Swamped

Swamped Chapter 138 Page 11

After the hero tricks the creature, he nearly stumbles on his way down the volcano. He drops the magic mirror and the proof of his deed, and they both fall onto unstable rock ledges.

With time to save only one, he ends up choosing the mirror, because he believes its power will let him help his people. Without the proof, he ends up losing the dare, but the mirror allows him to show the true nature of the sinister character who dared him to go up there in the first place.

Then it leads into the hero using the mirror to help his kingdom, bringing it prosperity for the first time in years. Then it concludes with a poem, summarizing the moral of the story.

Reflect not ‘pon that which you seek
When risking fire and stone,
The mirror’s timely glance procures
That which were not shown.

You can’t help but notice that this version of Jackie’s story ends with a poem as well.

Listen well to sound advice,
For no one knows all things.
But do not confuse wisdom with noise,
A bird is not all that sings.

“I have to say, these rhymes don’t seem to match up very well with the lessons the stories are supposed to teach,” you mutter out loud. “How common is it to end stories with these?”

“Not very,” Badger replies. “But there was a period of fifty years or so where it was popular in a specific region of what’s now Kandria. So it’s useful for narrowing down the origin of a story.”

Hmm. Then both these stories were told in Kandria, and Matilda thought there was a connection. Same author, perhaps?

“These are translations, right?”

“Yes. That’s most likely why the poems are a little off, the same rhymes wouldn’t necessarily work in the original language. I do happen to have a book of stories from that region in the local language, but I’m not familiar with it myself so I don’t know how much good that does us.”

You think about that. Grandmother knew a few languages, but it wasn’t really a hobby. So if she was pointing you to something, it’s unlikely to be in the original versions.

Then perhaps… You flip through the books to see if they name the translator. You find each book has a list of who translated each story, but most of them are pen names. Including the two in question.

However, there’s an interesting connection between those two pen names that you can’t help but notice.

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