The Tale of B'Caw

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As related by Shyriath Bukolos:

Once, long ago, in times and places untouched by memory or history, there lived a simple man, a farmer, near the banks of a babbling river.

Aside from the presence of his family, he was seldom disturbed by the doings of other men. No one lived near him, for in those days the numbers of men were smaller, and they had not yet filled up all the rich places of the world with their teeming numbers; and he traveled far, and seldom, to sell his crops. But despite his solitude, always did he treat visitors kindly, for in the innumerable cycles of birth and rebirth he had accumulated much positive karma, and he was a kind and virtuous man. Thus lived the farmer quietly, tending to his crops, his family, and to his flock of chickens. For his chickens were large for their kind, and productive; and their meat was tastier than that of any other chickens in all the wide world. And sometimes, when there was occasion for a great feast, he would take some of these for food, and cook them, along with a special blend of spices from what his wife had grown in the garden. And the spicy chicken he produced thereby was among the most famous dishes in all the land, and those who had the opportunity to taste it marveled at it, for its flavorful spiciness seemed to burn away maladies in the mouth and throat and stomach.

So things passed for many a year. But as the years advanced, a band of evil men, their souls tainted by the foul darkness of Balgurd, moved across the land from distant regions, conquering all those that lay before them. They came at last to the market town where the farmer sold his produce, and enslaved it to their will as they had with other towns before it. It so happened that the conquest occurred during that time of year when the farmer had come to town; and he was captured along with the townsfolk. And the leader of the evil men, riding through the streets of the town on his black horse, heard tales of the marvelous spicy chicken produced by the farmer and his family, and sought him out. For he desired to taste this dish for himself, and moreover to deny it to others; for it made them happy, and to his mind more dangerous. And the evil lord threatened the farmer with the destruction of his family and property unless he served him a portion of the spicy chicken.

And the farmer, fearing for his loved ones, complied, and a great feast was arranged for the evil lord with a great measure of the spicy chicken as the main dish. But behold! When the evil lord ate the spicy chicken, he tasted nothing of its flavor, nor did it spice cleanse him of any ailments; instead it burned his throat, as if he has swallowed fire, and no amount of drink would quench the searing pain. For the spicy chicken had been made through hard work done by a good man, and it carried the inner light of his essence; and one who sought to take it for himself out of greed and malice could not but be burned by such things.

The evil lord, driven to madness by his pain, leaped screaming into the river, but all the cold waters of its flow could not help him. And weighed down by his armor and golden trinkets, he drowned, trapped at the bottom. And his men, seeing their death of their mighty lord, were angered, and accused the farmer of cravenly poisoning him. And they tied him up, and beat him in the view of the townspeople, and declared that he should die, and that so should his beloved chickens; and the spices that he used would be destroyed, the spice garden burnt to nothing. And they sent a portion of their number toward the farm, intending to destroy it.

But the townspeople, rather than being cowed, were instead angered. For they knew that the farmer had done no wrong, and that he was a good and honorable man; and they remembered the spicy chicken and the joy it had brought them. And in anger they rose up, and fought the evil men, and freed the farmer; and the farmer fought alongside them, driving them through the streets until none remained in the town. But the farmer feared for his farm and his family, and for his chickens; and he was angered at what they wished to do. And a number of the townspeople, eager to help him, went with him to the farm, to stop the evil men from plundering it.

But when they came to the farm, the found that no harm had been done!

For the plunderers, having come upon the farm while the farmer’s wife was cooking, had smelled the delicious odor of spicy chicken being cooked in the night air. And unable to resist, they had come to the door, and asked to share in the feast; and the wife had agreed, for she was as kindly as her husband. And although each of the men had had but a small portion of the spicy chicken, many of them had had their hearts turned by its power, for they were not all as evil as their lord; and when the farmer and his followers came to the farm, they wept before him and asked his forgiveness.

And the former plunderers were forgiven by the farmer, and in celebration of the new peace he gave out the recipe for the spicy chicken to all the people of the town, so that they would have it to experience. And because of this, and his role in averting disaster at the hands of the evil men, he was thereafter much honored by the people of that land, and his words much heeded. And yet he did his best to remain a simple farmer as he had always been, and did so to the very end of his days. On his deathbed, he summoned his family to him; for he saw many things through the opening door to his next life. And he told them of the power of good food to inspire good things in people; and he spoke of the divine power of people taking up important ideals such as that for their guidance in life. And he spoke of the burning spice of the chicken as being akin to the burning zeal of the human heart.

And when he died, it is said that so great had been his positive karma that he was admitted into the Celestial Temple, and became a God. And he took unto him the most frequent utterance of the chickens he loved as his new name, and they speak it constantly, even unto this day.