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The Two Ravens -- a story from the Eastlands of the World
Posted: Posted November 4th, 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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Thanks! It's a very enjoyable story.

Like all such stories, it has references that the reader longs to follow up.

I am about to mention some. I hope this is what you wanted when you posted this here; please understand this is not criticism, or at least not negative criticism.

  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    It seems to be set in a "medieval"-ish -- or maybe "renaissance"-ish -- milieu. Is it? Or is it, even, from their equivalent of the Napoleonic Era?
    The reader wants to know about the culture.
    I'd say, based on what animals there are and what people wear, it's set in a place something like NorthWestern Europe; perhaps even like Great Britain or Ireland or the British Isles.
    But maybe it's just in some equivalent of Eurasia in general.
    You say it's "from the Eastlands of the World". Naturally in RealWorld geography "East" is a relative term. If "the World" is their equivalent of "the Old World", then the "Eastlands" is going to be Asia; more specifically Eastern Asia, and, perhaps, Central Asia. Is their World's East-West cultural and axis reversed from *ours*? (Maybe *their* "Japan" is *our* "Britain" and *their* "Britain" is *our* "Japan"?)
    (EDIT: like Padraic Brown's "Auntimoany"? Wait a minute -- you are Padraic, aren't you? /EDIT)

    That doesn't look like a question, does it? But I mean to ask "is that the kind of setting it's in?".

    The proper names are interesting; and there seem to be some morphemes, if that's what they are, repeated between one name and another. What do those mean? Are they, perhaps, just the ambient language's common nouns for those animals? Or synonyms thereof? Or common nicknames for those animals? Or poetic kennings for them?

    I would guess (with highly insufficient evidence!) the names of the main characters -- those from species with two or more specimens in the story, such as the three ravens (the titular "Two" plus Wambert) -- are more about their personalities than their species. True or false?

    Why do you have "thou're" instead of "thou'rt"? Was that intentional or a typo? If it was intentional, I bet you have a reason, and IMO it is probably an interesting one.


  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Does your conculture have other stories in which some of these characters also appear?

    How many, and which, concultures have you set up in this conworld, or, how many and which do you intend or hope to set up?

    How long will their conhistory run, in internal-to-the-conworld times? Are you hoping to have things you'll tell us from their Stone Age(s) to their Space Age? Or what?


  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Anyway:
  • Welcome to the BBoard!
  • Your creative writing post is in fact creative and well-written IMO.
  • Don't feel pressured to answer my questions; or at least don't feel too much pressure, to answer too many of them too soon. That's not what I intended.
  • When you do answer some of them, other subforums (subfora?) might be the better places to post the answers, rather than Creative Writing. But you might want the threads to contain links to each other, in at least one post.

    Good to have you here!

  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    BTW you seem to be new here, but your name is very familiar. Where have I met you before? On the concultures Yahoo! e-group?

  • Posted November 4th, 2014 by chiarizio

    Thanks! It's a very enjoyable story.

    Like all such stories, it has references that the reader longs to follow up.

    I am about to mention some. I hope this is what you wanted when you posted this here; please understand this is not criticism, or at least not negative criticism.

    Anyway:
  • Welcome to the BBoard!
  • Your creative writing post is in fact creative and well-written IMO.
  • Don't feel pressured to answer my questions; or at least don't feel too much pressure, to answer too many of them too soon. That's not what I intended.
  • When you do answer some of them, other subforums (subfora?) might be the better places to post the answers, rather than Creative Writing. But you might want the threads to contain links to each other, in at least one post.

    Good to have you here!

    BTW you seem to be new here, but your name is very familiar. Where have I met you before? On the concultures Yahoo! e-group?


  • Yes, new here; and yes the same who made Auntimoany and its surrounding World! Thank you for the very kind welcome to CW!

    And like any such story, those references are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg, any explanation of which undoubtedly opening up many new lines of query. As time goes on, I'll take you up on answering some of those queries on other subforums; but I'll answer some specific to the story here.

    The proper names are interesting; and there seem to be some morphemes, if that's what they are, repeated between one name and another. What do those mean? Are they, perhaps, just the ambient language's common nouns for those animals? Or synonyms thereof? Or common nicknames for those animals? Or poetic kennings for them?


    I wish I could claim some terribly interesting concultural element is at work here!, but really the answer is quite mundane. These names are simply lifted straight out of the animal romances that were very common in earlier ages in Europe. You've certainly heard, at the very least, of Reynard the Fox and possibly Chanticleer the Rooster -- recurring characters in what almost amounts to a cycle of animal tale literature. Tyselyn & Wenselyn (and Ysengrim the Wolf, King over the Wild Wood) were lifted from those stories. As I recall, the judges' names were; I believe Wambert was on the List of characters I came up with for this kind of story. His name could easily have been altered from another Anglo-Saxon-esque name like Wilbert, or the like.

