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The Bard's Feat
by A. D. Barncord Doerr
Copyright © 1998

An old king sat on his throne with his face creased in worry. His troops were battling a nearby kingdom and brigands roamed his lands. The page had just informed him of his mother's impending death. After some thought, he called six of his guards and his bard to his chamber.

"As ye may already know, the Queen Mother is near death in the castle of her ancestors. I wish to see her once more before she leaves us. Since we cannot risk taking too many of our guards from the castle, I feel that the eight of us should go incognito."

"Yes, Sire."

The next day they started out. As they set up camp for the evening, they were surrounded by brigands. There was at least twenty of them. The bard realized that the guards were out numbered. In a loud voice he addresed them.

"Say, my friends! Have any of you heard the tale of the great thief Catchnot?"

The leader looked suspiciously at the bard. "What do you know about Catchnot, knave?"

"Only that he is the most clever and skillful thief in the world," purred the bard. He started to tell the brigands of how Catchnot stole a fortune from a lord who was not worthy of it. After that tale, he told about the tinker's tools and the story of the warrior and the jeweled mask. He then sung a song of love so sweetly that every brigand was wiping the tears from their face. He then told them about the gems of Orion. After the tale of the wishing stone, the brigand leader announced that they would let the party go unharrassed.

"Thou hast given us something more valuable than gold tonight, bard. If thou wish to pass this way again, then sing and we shall know by thy voice that it is you."

So he did on the way home. It took six songs before the brigands showed up and again pledge them safe conduct. When they returned to the castle, the king called the bard to him.

"Because of thy skill and bravery, I bestow upon thee these jewels:

One white diamond for your crystal voice,
Seven pink diamonds for the lives you saved,
Five light saphires for the stories you told,
And seven amythests for the songs you sung."

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Copyright © 1998, Amanda D. Barncord Doerr