The Two Ravens -- a story from the Eastlands of the World
Posted: Posted November 3rd, 2014 by elemtilas
The Two Ravens
In the days of old when Ysengrim was king in the deeps and darks of the Old Forest, even beyond Yspiy Dale, there lived two jolly ravens in a fine nest upon a low limb of an ancient oak tree, and they were brothers of the same brood. And their house overlooked the highway that passed through that part of the woods. Now, these two ravens, Tyselyn and Wenselyn were their names, often sat in their tree watching the folk go by along the road. Mostly they liked to see a wealthy lady's palanquin or a bishop's carriage trundle past, for, as we all know, ravens are quite fond of stealing away anything shiny with which to decorate their nests. And, what is more, it is also well known how rich bishops and noble ladies always have about them shiny baubles and glinty gems to spare!
Now, Tyselyn was of the pair the more taciturn and he said very little, but he always observed the goings on; while Wenselyn was just the opposite. He was chatty and talky and would regularly prattle on for hours on end about anything or nothing at all -- perhaps the weather or the fashions of the passers by or even the rising price of beans in the markets.
And so, 'twas on one lovely spring day, in the month of Hrosmath as it happened to be, Tyselyn and Wenselyn were sitting in their tree and all the while Wenselyn had been prattling on about the rising prices of thread and needles in the market when Tyselyn took notice and stopped him short.
"Wenselyn, why are thou going on about the price of thread and needles? When have thou ever bought a needle or thread? Tha don't even know how to sew! And yesterday, 'twas the price of beans. Beans! Again!! We haven't bought beans in at least a year, and even then, we didn't like the dry nasty things, and so we didn't eat them! And another thing, my dear clutch-brother!, it's no wonder we haven't found a rich dame's sedan to nick something shiny from. Tha're either scaring folks away or else I become so sidetracked by thy chatter that I fail to notice they've passed and there they go, down the road! Why, I'll bet that if we split up, thou from me, I'd easily double the number of shiny trinkets we find, and I daresay, thou'll get none!"
Not to be disuaded, Wenselyn continued his tirade against all thread merchants everywhere as if Tyselyn had said nothing at all. At last, he wound up by saying: "Now Tyselyn my brother! I dare say I can do every bit as well as thee, if we split up, me from thee. So, today next week, let's count up whatever we can manage to find, and we'll see whether I scare away the rich dames or not, or whether thou're just going blind!"
And so they agreed between them to separate for the week and Tyselyn was most happy with the arrangement, for he now had some peace and quiet and could focus his energies on the hunt for shiny trinkets without any kind of disturbance from poor Wenselyn. The least happy about the new arrangement was their friend, Wambert, another raven who lived on his own some way up the road, having had no egg-brother to call his own, for dear Wenselyn decided to settle himself down next to Wambert; and this made Wenselyn the happiest of them all, for now he had a fresh ear upon which to vent all his frustrations about merchants and the rising price of goods!
The days of the week sped by and excitement began to build, since everybeast in the neighborhood around had heard of the Great Contest. On the sixth day of the Contest, Eghel the hedgehog was appointed to be the lord justice of the doings, and he chose two assistants who would wit with him upon the bench of judgement. It would be their job to count up all the baubles and trinkets the two raven brothers brought before them, and Eghel himself would decide who the winner of the contest was to be.
At last came the seventh day, a Friday as it happened, for wasn’t it the Feast of the Seven Dolors, the sixth day of Harvest Home, and all the folk of the woodlands around had gathered in the ancient clearing where the standing stones were. And on that same day, around noon, Tyselyn and Wenselyn arrived at the altar of judgement and Eghel sat upon the bench with his two assitants, Corbant the rook and Grymbart the badger. Tyselyn tipped out the contents of his sack, and out poured an impressive load of golden trinkets, gem crusted baubles, bits of shiny tin ornament and small tinted glass bottles. And, with much excitement from the crowd around, Eghel began his accounting while Grymbart recorded the names and descriptions of each article and Corbant checked his maths and took note of the proceedings upon his tally sticks. At last Eghel came up with a final figure, and compared it with the tally sticks of the other judges and wrote the number upon a small wax tablet, such as the ones scholars use to carry about with them when they wish to jot down some important thought or snatch of poesy.
It being Wenselyn's turn, he came before the judges, and cleared his throat with some embarassment, hesitating to open his sack. "Come now, master Wenselyn! 'Tis well beyond a gentlebeast's lunch time. Let's see the contents of thy sack, and we'll make the accounting!"
Poor Wenselyn tipped out the contents of his sack, and there fluttered out of it a bit of old string, a few beans left over from some long gone trip to the market and a dried leaf which floated over and landed upon Eghel's forhead, much to amusement of his fellow judges!
Everyone gathered round began to laugh merrily at Wenselyn's expense, for they all knew well that he spent the whole week talking off poor Wambart's ear and forgetting all about the Contest. Tyselyn was duly and solemnly declared the winner, with four score and nineteen bits of treasure, and Eghel gavelled the sessions closed and declared that everybeast should repair to the Red Rooster, the inn of the place, run by the good squirrel Enkhorn, and enjoy a bit of lunch. This done, Wenselyn was left with nothing but scorn, for as the Wise are fond of saying: He says more who speaks little.
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