I don’t know about you, but I love faerie tales, folk tales, and mythology. There’s something so enchanting about glimpsing into the fantasy worlds of people who lived a hundred, a thousand, or even several thousand years ago. Every culture is unique and has elements of great beauty, but to all of us the world over, storytelling is our collective heritage.

My novels are, for the most part, fantasy, so I get to create new worlds. I inevitably find myself writing legends or mythology for the people of my new worlds, often using old-fashioned language like that of Andrew Lang’s Red Fairy Book. I read the 1000+ page tome on a very long road trip when I was twelve and it remains one of my favorites. The  story I’m posting today is a legend from the land of On’Erom. I broke it into three parts to keep it from being an overwhelming read. You can read Part Two here and Part Three here. Please let me know what you think. There are buttons to leave comments at both the top and bottom of the post. ~ReGi

There once lived a wizard by the name of Alperan who roamed the mountains of On’Erom. The people of the valley below the mountains lived in fear of Alperan and warned their children not to be fooled by his clever disguises. “Never open the door after nine o’clock, even if it looks like your own granny, or he’ll snatch you away to be his slave.” When the cows gave less milk than usual, or the chickens stopped laying, or the crops were sparse, they said among themselves, “Alperan’s been here. He’s done his mischief.”

One day, a boy about 17 years old came to the valley. He went from house to house asking for food. In exchange, he promised to work a year doing anything asked of him. He searched until the moon shone high in the sky and even the lights of the tiny inn were snuffed. At last, one kind farmer took pity on the exhausted boy. He gave him bread and milk, for the evening meal was long since finished.

The boy ate ravenously but refused the offer of another helping. The farmer gave him a blanket and told him to sleep in the loft of his barn, but the boy refused. “I must begin my work for you tonight. What would you have me do?”

The farmer thought for some time. “There are no jobs to do on a farm at night, but you may gather some Night Lilies for my wife. She wakes before dawn and will see them before they close for the day.”

So the boy went out and the farmer went to bed. In the morning, the farmer’s wife awoke to find night lilies in every room. She ran to her husband and kissed him till he awoke, thanking him for the lilies again and again. “It was not I who picked them,” he confessed, “it was the boy I sent.”

“But it was you who sent the boy to pick them. Thank you my husband.”

The farmer, much pleased by his wife’s good humor, went to his loft to wake the boy and thank him for his good work. Instead, he found the boy in the stalls, mucking them out. A basket of eggs and a bucket of milk waited nearby. The farmer, much amazed and very grateful, hired the boy on the spot and gave him the best treatment of all his farm hands.

Before long, the senior farm hands grew incensed against the boy because of his favor with the farmer. They dogged his every step and undid every bit of his work, but he only did it over and over again without complaining. He worked so quickly and tirelessly that eventually even the grumpiest of the farm hands admitted that the boy was worth ten of them.

This is not the end!