The guard took my handcuffs off and told me to strip. I did as I was told and changed into the
prison garb I had been given.

The prisoners had already had their evening meal, so I was given something to eat, shown where
my cell was and dumped in the common room where prisoners could watch television until lock
up time. Apparently the television was on the fritz and the inmates were grumpy and bored. I
was hardly inside the room when I was violently pushed from behind forcing me to stumble into
the meanest, biggest and ugliest motherfucker I had ever come across. As I was to find out later
I had just sailed into “Cranky” Bill, the leader of the Hellfire motorcycle gang and undisputed
leader of the inmates. I tried to apologise but Cranky cut me off.

“I haven’t seen you before, what are you in for?”

I told him that I had been wrongfully remanded by an incompetent magistrate and didn’t belong

“I’m only a writer and storyteller, I have done nothing wrong,” I said.

“A storyteller eh?”

I suddenly realised that the room had gone dead quiet and that all the inmates were looking at
us. Three of the screws had positioned themselves close to the door as if expecting trouble.
Cranky looked at the crowd and said:

“Well, with the television up the shit I think Mister Storyteller here should tell us a bedtime
story, what do you think?”

There was widespread nodding and a few nasty grins amongst the inmates. They were obviously
enjoying Cranky having a bit of fun with a newcomer.

“See Mister Storyteller, they like the idea.” Cranky pointed out, then stepped back and with an
exaggerated theatrical bow and a flourish said: “Take it away Maestro, the floor is yours.” He
then sat down with his mates, leaving me standing in the middle of the room - all eyes on me.

I looked around the room and said: “This won’t do, we will have to set the stage first. The way it
is now this place sucks.”

“Got that right,” came a voice from the back. There was some laughter.

“Let us imagine that we are all here in a medieval tavern, say around King Arthur’s time. We
have just partaken of a magnificent banquet,” I dropped my voice and continued, “A bit hard to
imagine after the slop they just fed us but…..”

There was some sporadic laughter and a lot of grinning.

“All of you have a huge tankard of foaming ale in front of you,” I dropped my voice again, “I
asked the warden to supply us with some ale to make the story more realistic but he told me to
get fucked.”

This time there was some real laughter. I was starting to rope them in.

“There are six buxom wenches buzzing around serving you, all of them are there for you ... for
the asking,” and again in dropped voice, “I asked the warden for that too but he wouldn’t be in
on this one either.”

Laughter again. The faces of the inmates had changed, there was no more veiled hostility,
instead they looked relaxed and curious as to what would come next. My audience was starting
to enjoy itself.

“Into this atmosphere enters our hero, a wandering storyteller and minstrel. He is having a few
problems at the moment. His clothes are not in the best of condition, he has no musical
instrument or any other possessions, in fact he is not recognisable as a minstrel at all. He steps
into the centre of the tavern and announces: ‘I am Waldo the Bard, I am down on my luck and I
could do with a meal, a few drinks and a bed.’

‘I heard they had chopped your head off over in Travonia,’ said one of the guests.

‘I got away before it could get as far as that,’ grinned Waldo.

‘This I got to hear,’ said the man, ‘Landlord, give the fellow something to eat and a tankard of
your best,’

Waldo sat down and after he had eaten and was on his second tankard of ale he told his story”


“The kingdom of Travonia is a strange and morose place, that’s why nobody ever goes there. At
he time there were a couple of fathers chasing me for what I had done to their daughters. It
seemed like a good idea to go to a place that everyone shuns for a while until things cooled
down a bit.

“I didn’t do very well. The Travonians are a joyless lot, not given to song and storytelling. So I
jumped at the chance when I was asked if I was interested in giving a private performance.

“The private performance turned out to be in the bedroom of Queen Athalia, and it was an
instrument other than my lute she was interested in.

“It became a bit of a routine. Some servant would turn up and give me a time. I would then at
the appointed hour go to a certain place and enter into a secret passage that led straight to the
Queen’s bedroom. After my “performance” I would leave by the same route.

