The Rattler's Tail Myth in Ealdwyll | World Anvil

The Rattler's Tail

Once upon a time there was a brave young girl. She was the bravest of all children at her Motherhouse. Yet when the time came for the older kids to learn how to hunt, she was not allowed to go with them.
‘But mother,’ the girl whined, ‘I am braver than all the other kids. Why can’t I come?’
‘You are too young to hunt,’ her mother answered, ‘have patience. Next year you can come too. And then I will teach you everything you must know.’
But the girl did not want to wait a whole year. She helped grandmother tend to the garden knowing she always took a nap before lunch. Then she waited and waited, until finally grandmother lay down and fell asleep. Quietly she grabbed the dagger her mother had given her and snuck out of the house. As agile as a cat she climbed the fence and soon found herself outside her families enclosure.
She was so happy that she ran and hopped and laughed while running towards the woods. Not for a moment did she notice something was following her. When she finally arrived at the forest she stopped. For a moment she hesitated for the forest looked dark and menacing. She was the bravest of all the children though, so after a moment she pushed aside her fear and disappeared between the trees.
The songs of birds filled the cool air between the trees. The girl thought the forest was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. But soon she realized she did not know her way back anymore. And why did the birds stop singing? She stood still and looked around, and then she heard it. A soft rattling sound. She turned around and saw the most monstrous beast she had ever seen. It stood tall on four strong legs and stared at her with teal glowing eyes. When it lowered its head her eyes fell upon the huge claws and teeth. That is when she realized it must be one of the Inflicted. She had heard tales about them, but never saw one.
With a shaking hand she lifted her dagger, for she was brave. Yet the rattler lifted its tail, shaking it so the rattling grew louder. The girl turned and ran, as fast as her legs could carry her. But the rattler ran faster. The girl screamed as it caught her. Its tail rattling ferociously while it ate the girl. All that could be found afterwards were some bloody rags and a dagger.

Spread and historical basis

This children's story is very popular throughout central and northern Ghynzua. It serves as the primary example to warn children never to leave the safety of their community without guidance of an adult. Because children grow up in walled cities, villages or family communities the world outside the wall has an almost mystical allure. Even in current times it is not unheard of to hear about an adventurous child that was killed by a rattler when it snuck outside the safety of its families enclosure.  

Cultural reception

Some people find this tale too gruesome for young children. In particular those variations that go into more detail about the death of the girl. Nevertheless the story remains popular as most matriarchs belief it is necessary to educate young children so they are aware of what is out there. Throughout the last ten years several groups have petitioned the small councils to demand a ban on this fairy tale. But these petitions have been rejected time and time again.
Date of First Recording
Around 500 AP
Related Organizations

The creature

Rattler's are Inflicted creatures native to the wilderness of the central and northern regions of East-Eghea. They appear to have mutated from a canine species which presumably became extinct during the Pulse.
It is one of the largest canine-like Inflicted with males averaging 55-65 kg and females 48-54 kg. On average, adult rattler's measure 125–200 cm in length and 95–100 cm in shoulder height.  

Art and literature

In the present time most families own books with a more modern, less brutal, version of this tale. The accompanying drawings are often child friendly. Except those that depict the rattler. In older times the drawings were often very gruesome and not very fit for children.
The story is so popular that it can be found in most fairy tale collection books. One of the oldest, and possibly first written, account of this fairy tale can be found in the Emperial Library in Miraiy.


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