The Fable of the Graverobber and the Cursed Cutlass
By Charles Moffat, February 2018.
Once upon a time in Floresti Falls a graverobber left his home in the woods to travel to the nearby graveyard where he had heard a rich sailor had been recently buried. On the way he came to a waterfalls with an ancient log suspended between the two sides, acting as a bridge. He skipped across the log bridge while singing a jaunty tune:
"There once was a maid from Azek who went to a greasy spoon, what a fool she tripped on a stool and impaled herself on a harpoon."
The graverobber arrived at the graveyard and climbed over the fence. He made his way to a mound of recently dug earth in front of a headstone statue of a serpentine sea monster. He unslung his wee shovel from his back and set to work digging. As he dug he sang another tune:
"In the dark of the night don't give into fright as the ghouls are walking about. If ye be chicken, the ghouls will quicken and hasten your end no doubt."
At long last his shovel hit something hard. The graverobber cleared away the dirt and pried up the coffin lid. Within was an old sailor, dead and dressed in his finery, and a gem encrusted cutlass across his breast. With a whistle of delight, the graverobber scooped up the sword and heard a voice ring out. It was coming from within the sword:
"Lo landlubber, you have awaken me from my slumber. Take me to the sea and I shall make you rich if you follow my plea."
The graverobber was briefly amused, shrugged and tossed the cutlass into his sack of things. He proceeded to loot the rest of the coffin of any valuables and refilled the hole with the mound of dirt. He then slung his wee shovel over his back, tossed the sack of things over his shoulder, and began the journey back home. As he walked the cutlass called out to him from within the sack:
"Riches galore are yours for the taking, why stay here when we could go to sea and get with the gold-making?"
The graverobber came to the waterfalls and halfway across he paused to take the cutlass from the sack, thinking he might just toss the cursed thing into the churning water. Perhaps it would be better to be rid of it as how could he ever sell or trade something so clearly cursed? He held out the sword above the water, all he needed to do was drop it. The sword cried out:
"Why don't you want me? Do I not fill you with glee? What is it you want in this horrid land when so much more is available at your command?"
The graverobber thought better of it and decided to keep the cursed thing. He finished crossing the log bridge and began to whistle as he neared his home in the woods. As he walked the cutlass seemed to enjoy the whistling and sang along:
"There once was a fool from Kost who had a habit of getting lost. He ran afoul of a troll, fell into a dark hole, and now when he walks he has no control."
When he got home the graverobber placed the cutlass on a shelf like a prized possession and whenever he was lonely or bored, he could just whistle and the cutlass would sing out a new tune. He continued to rob graves to the end of his days, but he never lacked for company or song.
"There once was a lonely graverobber from Floresti Falls who appreciated a good song. He found a singing sword who longed for the sea, but the graverobber preferred to be carefree. So he kept the sword on a shelf and had it sing-along."
The "fool from Kost" is actually a reference to a second fable, The Fable of Sirt Fartsalot.