I was going to write a different post, but ended up deciding something more light-hearted was in order.
My girlfriend and I write casually every night with each other, in something we call ‘play,’ the shortened name for roleplay. It’s nothing like larping or D&D. We develop characters by bouncing them off of the other person’s own, our worlds slowly grow and become more and more detailed, and then we finally have a sense of some sort of story, after a lot of rubbish, which we find to be worthy of salvaging. This is one of the excerpts I’ve been thinking about lately. I would consider the story inside to be a sort of flash folk tale; I wrote it in under twenty minutes. Tik is NJ‘s character.
“Oh dear… I fear that sort of wine might make me loose-lipped.” Ryldur stared at the creamy wine, considering it with a chuckle.
“Perhaps you might tell me a few amusing stories then,” Tik said, taking another sip, “I don’t drink without company.”
“Mm, amusing stories…” he thought for a time, trying to recall a story he might share, “I can’t claim to be the best of storytellers. You would certainly be better at it than me, Miss Tik. But there was one story that I used to hear a lot when I was younger, from the other boys, about a grasshopper that convinced a merchant to give up his fortunes.”
“Oh my goodness! What on earth would a grasshopper do with riches? ” Tik giggled, pulling her sofa closer so he wouldn’t have to raise his voice to speak his story.
“What would he do indeed!” He smiled smoothly, “As it happened, the grasshopper had no business at all, or even an interest, in riches. He was content to be a grasshopper, plain and simple, and make his music for the lady grasshoppers in the reeds.
“Unfortunately for him, he lived very near a rich merchant’s house, and the merchant hardly found his music charming at all. Night after night, when the grasshopper would begin his soliloquy, the merchant would come out cursing and demand him to silence. Well, the grasshopper was merely a grasshopper, and saw no harm in his chirps. He carried on as usual. The merchant then decided to solve the problem by cutting down all of his grass, such that the grasshopper would have not even a blade of green upon which to perch. How disheartened, our poor grasshopper friend.
“The grasshopper was clever, however, and quickly devised a plan. He knew the merchant was a single man, for no married man would care whether grasshoppers were chirping at night or not–he would be doing plenty of chirping his own. So he went to the river, and gathered a great many reeds, to dress himself finely in a skirt, all girdled together with spider silk. And then he went to the lilies, and painted his face to be in the custom of human women. After that, he crept to the merchant’s house, disguised as no less than a beautiful woman, though of course if any were to look carefully passed the window reed shutter, they would know it to be the grasshopper.
“He went to the merchant’s window, and chirped, in the sweetest voice he could muster, ‘My, what a handsome fellow. I wonder if there is a home here for me?’ As that is the chirp that grasshoppers make. The merchant was quite charmed, and instantly ran to pull back the reed. ‘Oh no!’ cried the grasshopper, ‘please don’t look. Only my husband can have the privilege!’ And so the merchant stopped. ‘What can I do to be your husband?’ he asked. ‘Plant me a pretty lawn, to match my robe.’ answered the grasshopper. So the merchant complied, and by the next night, a fine green lawn was installed in his yard.
“But the grasshopper was not done with him. The next night, he came to the house wearing a yellow reed dress. ‘My, what a handsome fellow’ it repeated, and the merchant, confused, replied, ‘Am I not still fit to be your husband? Look at this fine lawn.’ The grasshopper shook its pretty head. ‘Not nearly right enough. For you see my robe is yellow. You must have gotten it wrong.’
“The merchant, dismayed, apologized, and promised to set it right. And the very next day, had the green lawn removed and the yellow installed. But that night, the grasshopper arrived in red.
“This continued for many nights, until, the grasshopper, having acquired firefly lights for a robe, came to the house, and warned the foolish merchant that this would be his last chance to prove he was worthy. Well, the merchant lay his lawn down with gold bricks, and before the night fell, every one of them had been stolen. He was now too poor to have his garden weeded, and the grasshopper was free to chirp to his heart’s content. Also, everyone in town was a little bit richer.”
I hope you enjoyed it!
Image from Schulman Arts