Short Story: From the Desk of Bryn Mawr – The Troubadour

From the Desk of Bryn Mawr
Cultural Anthropologist, Purveyor of Economics, and All Around Good Gal

CASE TITLE: Troubadour
Also known as: The Bard, Songstress, Musicmaker
Area of Sightings: Eastern Forest, from Maintop to Sandalwood

The first encounter with Troubadour that was not lost to history was in 1725. There, an early settler of Bark Falls said he was out foraging when he heard a melody coming from some unexplored branch. He said he felt almost drawn to the music. When he reached the branch, something took flight, but he claims to have seen a half-Dirigible, half-bird fly away. He said the feathers were of many different colors and seemed to shine in the sun light. The other settlers were a superstitious lot and took this creature has a devil spawn. They set out to hunt and kill the creature. 6 went out. Only 4 returned. The other two went to live in a nearby town when they saw it had better houses.

Legend grew around the being. Parents often told scary stories centered on the Troubadour to warn their children against playing amongst the weaker branches. Often the stories would be about some hapless child being swept up by the tune the monster was playing and wandering out onto the skinny branch. The branch would then snap, sending the child to their doom as the Troubadour would fly away. The tale got so famous that noted fairy tale writer Young Brig Ume incorporated it into his collection. Little details were added or subtracted from this version of the tale: sometimes Troubadour would catch the falling children if they repented for their misdeeds, sometimes the animal would eat the remains of the children to take their innocence.

While the young Dirigibles were kept in fear of the mythical creature, some adults were fascinated with it. Peppered throughout history, there are records of “Troubadour Hunting Parties,” even to this day. Of course, no one has yet to come back with the monster, dead or alive. Then there are Troubadour “researchers.” These people claim to have found Troubadour feathers in the forest. These feathers are much larger than any recorded bird’s. However, most of these feathers, when put under scientific analysis, have proven to be fake, made from synthetic materials (Reference Berkeley’s work here). When whole bushes of berries are stripped bare, the Troubadour is often blamed amongst the less educated folk.

Troubadours have also been blamed for breaking up marriages. Back in the 1800s, in a small community near the border of Leaves and Paint Branch, there was a series of divorces in which the man was accused of cheating on his wife. All the men claimed that they were lured away from their wives by the Troubadour and left confused, leading them to be taken into the arms of another woman. The men said they thought the other woman was their own wife. This became known as the “Dividing Incident” and is still being debated in certain academic circles today. The small community has gained some fame for the incident and opened a tourist center focused on it. Claims that it is a viable reason for divorce in that town have been unverified.

The Troubadour is firmly planted in today’s culture, through shows like “The Search for Troubadour” and, ironically, the popularity of the novelty song “Sing Like a Troubadour” by Jewel E. Ard. The legend has become somewhat of a joke, with the aforementioned “Hunters” and “Researchers” being laughingstocks. There are Troubadour costumes available for purchase. No longer is the tale told to children to scare them. In fact, the children’s version was adapted for an animated feature film in the last decade.

The origin of the legend is probably rooted in the fact that early settlers of the region were not familiar with the local collection of birds. Surely hearing some of the unusual calls for the first time scared and intrigued the settlers. I even bet some of them fell to their deaths when they went exploring and forgot their surroundings. The legend achieved long term relevance when it was archived by Ume. Before that, the tale was based mainly through oral history and could have easily been lost.

I suspect that even with the lack of evidence, the legend will continue to be at the forefront of the fringe sciences. Modern “scientists” claim that analyzing the vocal patterns of the Troubadour will help with finding a suitable mate for us Dirigibles. There is even a supposed black market for the monster’s vocal box. Yes, they are selling something’s vocal box. I feel sorry for the Dirigibles ingesting that. It certainly does not help you land a date when you lean in for a kiss and your partner smells animal guts on your breath.

It is an interesting cultural trajectory to follow though. It starts off as a wondrous creature, then morphs into something to be feared by children, then something that causes “innocent” men to sin against their wives, and now, into something that is basically fun and games and spurs whole careers. What Dirigibles can’t explain soon becomes just another thing to laugh about or profit from.

Since even with today’s advance technology we have yet to locate even one piece of solid evidence of the animal, Troubadour remains a myth and I do not foresee it ever being discovered.

Wingspan is said to be between 10 to 20 feet.
Can either be heard singing in masculine or feminine voice (dependent on who is listening?)
May also be heard with a guitar (Modern reports)





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