Children's Tales by Phinneas Callidus
Catalogues of folk-tales and stories meant for children are not novel entries into the Livrarium's stacks in Adessa. But such compendiums have always been assembled for the purposes of philological or anthropological study. I take the aversion to (or, more correctly, complete miscomprehension of) enjoying such tales as a symptom of the pact that gnomish childhood. We are given access to logical digressions and well-constructed allegories, but nothing that might be considered a "tale". So I wish to make it well understood: this collection was made for the appreciation of reading the stories contained therein.
I: The Frozen Net
(This telling was heard in a Ljosalfar tavern, on the Icebrine Coast)
The winter winds come early on the Icebrine, and they leave late. In the winters of the past they would chill the waters and the ocean to stillness. If one of the small fishing villages that dotted the coast, the fishermen shared a warning to those that made port: "When the first snow falls, you must not go near the ocean." Wir, a young Ljosalfar who was reputed for his uneven temper and precociousness, would often ask the fishermen what the danger was. They would give no answer but to shake their heads and say. "When the first snow falls, you must not go near the ocean."
Wir was never one of rules, and when the winter snows began to fall, and others dragged their boats on land, he continued fishing the sea. Every night, the older fishermen would beg him not to sail out the next morning and every morning that's just what Wir would do. The old fishermen were wrong, Wir thought, for nothing had bothered him but a bit of cold.
Eventually, a storm swept up one day that drove Wir under deck. When the winds and snow had finally died down, he emerged to find his vessel trapped in ice. For hours he sought to free his ship. But as night fell, a fog rolled in around his ship and a great voice cried, "Another too small for me to keep! In a few years, you'll make a better catch!" The winds swept up and Wir, terrified for his life ran under deck once more. Through the planks of his hull, he could hear the great ice sheets cracking, and he could feel the waves pushing his tiny ship. This carried on for hours, until he heard a tremendous crash! His ship had been pushed back by the frightful entity and its powerful storm, all the way back to his fishing village.
Ever since that day, Wir could not meet the faces of the older fishermen without acknowledging that they had been right. The spring and summer were when the Alfar fished, but when the autumn and winter was when the frozen sea would cast its net, hungry for the prey that sailed them.