“The Queen wasn’t much of a conversationalist. Apart from ooooooooohhhhh, aaaahhhhh and
AYYYYYEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIHHH about the only other words she ever said were
mmmmmmggggggggnnnnnnffff and hhhhnnnnggggggdddddd when she had my dick in her

“It was the only job I had. The queen always gave me some money afterwards, so I was living
quite well.

“Of course it couldn't last.

“We were at it as usual when the unmistakable sound of an axe tearing into the bedroom door
interrupted our routine. I pulled out quickly and grabbed my clothes and boots that were at the
foot of the bed while my dick was shooting copious amounts of spunk all over the marble floor.

“I made for the secret passage. By that time the bedroom door had given in and a guard went
straight for me. He would have caught me too if he hadn’t slipped on my come and fallen flat on
his face.

“Once inside the passage I closed the door and relaxed. I knew it would take them ages to figure
out how to open it and I didn’t think the Queen would give them much help. So I put on my
clothes and got the hell out of there. I could not risk to go back to where I was staying and had
to leave all my things behind.

“Hiding during the day and travelling only at night I eventually made it out of Travonia and here
I am.”

“Tell us about Travonia, what is it like, why don’t travellers go there and why don’t their people
venture outside their kingdom?”

“Seeing that I have come out of Travonia with only one other tale worth telling it will cost you a
night’s lodging, a breakfast in the morning and a bit more of this magnificent brew.”

One of the guests passed the hat around the listeners and gave the collected amount to Waldo
who seemed quite happy with it. Once he had another tankard of ale in front of him he
continued with his story:

“As you know Travonia is about a ten day journey west of here, on the other side of the river
Trav. Most people live in small villages and live very frugally from small time agriculture. They
do not like strangers much.

“Kataria, the capital, is their only city. It is fairly big and completely surrounded by a twenty
food high wall that has eight gates to the outside. It is the only place where you come across
people other than Travonians, mostly traders from the north.

“Brown, yellow and superglue are banned in Kataria. I had to dye my boots and belt black and
discard my yellow neckerchief before I was allowed to pass through the gate after I was given a
stern warning that the possession of superglue was a capital offence punishable by death. I
asked the guard at the gate why these laws existed; he only said ‘You’ll find out soon enough’
and refused to discuss it further.

“I very quickly found out that Travonians do not like to discuss that part of their law. They do
not talk much at the best of times and seem to have a real thing against having a good time.

“Don't get me wrong here. Travonians are not a nasty or belligerent people. They just back off
at every attempt at humour or light hearted conversation.

“I am an entertainer. Humour, ridicule and bullshit are my stock in trade. I felt out of place in
their stern, matter of fact type of environment.

“It was a great relief therefore when I ran into Xandos. In company he was just as dull and
morose as the others. When we were on our own with a tankard of ale and no one around to
observe us he became a totally different person.

“He had a good sense of humour, liked to laugh and was not adverse to a tankard or two too
many, something that Travonians never did. We only ever did this at his house when we were
the only ones there. Xandos was an enigma to me until I found out he was not a Travonian at all.
Although he had been living in Kataria for almost half a century he had not been born there. He
came from Taviria, an adjacent kingdom in the north that Travonians did almost all their trading

“He had come as a young man to Kataria with a group of traders and had seen an opportunity.
In those days trading was a bit of a hit and miss affair. Caravans often carried goods for which
there was no immediate demand or goods needed to make the return journey worthwhile were
not readily available. This meant valuable time was spent sorting out these problems, time which
could be more profitably spent moving goods.

“Xandos figured that what the Tavirians needed was a resident agent who could arrange
placement of orders beforehand, store unsold goods until a buyer could be found and arrange
profitable cargo for the return journeys. For this he could charge a commission.

“Xandos’ idea proved to be a winner. Within a few years he had over one hundred people
employed, both in Kataria and in Daros, the capital of Taviria. He became a wealthy man.

