Uru Live: The Fisherman's Brother

I wrote this as a contribution to Subterranean Restorations, for their "D'ni Fairy Tales" project:

In our recent explorations of the residental areas south of the D'ni Art Musum complex, we found a book that appears to be a D'ni equivalent to fairy tales. The book looks like it has been deliberately torn apart, though the damage is not recent, and likely not due to looting. There were also some illustrations to go with the stories, and if you wish, you may restore those as well.

-- SR project page

How many leaves has the Tree?


A hundred?


A thousand?


How many then?

(As many as there are stories!)

You are all wise children. This story is called "The Fisherman's Brother."

Two brothers lived in a tiny house, and they were poor fishermen. They were so poor that they only had one bed between them, and one chair, and one plate, and one fork. Their tiny house was on a tiny rock in the middle of a pond, and the pond was in the middle of a tiny island, and the island was in the middle of a tiny lake, and the lake was in the middle of another island that wasn't very big at all, in a faraway corner of the Cavern.

Though the pond was tiny, it was full of beautiful golden fish. So the fishermen brothers would catch fish all night. In the morning when the water shone, they would pole to the edge of the pond, and then paddle to the edge of the lake, and then row to the edge of the Cavern, to sell their fish at market. And that was how the brothers lived. Their names were Lehv and Sehv.

Well, one night Lehv was fishing on the pond, and something snagged his hook. He thought it was a twig or a rock; but when he pulled it to shore, what was before his eyes but an old and moldy Lost Age!

Of course the brothers were so poor that they had no Books at all, not even Home-Again-Home. "Oh!" said Sehv. "We should bring this to the City! The King will reward us--"

(Which King was it?)

What? Why, it was the reign of King Moomelnoohm, I believe.

(There was no such King!)

You are such wise children. Anyway, Sehv wanted to give the Book to the King, who would take care of it and would certainly give them a wonderful reward.

But Lehv said, "No! I found this Age and I want to visit it. Besides, what would we do with a reward? Buy a second bed and a second chair and a second plate and a second fork? The Age must be full of treasures and adventures and wisdom. We should get them all, and then we would be rich and live in a great mansion in the City."

But Sehv said, "No! If we enter this Age without Home-Again-Home, we might find adventures, but we might never return from them."

They argued and argued, but in the end Sehv refused to travel to the Age, and Lehv refused to stay home. And Lehv put his hand on the Book, and vanished away.

(Oh no!)

But yes.

Sehv waited all night in the tiny house. He was too worried about his brother to sleep; he was too worried even to fish. Then he waited all day. Just as the water was fading, Lehv appeared again, flushed and laughing.

"Oh!" said Lehv. "I've seen so many things! I saw a city of glass with seven gates; I saw a forest of flowers and a canyon full of birds. I found a golden statue twice the size of a house! And then I found Home-Again-Home."

"Well, that sounds lovely," Sehv said -- thinking how glad he was that his brother was safe again. "Twice the size of a house, you say?"

"Entirely! But it was too big to carry Home-Again-Home, you know," said Lehv. "Tomorrow I'll travel back to the Age and look for a golden statue that's smaller. And then we'll be rich."

"No, no!" said Sehv. "You found adventures, and you found Home-Again-Home, but you could still fall off a cliff or be eaten by a lizard. We should bring this book to the King now."

"We'll decide in the morning," said Lehv. But in the morning when the water shone, his brother was still asleep. So Lehv put his hand on the Book once again, and vanished away.

Sehv waited all day, and worried. And again, just as the water was fading, Lehv appeared.

"Oh!" he said, "I've seen so many things! I saw a cave full of clouds, and a green river that flowed up a mountain, and a fiery dragon that I ran away from. And I found a golden statue twice the size of a man! But it was too big to carry Home-Again-Home."

"Please don't go back there," said Sehv.

"I have to!" said Lehv. "I'll find a treasure small enough to carry, and I'll bring it home, and then we'll be rich."

They argued all night. But the next morning, Lehv put his hand on the Book once again. And Sehv waited all day, too worried to fish or sleep or even sweep the floor.

And then Sehv waited all night. But Lehv never came home.


But he didn't.

(But Lehv has to come Home-Again-Home! With the treasure!)

Did you think this story was about Lehv? It's called "The Fisherman's Brother," after all.

Sehv waited all day and all night, and his brother didn't appear. He waited, and worried, and nibbled some bread. He thought about bringing the Age to the King, and begging for help. Once, when the water was darkest, he thought about throwing the Age back into the pond and never thinking about it again.

But in the morning, he put his hand on the Book and went looking for his brother.

Lehv wasn't hard to find, as it turned out. Fiery dragons are easy to see, especially when they're chasing your brother up and down a canyon full of angry birds. Sehv threw a rock at the dragon, and then it was chasing both of them.

It chased the brothers through a cave full of clouds, and through a forest of flowers, and up a green waterfall to the top of a mountain. It was nibbling their heels as they raced towards Home-Again-Home. And it blew a cloud of fiery breath as they flung themselves on the Book, so that when Sehv and Lehv reappeared in their tiny house, they were on fire, and had to fling themselves into the pond very quickly indeed. And the Age Book caught on fire too, and burned quite to ash.

(Oh no!)

You couldn't be sadder than Lehv and Sehv were, when they dragged themselves dripping and sizzling from the pond.

"Well?" asked Sehv, as they went into their tiny house. "Did you find your treasure?"

Lehv opened his hand. In it was a tiny gold statue, twice the size of his little finger.

He set it at the head of the bed, and went outside to fish.

(The end?) (The end!)

And what did the brothers learn from that?

(Never touch an unapproved Book!) (Or bring Home-Again-Home with you when you do.) (Carry a dragon sword when you go to fight a dragon!) (And wear a suit!) (Suits aren't dragonproof.) (Yes they are!) (Wear a dragon suit!) (I bet two people could have carried that statue home. They should have gone together.)

You are all such very wise children.

Last updated October 2, 2007.

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