    In the World, these kinds of stories are very popular and the sawyers (the keepers of all ancient Lore) are kept busy cataloguing and commenting on the doings of Ysengrim and all his subjects in the land of the Wild Wood, just beyond the periphery of civilisation...

    I would guess (with highly insufficient evidence!) the names of the main characters -- those from species with two or more specimens in the story, such as the three ravens (the titular "Two" plus Wambert) -- are more about their personalities than their species. True or false?


    Whatever meaning the names originally had, I am sure that, like *here*, in the World those names have become almost synonymous with the animal and the personality they name. Tyselyn is surely become a byword for "slightly cynical, crafty and too clever by half" while "Wenselyn" is "scattery, hair-brained, chatty to the point of shooting himself in the foot".

    Why do you have "thou're" instead of "thou'rt"? Was that intentional or a typo? If it was intentional, I bet you have a reason, and IMO it is probably an interesting one.


    English is, of course, here used as a prolanguage. It stands in for a whole nother language, which on account of being a) foreign and b) constructed, would make reading the story very difficult. In this case, it's a prolanguage for Avantimannish -- the language of Auntimoany. My .sig contains a piece of very high Avantimannish poetic language if you want to give it a go.

    So in the case of this story, the register of the narrator ought to evoke the "standard" or "reasonably educated" dialect of an Auntimonian hearer or reader of this story; while the "non-standard" (but really no less educated) dialect of the ravens ought to evoke in the reader country folk talking in their peculiar regiolect.

    "Thou're" and the occasional "tha" and so forth might remind one of the West Midlands of England, where such things are still to be heard. It should be noted that Avantimannish itself continues the ancient singular / plural distinction in the 2nd person pronouns, so naturally, some other means of distinguishing regiolect would be in evidence in the original form of the story. Probably dialect forms of key words.


    Does your conculture have other stories in which some of these characters also appear?


    Yes, indeed. I have only collected a few in the original language and several more in translation. Many such stories turn out to be a kind of "etymological" or "origin" story -- they serve to explain the origin and meaning of common phrases in the language. You've undoubtedly heard of someone "calling the kettle black". Well, the sawyers of the World have in their collection an etymological story that serves as the source for that particular phrase!

    These animal characters also appear very commonly in Aesopian parables as well as the adventures and romances of the Reynard cycle proper. Sometimes their adventures seem to stray rather far from any coherent story cycle.

    I'm sure you've heard the adventure of the Three Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf? But, do you know what happened after that whole incident and their subsequent settlement with the insurance firm?

    elemtilas

    Posted November 4th, 2014 by elemtilas

    I was right; it is interesting!

    And I was specifically thinking of Reynard (among a few others, probably).

    So, sawyers collect saws (Definition 3)*, instead of (or maybe as well as) using or making saws (definition 1)**.

    Or is "sawyer" a synonym for "woodsman" or "woodcutter", and it's just natural that such people would collect stories about the forest and its inhabitants?



    *
    saw3
    /sô/
    noun
    noun: saw; plural noun: saws
    a proverb or maxim.
    synonyms: saying, maxim, proverb, aphorism, axiom, adage, epigram
    "the old saw about when the going gets tough"
    Origin

    Old English sagu ‘a saying, speech,’ of Germanic origin; related to German Sage, also to say and saga.



  • saw1
    /sô/
    noun
    noun: saw; plural noun: saws
    1.
    a hand tool for cutting wood or other materials, typically with a long, thin serrated steel blade and operated using a backward and forward movement.
    a mechanical power-driven tool for cutting, typically with a toothed rotating disk or moving band.



  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


    Say!; Remember the Tarantulette-Bikerina, the Romany Wolf-Spider, and the strip club with the Mantis-Queen strippers? Did anyone actually try to make the 64-page "graphic novelette" or "graphic novella" we were talking about? 'Cause I've still got these pictures in my head, but I can't draw for shit...

  • Posted November 5th, 2014 by chiarizio

    So, sawyers collect saws (Definition 3)*, instead of (or maybe as well as) using or making saws (definition 1)**.

    Or is "sawyer" a synonym for "woodsman" or "woodcutter", and it's just natural that such people would collect stories about the forest and its inhabitants?


    No, in this case it is quite different. The Avantimannish word for sawyer, sôôômanô, (loremaster, wise in the matter of the Old Stories) comes, like the Engl. def. 3, from the venerable old word seques; their word for saw, the implement, comes from the same venerable root as our word for saw, sekes, but by a circituous route. They borrowed the word for the tool from Rumelian and it ends up zargraz.

    Curiously, the native Avantimannish descendant of the old word sekes is a compound forming word, -seymanô and turns up in words like lêqseymanô, meaning "surgeon", or "body cutter".



  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *




    I don't think so - I'd quite forgotten about that!

    elemtilas

  • Posted November 6th, 2014 by elemtilas

    …. I believe Wambert was on the List of characters I came up with for this kind of story. His name could easily have been altered from another Anglo-Saxon-esque name like Wilbert, or the like ….

