Welcome to an introduction to Master Tribell! Or should we better say: "Once Upon a Time"? - Master Tribell (ca. 1240-1315) is an extremely well-known bard, narrator and storyteller in the Kingdom of Santharia, as well as an appreciated acrobat in his younger years. A person generally thought to belong to everyone, his stories are loved by many, adults and children alike, his name synonymous with the idyllic space of childhood so much so that many a time, the stories precede his name. His collected works, known today by the title "Master Tribell’s Miraculous Narrations", is regarded as one of the classic works of Santharian fairy-tales. Every child in the whole kingdom knows most of these stories by heart as Tribell's tales have developed into an important part of the kingdom's education. Master Tribell's narrative style is simple and straight to the point which seems to be exactly the way children want to have their tales presented. Many narrators try to copy this unique style of the famous Tribell, but only few can be accounted to succeed in this endeavour.
Image description. The great Santharian story-teller Master Tribell. Drawn by Artimidor.
Master Tribell was not simply a man words but also one of personality.
One of the descriptions of the great Master Tribell is from a letter contributed
by a member of the public when the house was converted into an archive and a
fragment of it reads:
"I had a most amazing experience today. I had the good fortune of passing by the house of one of our resident story-tellers Master Tribell in the act of narrating one of his tales. I have long heard of his amazing ability to captivate his audience but I have never actually seen him doing so. He was comfortably seated on the bench outside his house, which is really quite ordinary for someone of his stature and in front of him were seated a group of ten children or so, silent and still - and my goodness, anyone who can keep children still like that deserves respect, story-teller or not. I stopped to listen and I too found myself rooted to the spot. He reminded me of my grandfather (who I am sure cannot hold a story the same way Master Tribell can), slightly wrinkled in skin but filled with the energy of a young foal. His eyes were bright and twinkling (I couldn’t tell what colour due to my standing distance) as if it held a whole mass of knowledge behind and the luxurious tinge of white in his hair gave him the honour that age bestows on its elderly. He could be anyone’s grandfather; however, the magic is really not in his looks but in his voice. He had a deep melodious voice that rose and fell with the mood of his tale, at times soothing like a gentle breeze, at others roaring like the waves on a stormy day. It was a voice that inspired one’s imagination to take flight and even though I was rather firmly grounded in my position, I thought I was traveling off to long ago places and faraway lands. I have no doubt the children felt the same."
Another letter that one would be able to read in that house spoke of him more as a person than a storyteller. It was a thank you note from a housewife to Master Tribell:
"Dear Master Tribell,
Words cannot express how grateful we are to you for funding the education of our only son. We will forever be indebted by your generosity.
Yours Truly: The Baryl Family"
It is common knowledge that Master Tribell was a great advocate
for education and would willingly spare what he could afford to children who
came from poorer families in order to give them the chance of an education. For
this very fact he was respected by many and even inspired a momentary movement
to push for basic mandatory education for all children in their formative years.
Biography. While it is hard to write an accurate biography of Master Tribell, the speculation that is taken to be the closest to his life story is as such.
Childhood (1240-1255). Tribell is believed to have been born in Carmalad since evidence from some of his writings show evidence of his parents being dyers, not to mention his extensive knowledge regarding the different colours that come out in his stories.
Tribell the Acrobat (1255-1260). Tribell was picked up acrobatics and joined a traveling troupe. This piece of information was gathered from some pieces of parchment that advertised to towns the details of performances.
The Travels to the North (1260-1280). Tribell left the troupe and went missing for 20 years. It is believed that he wandered the places of North Sarvonia exploring and collecting stories.
Scenes from "Master Tribell's Miraculous Narrations", containing fairy-tales and fantastic stories, enjoyable for everyone. All pictures drawn by Quellion for the game Mystical Empire™, used with friendly permission.
Voldar (1280-1285). Tribell settled in
Voldar which scholars believe was a move on
Tribell’s part to inform himself further on the rich mythological stories
available there. It is also here that he started his storytelling profession.
Many thanks to the Town Council
of Voldar which provided us this clue to his
pass since it is written that he was a registered storyteller with the city
during that time.
The Travels in the South (1285-1295). Tribell moved again and it is during this time that he was believed to have traveled South Sarvonia and if he made any contributions to the School of Quills in Bardavos, it would be during the years of 1285-1295.
Tribell in Manthria (1287). This is one of the periods that we knew Tribell was in the Santharian province of Manthria. The lake that was named after him several years after his death has an inscription commemorating him carved into a rock. What is inscribed reads: "To the man of stories, Master Tribell, who could always be found by this lake and on this rock telling tales of wonder to those who would listen."
It is also said that such an honourary inscription was given because he helped the Duke win the love of his life through an allegorical story of love that touched the heart of the Duke’s beloved and she who was once unwilling to accept the advances of Duke found reason to do so after being mesmerized by the a story of Tribell’s.
Tribell's Death in New-Santhala (1295-1315). Tribell finally settled in New-Santhala till the end of his days. Upon his death, the people of the town came in full force to bid good bye to their favourite storyteller, reminding themselves of the stories he told and held special storytelling sessions in the days that followed to commemorate the life of such an acclaimed personage. Following his wishes, his body was burned and his ashes scattered into the sea and his money given to build more schools. As far as we know, Master Tribell never married. Each year ever since Master Tribell's death on the 17th day of Changing Winds, these storytelling sessions are repeated at most local inss in New-Santhala.
More Information Regarding Master Tribell’s Works: The collection of tales called "Master Tribells Miraculous Narrations" was published for the first time a few years after the story-teller's death. Famous fairy-tales included in this book are "The Tomcat of Minich", "The Wandering Tree", "The Dancing Wooden Shoes", "Of Margo, the Pastry-Loving Drake", "The Snow Maiden", “The Harlequin Lover” and many more. In the course of time even more fairy-tales were added to the book in further editions.
At the same time, some scholars have noted that his tales often have a dark edge to it, warnings that can be delivered to a child to instruct them in the right ways of behaviour or things that have gone horribly wrong for people who have strayed off the path. While straightforward, some have considered his stories to be harsh and violent in the dealing of punishment and a selected few of his tales, especially those that talk of dark magic, can even be credited with the potential to induce nightmares in a young child. However, these darker tales are usually watered down in newer publications to allow for a more enjoyable reading experience. The books containing the original tales can be found in the archives of the better known libraries in the kingdom and they are considered to be of immense value due to the limited numbers in circulation.
Importance. While no one knows for certain where Master Tribell was born, it is known that in his later years, he settled down in New-Santhala where he made his name by being a collector and original writer of hundreds of fairy-tales and other similar stories. There have been many theories as to how he came about amassing such a huge collection of tales though a large part of these are a result of popular imagination. Some people believed him to be a wanderer who played a small part, but nevertheless a part, in bringing together the current United Kingdom of Santharia, his stories illustrating and bringing together a shared heritage that was part and parcel of building a strong kingdom. There were others who thought that he was simply an adventurer who had the good fortune of different experiences which allowed him to write the wonderful stories he did. There are even rumours that he helped found the School of Quills in Bardavos though there are no evidences that show it to be as such.
Currently, what we do know about Master Tribell is from snippets of left-over writings and letters that chronicle the traces that he left behind. Most of these have been found in a house in the heart of New-Santhala which is believed to be his place of residence. Now it has been converted to an archive of sorts for Master Tribell’s stories and the display of all things believed to have belonged to him. Visitors to New-Santhala often find this house a worthwhile visit.