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The inspiration for this story is, obviously, the Pied Piper of Hamelin. I found it a fitting story for Voriof (acting as the piper in the story) with the child connection. The god comes to save his endangered sheep from the rampaging wolves, but is angered by the dishonorable Orlanthi chief who refuses his payment. As a price, Voriof steals all of the young boys of the stead and takes them with him. The text and outline for this story was borrowed from the following web-page http://www.generation.net/~marshall/legend.html.


THE BAGPIPE PLAYER OF WHISPER STEAD

Once upon a time, on the banks of a river in south Sartar lay a stead called Whisper stead. The citizens of Whisper stead were honest folk who lived contentedly in their log houses following the ways of Orlanth. The years went by, and the town grew very rich. Then one day, an extraordinary thing happened to disturb the peace. Whisper stead had always had wolves preying on their sheep, but they had never been in any real danger, for the shepherds had always been able to drive the wolves off. All at once, however, the wolves began to attack more frequently and in larger packs. In the end, waves of wolves swarmed over the whole town. First, they attacked the sheep, then the cattle, then the barns and storehouses, then, for lack of anything better, they gnawed the wood, cloth or anything at all. The terrified clansmen flocked to plead with the clan chief and the clan ring to free them from the plague of wolves. But the ring had, for a long time, been sitting in the meeting hall, trying to think of a plan:

"Our warriors can take care of the problem!"

But the warriors were already weary from the continuous raids by the wolves.

"We'll put down traps and catch them then!"

But the traps have proven to be ineffective.

"It just can't be done without help! Pray Orlanth that we can find some help." said the chief sadly.

Just then, while the citizens awaited the clan ring's decision, there was a loud knock at the door.

"Who can that be?" the clan leaders wondered uneasily, mindful of the angry crowds.

They gingerly opened the door. And to their surprise, there stood a tall youth dressed in brightly colored clothes, with a long feather in his hat, and waving a gold bagpipe at them.

..."I've freed other towns of far nastier predators than wolves," the stranger announced, "and for a thousand Lunars, I'll rid you of your wolves!"

"A thousand Lunars!" exclaimed the Mayor. "We'll give you fifty thousand if you succeed!"

At once the stranger hurried away, saying: "It's late now, but at dawn tomorrow, there won't be a rat left in Whisper stead!"

Yelm was still below the horizon, when the sound of a bagpipe wailed through the stead lands. The piper slowly made his way through the stead and wolves by the hundreds began to follow him. Out they scampered from the fields, woods, and hilltops,doors, wolves of every size, all after the piper. And as he played, the stranger marched down to the river and straight into the water. To the amazement of all, he was able to walk on the water! Behind him swarmed the wolves and every one was drowned and swept away by the current. By the time Yelm was high in the sky, there was not a single wolf in or around the stead. There was great delight at the meeting hall, until the piper tried to claim his payment.

"Fifty thousand Lunars?" exclaimed the clan chief, "Never..."

" A thousand florins at least!" cried the pied piper angrily.

But the Mayor broke in. "The wolves are all dead now and they can never come back. So be grateful for fifty Lunars, or you'll not get even that . . ." His eyes flashing with rage, the piper pointed a threatening finger at the chief. "You'll regret ever breaking your promise," he said, and vanished. A shiver of fear ran through the clan ring, but the chief shrugged and said excitedly: "We've saved fifty thousand Lunars!"

That night, freed from the nightmare of the rats, the clansmen of Whisper stead slept more soundly than ever. And when the strange sound of piping wafted through the stead at dawn, only the young boys heard it. Drawn as by magic, they hurried out of their homes. Again, the piper paced through the stead, this time, it was young boys of all sizes that flocked at his heels to the sound of his strange piping. The long procession soon left the town and made its way through the woods and across the forest till it reached the foot of a large mountain. When the piper came to the dark rock, he played his pipe even louder still, and a great door creaked open. Beyond the door lay a cave. In trooped the boys behind the piper, and when the last child had gone into the darkness, the door creaked shut. A great landslide came down the mountain blocking the entrance to the cave forever. Only one little lame boy escaped this fate. It was he who told the anxious clansmen, searching for their children, what had happened. And no matter what people did, the mountain never gave up its victims. Divinations later revealed that the visitor was the god Voriof and that the children had become the god's playmates. To this day, the voices of playful children can be heard in the winds around this fateful stead, and many believe that fairies sometimes seen in the forests are these long-lost children.

Many years were to pass before the merry voices of young boys would ring through Whisper stead again, but the memory of the harsh lesson of maintaining one's honor lingered in everyone's heart and was passed down from father to son through the centuries.


Last Updated on December 3, 1997
If you have any questions or comments, please E-Mail me at maelstrom@usa.net

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