Urban Legend Myth in Mudewei | World Anvil
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Urban Legend

A ɦúlêr, lit. "hunting story", is the Stenza term for an urban legend. Urban legends are distinct from other classes of storytelling in that they are widely treated as true or potentially true accounts, regardless of their actual basis in reality.



Contaminated Food
  Arguably the most common subject matter for a Stenza urban legend is some kind of chicanery involving prey animals. Usually the cause is natural (i.e. fungal disease) but especially in older variants, it was often implied to somehow be supernatural (i.e. that fungal disease was caused by Iradae). The dependence of the Stenza on prey animals and famines such as The Lean Years have led to the format's enduring popularity even in the age of food preservation (with an added element of sometimes a character opens a storage chamber and finds the food has already gone bad).  
The Gods and Muhye
  In contrast with the urban legends of other societies, Stenza tellings often allow for the inclusion of gods and muhye. These include your overlap with the above "contaminated food" type to include Iradae as the cause of a disease, or Hunter as the cause of a famine. The story of Migration in Mourning also fits into this category as an account of a spirit's reaction to recent historical events. This category also includes stories of pups wandering off during migration and being led back to the group, usually by the Snow Pup in question.   Fire also features periodically, especially in stories by metalsmiths and the like which display the pup's wildly oscillating temperament, possibly a relic of Fire's days as the wildfire spirit of Sandibari animism, and their discovery and adoption by the Stenza.  
Attacks on Spacecraft
  Another newer form of urban legend involves mysterious creatures attacking Stenza craft, often being discovered by the Ship's Technicians on board. The description of the assailant varies, from something akin to the Stone Menace currently imprisoned in the Artificial Moon to entities described as "shadowy", "pup-like", or conical and metallic. The Attack on the Jaan is typical.  
  Other environmental hazards also feature in urban legends, including The Symmetrical Tree, a location in the Sandibari Forests where, it is said, time and space are warped. The Sandibari are almost universally terrified of the place, their belief being that it is either spiritless or haunted by something profoundly evil and alien to them, but they circulate stories which have reached Stenza ears involving animals and birds which got too close and vanished entirely (and can periodically be seen wandering in a daze). The Stenza say the same thing about the first explorers to the spot.

Historical Basis

The corpus of Stenza urban legends is large, so the quantity of historical basis in a given example can vary wildly. Some are based on true places or plausible events, and others cross more into the line of modern mythmaking (in that they involve entities which cannot be demonstrably proven to exist, no matter how many times they are seen). Interestingly, each telling is treated as, at least, broadly true (as in, a roughly accurate account of what someone claims to have seen or been party to).


Every Stenza has heard at least one urban legend at least once in their lifetime, and almost as many have passed them on to others. They are especially common for killing time on ships of all sorts and in children's mystery cults as a parallel to the stories adults tell of the gods, muhye, and the way the world operates.
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