from the town of Salˇh says that four sailor youths, all brothers, once courted four lovely maidens, all sisters, vowing they would die if the lasses did not wed them. The girls refused to marry until their swains could assure them of some financial security, so the boys sank all their meager assets into buying a small scow and set up as traders, running along the coast of Sarvonia from Ravenport to Chylikis. In four years time they had prospered so well that they each had a ship of their own, and homewards they came, ready to propose. As they sailed up Harlevethem Bay, their flags flying, a boat from Rhenos Castle came out to meet them. "Your lasses are wed," the messenger said grimly, "wed to the lord of the castle's four sons, and the eight are off to the Plains of Rhenos for the feasting."

The young men, tears springing from their eyes to fall into the salt water, joined their hands and sprang overboard. As their feet touched the water, however, they were transformed into huge gulls - the first albatrosses that ever were in Caelereth - and their ships became stone. The pine masts sprouted needles and their sailors cheeky kuatu. And in the Plains where the wedding guests were all assembled, watching the faithless ladies and their new lords ride towards them, the earth shook and heaved upwards, destroying the tables of food and the fair pavilions. When the dust settled, four smooth hills stood in the distance and the plains had become rough and broken, forever a symbol of unrequited love...