us then consider another myth and see what information it yields to us:
the Charger sat brooding on the pile of bones he called his throne. “I
have defended the Four Keeps that my father left me,” he said to his
foster-father. “I have slain the beasts of the forest to feed my
people. I have slain the foes who came in our territory, and we have
feasted on their meat. Yet I feel as if I have failed my purpose.”
aged Second Eater, considered the words of his kéhal. “My liege,”
he replied in the slow tones that Krauvill had grown accustomed to,
“your rule has been enlightened, and the lands of the world have
smiled on you. You have given meat. You have safeguarded the eaters of
meat. What more is there to accomplish for a kéhal?”
shifted his bulk on the bones. A single bone came undone, rolling off
the pile and finishing its movement before the feet of Houl. The Second
Eater picked it up, considered the white remains of a Man who had
offended the Master of the Four Keeps. “What more, my liege, but that
you have served your people?”
Krauvill said, his tones as grave and slow as Houl’s, “that he has
done more than what is expected of him.”
Houl granted, “but what would exceed the bounds of expectation?”
that the mighty Krauvill had no answer, and his brooding overtook him
anew. He had done so much in his years – he had slain boars and deer,
voles and bears; he had wrestled with Klaûm who wanted the Third Keep
for himself; he had charged the dragon Isnarón and feasted on the
dragon’s wings while giving of the richest meat to his brethren; he
had fought and fed; he had journeyed far and wide, to the edge of the
world where the icy bridge led to the Unmen of the North.
a day, Krauvill stayed on his bones, not taking of the meat that the
Second Eater offered, not taking of the meat that his wives offered. In
brooding he fed himself, of the sight of the land around the Second
Keep, of the demands that the land and its people put on him, and in
thoughts of what more he could give. For it was in giving that a kéhal
fulfilled himself, in repaying the coin of loyalty that was given him.
Of this Krauvill knew, of this Krauvill had benefitted.
Drúol’s smile at the feast gleamed on the horizon, he rose and
announced that he would leave the Second Keep to go forth to another.
Houl wrapped the waymeat for his liege and himself, yet Krauvill stayed
his hand. “No, it shall be I alone who goes forth. Within five days I
will return, and I will bring meat for five days of feasting.”
wait for the Second Eater’s words, the kéhal strode out of the keep,
down the mound of grassy dirt, along the rows of well-fed, gleaming
white-furred Men and Women. When he reached the channel of running [akin
to the roads we know, but Furrag dig grooves into the soft ground –
perhaps a heritage from a time when their ancestors lived underground?],
he turned not his head but he charged ahead, towards the plains of Ralakûm.
it was there that he had always turned back before, where he had shied
away from the sight of the cattle of Ralakûm, and their herder, Great
Kondill, with the wit of two Men, taller than three Men, stronger than
four Men. Kondill had defeated warriors since the beginning of memory.
He had torn their limbs from each other and fed them to his bulls who
were the biggest and fattest in all the lands. Always there were Men on
the borders of Ralakûm, staring with hunger and desire at the cattle of
the plains, yet rarely did any dare cross into the realm of Kondill.
Those who did were crowned with wreaths of hilga [a kind of moss
that can be plaited] on their horns, and the champions challenged
Kondill, only to feed the bulls.
were great Men,” Krauvill said to himself when he stood on the border,
“but they took the wrong channel in their fight.” So Krauvill the
Charger turned back once more, for the last time, and searched the lands
for a bull tall enough to come near to those of Ralakûm. The bull he
slew, feasted on its meat, but took care to spare the hide.
to the border of Ralakûm, he put the hide on his shoulders and became a
bull. Roaring his bull’s cry, Krauvill charged across the border and
waited for Kondill to come and fight him. Yet Kondill did not come.
the Charger roared and went in search of the cattle of Ralakûm. For
half a day he searched before he found them, and there was Kondill also.
Krauvill’s heart froze at the sight of mighty Kondill, the Walking
Keep. Then the herder saw Krauvill, shook his head and said, “You I do
not know. Belong you here, or are you to feed my pets?”
said, “I will see. Come with me, newling.” The Walking Keep led
Krauvill back to the border of Ralakûm where a new champion of Man
stood to challenge Kondill in battle. Kondill accepted the challenge,
and he rent the Man apart, and he laid the carcass before Krauvill.
“Feed you of this, newling.”
Charger did as he was asked and ate of the meat. And Kondill was pleased
with this, and so Krauvill was accepted into the herd of Ralakûm. For a
day he walked with the cattle, for a day he grazed, waiting for Drúol
to swallow the sun.
Kondill laid down to sleep, and Krauvill the Charger did as his name
foretold. He charged the Walking Keep and tore the herder of Ralakûm
apart with his bull’s horns. Of the meat he feasted, then shed the
bull’s hide to become a Man anew.
Kondill has fallen, and so has Ralakûm!” he cried to the Men beyond
the border. “Behold this, for this is a new keep of mine, and I am now
Krauvill, Master of the Five Keeps!”
kéhal charged a selection of Men to take on the task of herding the
cattle of Ralakûm before leading a dozen of the mighty cattles off
himself, towards the Second Keep which he reached on the eve of the
fifth day after his departure, to tell the tale to Houl the Second Eater
and the warriors of Man.
are several items of interest in this tale.
is that we have another case of patricide (more or less) here when
Krauvill murders Kondill, that ancient godlike being. [We might also note
the similarity of the names. Spoken in a Furrag tongue, the two are nearly
indistinguishable.] As the Charger murdered his physical father Balash
earlier to become ruler of the Four Keeps, he now kills the Walking Keep
to take the cattle and expand his realm. Throughout this tale and the
other myths about Krauvill, Houl remains alive – no matter how much time
passes. The foster-father is considered the true nurturer of the Furrag
tales, he is the actual father figure in our sense. [That is not as
strongly represented in actual modern-day Furrag society.]
there is a transformation when Krauvill becomes a bull, proving how close
he is to nature. There is no representation of Mother Nature, which is
somewhat unusual in these tales. [One variant has a maiden come to
Krauvill and tell him about Ralakûm, but this appears a later addition.]
Yet we have cases of feeding interchanging between the realm of beasts and
more important is that we see here a case of crossing a border into a
place beyond the ordinary world. Ralakûm (akin to the maiden’s cave in
the above story) is apart from the land of “Men”. To cross into it is
to die for the ordinary person, but Krauvill does so through guile, taking
on a deity-like role.
becomes a “trickster god” who relies on his wits rather than his
brawns. In that he can be likened to a child confronting a parent, which
is explained in the story through Kondill’s extraordinary size and
strength. [A necessary part of the tale since Krauvill otherwise is the
pinnacle of Furrag power.] We must also see that the Walking Keep is said
to be very smart and wise, which raises Krauvill’s guile by a great
have fixed personalities and names [though they change from one tribal
sub-language to another], yet they do not act personally on events. They
enfuse the characters of legend with their specific power and character,
much as the various transformations we see here. It is not like the
priests we know who are granted the power of blessing and curses, nor like
wizards who access the magical flows in our world; it is a nearly complete
transformation from mortal to deity.
is in fact the strongest idea that Furrag have about their gods. The
world-apart where the deities are “themselves” – and not a merged
being part mortal and part god – is something of little concern; it is a
matter for the occasional prayer but not a clearly seen element of their
life. Having a person become a part-god on the other hand is how they view
their deities: any Furrag can become a god for a limited time, to fulfill
a special purpose.