This story was first told to me when I was
a neonate, newly studying in the Crystal Tower of Sumurset.
I was admiring the famous animal pens of the Tower when I
was approached by an older student. The fellow who told me
this tale seemed very trustworthy at first, but, as the reader
will soon discover, the tale is very dubious indeed. Of course,
I have told it since to other neonates of the Tower in the
I offer the following for your august consideration,
Many, many years back, a talented but poor
bard was passing through Sumurset, looking for work. He could
sing, he could dance, he could act, but no one had any use
for his performances. The poor bard was lugubrious, but he
still visited the taverns and palaces, day after day, begging
for a chance to showcase his talents.
One day, dejected from more bad luck, he was
approached by a tall elf in a long robe. A Magister of the
Crystal Tower, in charge of the animal pens. The elf tells
the bard of the white ape they made a cell for at the Tower,
how it had died en route. There was a royal party from Firsthold
visiting who had been promised a glimpse at the rare white
ape. The Magister had a costume for the bard if he would deign
to act out the part of the ape for the visitors. The bard
had promised himself to take the first part that came his
way, no matter how minor, so he agreed. The elf promised that
the charade would last no longer than a fortnight, when the
For the first several days of the masquerade,
the bard did nothing more than sit in the back of the pen.
He was afraid to move and show the possible imperfections
of the ape costume. In time, he became bored and began walking
around. He suddenly noticed that the royal party was watching,
fascinated. Happy that the ruse was working, he decided to
enliven the act.
Soon he had both a performance and a crowd.
Instead of dancing a traditional elven jig, he would swing
around the cell with every acrobatic trick he knew. Instead
of singing a ballad, he would roar a roar he imagined a rare
white ape might roar. The crowd loved it. The party outside
his cell grew larger and larger every day.
One day, he was performing for the crowd --
his finest work to date. He swung himself round and round,
roaring and bleating. His hand slipped and he went flying
through the bar and into the cell next door, where a Snow
Wolf was in residence. Hackling its back and growling, the
Snow Wolf began to inch toward the bard.
Seeing no other way out, the bard screamed,
The Snow Wolf whispered, "Shut up or
you'll get us all fired."
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