Fic Prompts: Folklore Friday
Long ago there lived a humble woodcutter at the edge of a forest. “Humble” in this context merely meaning that his life goals were primarily to have a steady job, a house of his own, and access to a village doctor who didn’t charge exorbitant fees. The local noblemen tended to misinterpret that as a lack of ambition, considering such things were already readily available to them. (Those same noblemen would later wonder why so many of the peasants simply upped stakes and moved into the lands controlled by the neighboring Farmer King, which had a considerably more stable economy courtesy of the exasperated Grand Vizier, but this story is not about those noblemen, or the Farmer King, or poor old Vizier Eggwich, and we are getting off-topic.)
One day, the woodcutter had gone into the heart of the forest – which was really shaped more like a spleen, to be honest – to cut down some old, dead trees that were liable to fall at any moment. He had been at it for a few hours already, and his hands were getting very sweaty. And, as happens when one’s hands turn into a slippery mess of blisters and calluses, his grip on the axe handle weakened. He was pretty lucky not to have injured himself, really, but he would almost have preferred that to the axe flying head over haft into the deep creek a few feet away.
The woodcutter was a decent swimmer, but you don’t go cannonballing into strange bodies of water in a forest without making sure they aren’t inhabited first. That’s just common courtesy. And the last thing you’d want to do in a situation like that is crash feet-first onto some irritable kelpie’s head or something. So the woodcutter stared at the place where his primary means of supporting himself had vanished, and sighed.
“Well,” he said, “That’s unfortunate.”