“The old man and I were having a few tankards at his place. For once Xandos was in a bad
mood. When I asked him what the matter was he complained of the endless hold-ups the
Travonian authorities caused to his incoming caravans with their endless searches for yellow or
brown items and, heaven forbid, superglue.”

“What is the big secrecy surrounding these laws,” I asked,” I cannot get a straight answer from

“It’s no secret really, Travonians just don’t like talking about it. It isn’t exactly their proudest
moment in history.”

“Will you tell me what this is all about?”

“Sure,” he said, “it’s really quite a funny story, though Travonians don’t see it like that.”

Xandos stood up and went to fetch us some more beer before he continued:

“Travonians weren’t always as morose as they are now. Until what they call euphemistically
‘that event’ they were pretty much like everyone else. It was ‘that event’ that convinced the
priesthood and eventually the king that their fun loving ways had angered the gods and that
things had to change.

“Out went jokes, festivals, drunkenness, banquets, any kind of merriment in fact. The kingdom
was purged of the colours yellow and brown and the possession of superglue was made a capital

“All of that happened because of Drogor the Curse, previously known as Drogor the Legless
and before that as just Drogor. His name is never mentioned in polite society. He is believed to
be still around but no one has seen him for decades.”

“He must be quite a man to cause that much grief,” I commented.

“Well, he isn’t exactly a man and he actually didn’t do all that much either. This sounds strange,
I know, but it is quite true. The whole story actually begins with Sigelia.”

Xandos took a deep draft of ale, leant back in his chair and continued with the story.

“Sigelia was a Travonian witch. From all accounts she was in her younger years a lovely and
helpful lady though decidedly odd. She was a gifted healer and people went to her for medicine.
She was also a big girl, nearly seven feet tall.

“One day she managed to attract a wood troll and fell in love.

“Wood trolls are huge, human like creatures, about ten feet tall with green hair and purple eyes.
Their skin looks like dirty dishwater and they smell. People say Sigelia fell for him because of
his size. Wood trolls are not malevolent creatures. They prefer to roam the world in a solitary
fashion and normally shy away from humans. They have enormous appetites and are greedy
feeders. Something to do with their size perhaps.

“Anyway, after about three months Sigalia found she was pregnant. When she told her lover he
took off and was never heard from again. He is probably still around. They normally live to 300
and have no natural enemies.

“Sigelia was devastated. She blamed the unborn child for her misery and tried everything she
could to get rid of it.

“Nothing worked. A wood troll foetus is unbelievably resilient and has a very strong will to live.

“Sigelia swelled to an enormous size. When the child was born he was already four feet tall and
massive, ruining Sigelia’s vagina for life. She named the child Drogor, after his father.

“Sigelia’s sex life was over. This bothered her a great deal and as time passed she grew bitter
and grumpy and started getting into fights.

“The boy, in spite of his appearance was well liked by Travonians. He was good natured,
affectionate and always polite though there was one thing about him that would become a
problem over the years.

“Drogor had huge amounts of energy, he rarely walked, he was always in a run. That wouldn’t
have been so bad, but he was very clumsy and kept bumping into things. Sigelia blamed herself
for his clumsiness, she felt she had damaged him in some way with her numerous attempts at
abortion. She hoped he would grow out of it eventually.

“By the time he was eight Drogor was seven feet tall, his legs were like tree trunks and the rest
of his body matched their size. He was still bumping into things but now he was doing real
damage. People became angry.

“Sigelia was at the end of her tether. Nothing she said made the slightest difference, the boy just
wouldn't slow down.

“In desperation she put a hex on him. Whenever he moved faster than a slow walk his legs
would drop off and the rest of his body, suddenly deprived of support, would plough into the
ground. He then had to go back, re-attach his legs and be hopefully more careful next time. She
figured three months of this should see him cured. It was not to be.

