Stomra’s Stablemaster, an Oogle Tale written by Lowell Kempf
Well, I wager you already know about how Stomra came back down the mountains and made the animals clean of the queen’s taint. I reckon you even know that the first two animals to pledge their way with him were Sister Cat and Brother Hound. Well, then, what do you know about Stomra’s stablemaster?
You see, the cat and the dog, they were just the first animals to come and serve Stomra. Other creatures, after they saw how good those two had it, they came too. The cow and the sheep and chicken and the pig, although you got to admit the pig got a raw deal, didn’t he?
Out of all the animals that came to serve him after the cat and the dog, the one that impressed Stomra the most was the horse. Now, he didn’t go and let the horse live in his house the way he did the cat and the dog. No sir. But he did build the horses one grand old stable, full of straight lines and strong walls.
Now, Stomra, being the father of all mankind, he had plenty of decendents. And he called over his oldest great grandson and told him that he was going to give him one fine honor, the honor of being his stablemaster, the one who’d be in charge of the stables and the horses.
Now, not being a God, I cannot tell you what Stomra was thinking when he did this. You see, his oldest grandson was a man by the name of Oogle and damn few people would have given him the keys to the outhouse, let alone the stables. Oogle was someone who had quite a long list of things he’d rather be doing rather than an honest day’s work.
However, when Stomra tells you to do something, then you go and you do it. And make no mistake, among his other qualities, Oogle was a man who’d puff his chest out and take on airs if you gave him half a chance. Looking after the horses that belonged to none other than Stomra, well, that was plenty of reason to be proud.
Of course, Oogle’s sons did most of the work around the stables. The horses all knew them and not a one of them would have known Oogle if he had ever bothered to do a lick of work. Probably for the best, since if Oogle had been the only one doing things around the stable. it’d have been a race to see if thoe horses’d drown to death in their own manure or starve.
Oogle was also mighty keen on the bottle. Didn’t take him much to start drinking but it would take nothing less than an empty bottle to get him to stop. Most nights, Oogle couldn’t have walked in a straight line to save his life.
So, of course, one night, he goes and leaves the stable door open and the horses, they mosey on out and go on their own way. When Oogle gets there the next morning, he finds an open door, an empty stable and no horses at all.
Now, I’m not saying Oogle was a bright man but it would take a pretty darn stupid man not to know that losing the horses of Stomra was not a good place to be. Oogle, he runs off looking every which way for the horses. He doesn’t have enough sense to look to the river to see if they’d gone there for a drink or to the fields to graze. All Oogle is doing is running around like his head’s come off, hoping that he’ll see some sign of them.
Now, back in those days, it was a lot easier to find the servants of the queen. Some of them had gone and found the horses and they were right proud of themselves. The queen had taken some of the big lizards that live in the swamps and she’d stretched their tiny little legs out until they were arms and legs like you and me. Finding those horse, well, they could give most of them to the queen and they could save a couple for themselves for eating. No matter how you look at at, it was a fine deal for them lizard folk.
Well, must have been the hand of Stomra himself that let Oogle stumble across them. Couldn’t have been any sort of common sense on Oogle’s part. He saw them malformed lizard folk sitting around the fire, drinking their bottles of dark brew, with all the horses all around them and he knew he had to do something about it.
They say a lazy man will do twice as much as an honest man to keep from doing a day’s decent labor. Oogle, he had had plenty of practice being lazy and he knew quite a bit about the tricks of getting out of doing anything. When he saw the queen’s creatures, it took him no time at all to have himself a tricky idea.
He snuck in behind them, keeping to the bushes. He was used to hiding from his wife when she had chores for him and the servants of the queen had nothing on her. Then, in a voice that the queen herself would ahve mistaken for her own, Oogle said “Fools! What are you doing?”
The lizard folk looked all around for their queen but, of course, they didn’t see her, seeing as how she wasn’t actually there. Oogle was there but he kept himself well hidden.
“Don’t you know,” screeched out Oogle in the queen’s voice, “that Stomra’s horses are free, wandering the land? What are you doing, drinking, when you should be getting them for me!”
“But, queen,” their leader said, “we have his horses right here.”
“Those puny things?” said Oogle. “Pah! Those are scrawny little runts. Stomra’s horses are twelve feet tall and breath flames and I want them! Go!”
All the lizard folk ran away, leaving behind the horses and, more to Oogle’s pleasure, their bottles.
Well, Oogle, he laughed and laughed until he could barely breath. Then he came out and he started finishing off the bottles that they had left behind, laughing even still. He had more of an eye for the bottles than for the horses and he hadn’t moved an inch towards the stables by the time he drank himself blind.
Next morning, he woke up in the middle of the swamp with a pounding headache and no horses. He was in the same mess as before and it was a day later. He spent all that day running around, looking for the horses.
When he finally got home that evening, he found that his sons had found them that night and brought them back to the stable. Oogle, he didn’t a lick of credit for saving them from the queen and got a tongue lashing from his wife besides. Stomra, he didn’t say a thing but he laughed so he knew more than he was saying. That’s how it is with gods anyway.