Fabliaux of Louchébem

The Fox and the Honey

From his cosy den in the woods, the sly fox had often seen a bear who regularly came to an old oak tree and climbed it to gather honey. The fox was jealous, for he could not climb trees. But he noticed that after the bear’s meal, a trickle of leftover honey dotted with larvae ran down the bark to the ground. The next day, after the bear’s visit, the fox left his den and crept warily to the tree. As he greedily licked up the honey from the foot of the tree, another bear stepped on him.

Moral: foxes are a lot dumber than they look.

The Handsome Sailor and the Mermaid

A sailor on night watch heard a beautiful voice singing a bewitching tune. He looked across the moonlit waves and saw a lovely mermaid disporting herself in the calm waters.

“Oh, mermaid,” he called. “Please let me join you beneath the waves, for I have fallen in love with you.”

“Oh, mortal,” replied the mermaid, “You may join me, for you are fair to look upon, but you must never return to the surface of the ocean again.”

“That is a price I gladly pay,” he cried, leaping into the ocean by her side.

And so the handsome sailor and the mermaid were wed. But he found it impossible to produce enough milt for her countless roe, which left her feeling dissatisfied and cranky, and also led to quarrels with her parents. Not long afterwards, he died of pruney fingers and drowning.

Moral: even if they’re really hot from the waist up, going with mermaids is perverted.

The Bold Young Farmhand

A strapping young farmhand came to Louchébem from the Eastern fog marshes, driving a wain laden with gourds and branch-fungus. After he had seen to it that his oxen were properly tended, he walked into the inn with high excitement, for it was his first visit to that great city, and he had heard many strange tales of its amiable whores.

He approached a beautiful young woman at the bar, doffed his cap and boldly kissed her. Unfortunately, she was a priestess from the temple of Our Lady of Notional Chastity on her night off, and she and her sister-priestesses and proctor gave him the beating of his life.

After she had kicked him into the lane behind the tavern, she sneered, “You know, we don’t get many visitors from the Eastern fog marshes around here.”

“At these prices,” said the farmhand, “I’m not surprised.”

Moral: when boldly kissing an amiable whore, always ask to see her licence-badge.


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