“That very night Sigelia picked a fight with a travelling sorcerer. She had picked the wrong guy.
When the fight was over all that was left of Sigelia was a small pile of smouldering ashes.

“Since no one could undo the hex Sigelia had placed on her son poor Drogor was stuck with his
affliction. He became known as Drogor the Legless.

“Drogor’s problem turned out to be a blessing of sorts. After a while he had learned to control
his speed, his legs very rarely fell off any more and because he was a very strong and willing
boy the king assigned him to the construction gangs who were forever altering and extending the
fortifications as the city grew. The workers were pleased to have him, he could lift boulders they
had trouble with and he could carry huge loads, albeit slowly.

“Drogor was happy. People liked him and he was being useful.

“One thing irked him though. Whenever the city held one of its numerous banquets he could not
rush to the tables like everyone else. Having to move slowly meant that by the time he got there
all the good bits were gone and he had to contend himself with cold potatoes and bits of
vegetables no one wanted. He wished that just once he could get there first and get the pick of
the crop.

“One of the workers suggested that a bit of superglue might stop his legs from falling off. Drogor
thought this one worth a try.

“He bought a big bottle of the stuff and broke into a run. His legs fell off and he ploughed into
the ground as expected. Drogor crawled back to his legs and doused the joints liberally with
superglue before re-attaching them. He had used far too much and as a result some of the glue
ran into places where it wasn't supposed to go, namely his orifices of elimination. Drogor had in
effect glued his prick and his arsehole shut. He didn’t notice it then and even if he had, at this
time he would not have cared, because when he got up and tried to run it worked. For the first
time in years he was able to move at a speed faster than a crawl.

“His clumsiness had not shown up much when he was doing things slowly, now that Drogor was
racing again it returned with a vengeance. He kept running into things once more, wrecking
much he had been building in recent years. People were pissed off at him again. Drogor didn’t
care. He was whole again, that was all that mattered.

“After a couple of days he started feeling a bit uncomfortable. He realised he had not been to
the toilet since he had fixed his legs and got a little worried, enough to see a doctor.

“The doctor quickly found out what the problem was. He told Drogor that skin continually
renewed itself and that after a while the glue would stick mostly to dead skin and give way.
‘You’ll be uncomfortable for the next two or three weeks, then it will right itself and you will be
as good as before,’ he said.

“In spite of having both exits blocked as it were, Drogor’s appetite had not diminished any. He
kept gorging himself as before. By the time the next banquet came around, some two weeks
later, Drogor’s body had blown up to gigantic proportions. The pressure inside had built up to
the point where it had become quite painful, but Drogor didn't mind.

“On the appointed day Drogor was ready. The tables were laden with food. As was the custom
the king and his entourage filled their plates first and sat down. A bugle sounded and the rush for
the food was on. The crowd charged. Drogor moved like the wind and was front runner.

“Six feet in front of the tables the glue gave out. Drogor’s legs fell off and his enormously
bloated body plunged to the ground. The sudden impact caused the rest of the glue to come
undone and suddenly the pressure inside had somewhere to go.

“A geyser erupted from his body that shot a hundred feet into the air. Gravity took over and
moments later the king, his entourage, the food and everyone present was covered in brown and
yellow polka dots that stank to high heaven.

“Drogor quickly put his legs back on and quietly crept out of the city before anyone came
looking for him. He has not been seen since.

“That was the day when he became Drogor the Curse and Travonians became what they are


I took a step forward and bowed to the prisoners, signalling the end of the story. They were still
laughing when they started applauding. One by one they stood up and continued to clap. The
inmates were giving me a standing ovation, even the screws were applauding with abandon.

Cranky got up and walked over to me. The crowd fell silent.

He gave me a bear hug and said:” I haven’t laughed like that in years and by the look of it
neither has anyone else. You really are a storyteller.”

I honestly believed that because of my story my arse would be safe that night.

It wasn't.
The Storyteller
by Hans von Lieven