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NaNo 2006 Winner
Exercise #207

Exercise #207: Hodge Podge
Posted 4/13/07

It always makes me pause. I’m reading a book, and the author references another story, a tale or fable from the world of the book. The only author I can remember ever actually telling us these tales was Richard Adams in Watership Down. The rabbits had their own myths and theology, and those tales taught us a lot about how a rabbit might see the world. Would that all authors did the same!

For today’s exercise, I’ve pulled snippets out of the books I’ve read over the past several months. Each of these snippets references a story, tale, or fable from the world of that book. None of these referenced stories were told within the book I was reading.

Pick one, and tell us the story. Some of these tell you what the story should be about, some only hint at it, and some tell you only the title. A couple don’t have a title. There are fourteen to choose from.

(From Five Hundred Years After, by Steven Brust)

The Royal Consort’s bedchamber was always watched by a pair of guards. All of this, in addition to providing an excellent setting for Luin’s farcical murder drama, “Who Dropped Her First?” had the result that, if the Consort wished for privacy, all she need do was inform the guards to her room that she did not wish to be disturbed.


The truth will always run before him, a step out of reach for ever, like the chreotha in Lady Neloy’s fable.


The reader need not, of course, be reminded of the "Tale of the Smudged Letter," in which a drop of water causes the sinking of an island.

(From The Paths of the Dead, by Steven Brust)

(on the boring details necessary when characters travel)
...and then there are those, such as the delightful Madam Payor with her "Greentide Romances," who invent characters who are, for one reason or another, incapable of traveling,


(more on the boring details necessary when characters travel)
or the clever Tremmel of Brock, who uses as a device actions that center on a certain specific location and brings all the events to the characters who dwell there; thus escaping the problem entirely.


We have brought this up to point out that, in the event, there are very few cases of a man chasing a horse over long distances (although, to be sure, there is the incident that gave inspiration to the popular ballad "Lord Stonewright’s Revenge"), rather, when comparing speed mounted to speed afoot in any practical situation, there are almost always determining factors beyond the simple issues of speed and endurance.


Her fear of failure rendered her incapable of speech, incapable of thought, and for a moment she stood, as helpless as Reega before the onslaught at the gates of Thuvin.

(From Sethra Lavode, by Steven Brust)

And, too, the gods have a concept of place and prominence, and if they are never wrong, then still one may be more right than another (the reader is referred to the old Court entertainment "Fishes in Their Season" for a most entertaining illustration thereof).

From Inheritor, by C J Cherryh

Tabini and the Air Traffic Controller authority had fought that battle for years, particularly trying to impress the facts of physics on lords used to being immune to lawsuit. There were laws. There were ATC regulations. And there was the outstanding example of the Weinathi Bridge disaster for a cautionary tale.

From The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan

“You want stories? I have stories... ‘Jaem the Giant-Slayer,’ ‘How Susa Tamed Jain Farstrider,’ ‘Mara and the Three Foolish Kings,’ ‘How Goodwife Karil Cured Her Husband of Snoring.’ I will tell you tales.”


The stories only said the Tree of Life belonged to the Green Man. They never mentioned any sapling.


Gaidal Cain’s Sword


The Fall of Aleth-Loriel


The Last Ride of Buad of Albhain


Note the higher word limit. (Our highest ever.)

Word limit: 2000
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