    If his name is Germanic then the "-bert" part comes from something cognate to "bright"; and describes the shiny tschotschkes (apparently one of the acceptable spellings) he likes to collect. Maybe "Wam-" means "lover of" or "collector of" or even "thief of". OTOH if it's like many Anglo-Saxon names maybe it's just two unrelated morphemes stuck together (e.g. Hroth-gar "fame-spear").

    Posted November 7th, 2014 by chiarizio

    …. I believe Wambert was on the List of characters I came up with for this kind of story. His name could easily have been altered from another Anglo-Saxon-esque name like Wilbert, or the like ….

    If his name is Germanic then the "-bert" part comes from something cognate to "bright"; and describes the shiny tschotschkes (apparently one of the acceptable spellings) he likes to collect. Maybe "Wam-" means "lover of" or "collector of" or even "thief of". OTOH if it's like many Anglo-Saxon names maybe it's just two unrelated morphemes stuck together (e.g. Hroth-gar "fame-spear").


    Very possibly. The other possibility is simply that workhorse word wan which in Avantimannish creates so many interesting compounds. In this case, the adjective wamberht can mean either "excessively bright object, bling" or "dim, dull" depending on the exact source of the wam- element. After all, wan, meaning "un-, -less" gives us all sorts of compound adjectives composed of un- plus a simple adjective. And wangaz simply means "a whopping big chunk of something; excessive, great in size or scope". -n b- combinations yield -mb-.

    Of course, it could also mean "glittering mole", but I doubt any self respecting mother raven would name her own eggchick for an earthcrawler, and a mere mammal to boot!

    elemtilas

    Posted November 11th, 2014 by elemtilas

    BTW I just found http://world.conlang.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

    Posted December 30th, 2018 by chiarizio

    BTW I just found http://world.conlang.org/index.php?title=Main_Page


    :)

    The plan there is put up all the private wiki articles I've got.

    The wiki format is also a fine showcase for art. Apart from pictures I've drawn, I've also commissioned a series of regal portraits (7 of 10 are done), which I plan to make biographies for.

    Thus far:
    http://world.conlang.org/index.php?title=Yesserae_Willunno & http://world.conlang.org/index.php?title=Serendarzhan

    Posted January 8th by elemtilas

    Who is Aoleev? Do you know her IRL? Does she use live models?
    Did you commission those illustrations, or did she do them for other reasons?

    ‘Cause they’re 👏 awesome 😎!

    (So are your wiki articles!)

    Posted January 8th by chiarizio

    Who is Aoleev? Do you know her IRL? Does she use live models?
    Did you commission those illustrations, or did she do them for other reasons?

    ‘Cause they’re 👏 awesome 😎!

    (So are your wiki articles!)


    Thank you!!

    Aoleev is an artist I contacted through Deviant Art. She made a series of five regal portraits for me (and yes, on a commission basis). I don't think she uses live models, but I do know the work is all digital.

    If you're interested, you can check out my Deviant Art gallery where can see my relatively poor attempts to draw people and animals from The World.

    In the "Commissioned Works" folder are all the World related images I've gotten from others.

    Posted January 8th by elemtilas

    You’ve commissioned from some skilled DeviantArtists.
    Your photos show you have quite an eye for beauty, too.
    The two-headed young woman is one of your queens; but she’s not a Daine, nor any other of your races I recognize. Have you felt like posting here on CWBB about her and her people?
    Aoleev doesn’t want to paint heavily armored people or hyper masculine people, if I understand correctly; but you have some of your own pictures of, for instance, Daine brothers, who are certainly unarmored, and I would say not overly-masculine. Do you think she could portray one or two of them to be merely masculine, and not overly mannish?
    Meanwhile I look forward to more encyclopedia entries and their accompanying illustrations!

    Posted January 8th by chiarizio

    You’ve commissioned from some skilled DeviantArtists.
    Your photos show you have quite an eye for beauty, too.


    Thank you! (On both counts.)

    The two-headed young woman is one of your queens; but she’s not a Daine, nor any other of your races I recognize. Have you felt like posting here on CWBB about her and her people?


    I don't think I've revealed anything about them as of yet.

    Aoleev doesn’t want to paint heavily armored people or hyper masculine people, if I understand correctly; but you have some of your own pictures of, for instance, Daine brothers, who are certainly unarmored, and I would say not overly-masculine. Do you think she could portray one or two of them to be merely masculine, and not overly mannish?


    Hm. Daine boys are masculine in the fashion of Daine! But I guess they don't particularly "manly" from a human perspective! :wink:

    It may be I'll look into someone to draw some boys in the future!

    Meanwhile I look forward to more encyclopedia entries and their accompanying illustrations!


    Thanks!

    Of course, comments, queries or criticisms related to the Wiki can always be addressed somewhere here at CWBB (or CBB).

    Posted January 8th by elemtilas
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