‘Villages disappeared. Where they had thrived were empty fields of waving grasses and moaning winds,’ the storyteller began, rubbing his chin and looking around to engage in turn each of his young listeners. Then he whispered, ‘Hear me well if you would save this village from … the minstrel.’
The children shrank down, wide-eyed. The storyteller nodded and pulled his lute by its strap around from behind his back. He sang. The village disappeared.
Days later, mist formed on a lake at dawn and drifted toward a nearby village. It paused and took shape. One black boot, one white. Satin tights, one leg scarlet, one leg gold. A checkerboard tunic of green and black. A jingle bell cap of driftwood grey. A fine lute strapped to his back. He strolled into the village and headed for the marketplace. At noon, the village disappeared.
Beware the minstrel. Beware the mist.