A Different Time
Tales of The Lucky Bard
The Wanderings of “The Lucky Bard”: an ongoing collection
“The Lucky Bard”
Once, long ago when the Spires of the Magi still pierced the heavens, there was a youth who loved nothing more than to sing and make merry all day. This handsome young man was the eldest in a long line of artisan black smiths. The boy cared not for his family’s ways and would often mock them in prose, something they would continuously misinterpret as ignorance on the youth’s part. The youth would constantly travel down from his home town Origstead (now called The Southern Crown) to the small farming community that is now lovingly referred to as “Snig’s End” and it’s surrounding forest to entertain not only the young maids but the Fair Folk as well. You must keep in mind this was in a time when the fey court still held its tradition of heralding in the seasons as a festival for both them and the mortal races. So beloved by those who treasured art and beauty that one day the youth was called upon by the Seelie Court to preform at their winter solstice. Well, as you can imagine, this was the absolute most embarrassing thing that could ever happen to the young man’s family. If word got out that their lay-about son was also consorting with the fey then no one would ever think of purchasing their armor or weapons for fear of fairie tricks. The family conspired against the youth and plotted to have him robbed of his natural talents. First they put bits of metal shavings in his food and drink to tear his throat and prevent him from singing, but the boy came home every night so full from the wine and lamb of the young maids he wooed that never once did he touch one of the tainted plates. Then the family sought to crush his hands in an accident involving the forge so he could not play his instruments, but the boy never went into the forge even when implored by the others. Lastly the youth’s family could stand the shame no longer and concluded that only permanent termination of the boy himself would end their woes. In secret they obtained the route to which the boy would present himself to the Fey Court and set up ambush. They devised three traps, and if all else failed they positioned the second eldest with a freshly forged axe at the end of the path just before the court would catch glimpse of the youth to cut him down. In their haste to relieve themselves of their embarrassment the family of Smiths had forgotten that as they set the traps they were trespassing among the fairies they hated so much. The fey reported the transgression to the King and Queen, but rather than become angry the King proclaimed. “For all that has been wrought against this merry maker he has yet to give up his love of indulgence and art. If he survives the challenges set by his own people and preforms before this court than he shall receive the finest blessings that we can bestow upon any mortal,” and so the time for the winter solstice approached. Even though the youth thought it odd that his family was no long objecting his departure he did not question it and set off with all the love and blessing of the maidens he constantly sought affection from. They had packed him a fine meal of spiced wine, venison, fruits, and cheeses. On his belt he wore a token hand crafted by a jewelers daughter that sparkled and shone in the winter sun, and in his cap he had been gifted a wondrous white peacock feather from the tailor’s daughter. Down the road into the forest he went never suspecting the deadly fate that his own family had plotted for him. Just shy of the bear traps his father had put down the youth decided that he had had enough of just smelling the fine venison and decided to take a bit out to eat, this attracted a hungry vixen and she came at the boy snarling wanting of food. The boy yelled out and backed away slowly frightened by the wild creature, but the vixen was blinded with hunger and did not notice as she stepped into the bear trap. Seeing that she was heavy with child the youth took pity on her and fed her as he released the trap and bound her foot. The vixen licked his cheek then limped back into the forest, where if you believe the legend she met the boy again much later. After that the boy decided it would be best to wait until after his performance to eat and walked along the bath humming to himself and fiddling with the charm that was bestowed upon him trying to remember the name of the girl that gave it to him. Just as he stumbled into the next trap which was a trip wire that released two longs intent on crushing the boy, two raccoons ran in-between his feet causing him to fall backwards just as the logs collided. The noise drove off the animals after they took the charm from the boy’s belt. A worrisome thought began to creep into the back of his head that perhaps someone did not want him to attend the solstice festival, but such thoughts only bring down the spirit so the boy went on whistling a tune to liven himself up. Just as he was about to step into the pit that was to be the final trap the white peacock feather from his hat was snatched up by a sparrow and taken high up into a tree. Laughing the boy hollered up that the sparrow may keep the gift as he was not sure who had given it to him in the first place, then he went on side stepping the covered pit without even knowing it. Then, at last, the boy came face to face with his younger brother. So broken hearted that his family would betray him like this the youth cast down his eyes and waited for his brother to strike him down, but because of the tampering with the forge the new axe split from the frigid air in the brother’s hand and the flat of the blade came crashing down upon him knocking him out cold. Well the boy couldn’t just leave him in the snow passed out no matter what his brother’s intentions were, so he scooped him up and propped him up by a tree whilst the youth preformed marvelously for the entire Seelie Court. As promised the Faerie King bestowed his gifts upon the boy; fine looks, finesse beyond measure with any type of performance, and lastly a gift of the boy’s own choosing.
Thinking hard the youth decided on his last gift, “I wish to not have my name or face remembered by anyone who would seek to do me or my reputation any harm, but let my deeds and songs be forever immortalized.” So it has been and so it will be until a time that no one is willing to hurt another, and that is why to this day the only known name for this man is “The Lucky Bard”.