Cheese Taking is a tradition common in the town of Brewminster, taking place every year.
When a vagabond stole a cheese maker's wheel of cheese, he ran after the thief, out of town and into the woods. Suddenly, the cheese maker was attacked by a vicious beast. His thief, armed only with a cheese knife and with a cheese wheel under his arm, saved his life. The cheese maker was grateful and somewhat stunned they both had made it alive. As a token of peace, he let the vagabond keep his cheese. They gratefully left the village, promising to return one day for another wheel. Though it's unknown whether they kept their promise, a tradition blossomed as the cheese maker waited for him. In place of the vagabond, he gave his cheese to his fellow villagers. Now, in spirit of the original tale, challengers are tasked with stealing the town's cheese supply from a nominated guard. The winner is allowed to keep their bounty, whilst the rest is returned and given to the people in a cheese feast at noon.
During the week, a guard is chosen and cheese put into an inventory for Cheese Taking Day. Competitors in the Cheese Taking apply for a chance to win their share of cheese, with only a maximum of 20 candidates chosen for the day. On the Sunday closest to the 28th of Budbeam (April), the ceremony is in full swing. The stockpile of donated cheese is gathered on a long table, which the nominated guard has to watch over. They start sitting on or in front of the table, awaiting the competitors to try their luck. Once a winner is chosen, they lay the table and invite the town to sit for lunch. The remaining cheese is gathered and made into many cheese-related foods. After they've eaten, cheese supplies exhausted, stories and songs about the original cheese taking echo through taverns and households alike. The theme of generosity, of taking care of your neighbours, remains strong even after all these years.
Components and tools
A long table (or a series is tables) is set up in the widest and longest streets for the locals' neighbourhoods. Tools for eating - cutlery, plates, pots and pans - are also in high demand. Of course, locals need to amass a large stock of cheese to feed everyone at the banquet, and for the "thieves" to steal.
GuardA guard is elected by the Cheesemaking Guild from a pool of public candidates. Townspeople often joke about "submitting their Cheese Vitae" in the run-up to Cheese Taking Day. Their task is to guard the cheese from the competitors, and disqualify them if the thief gets caught. Since they have to catch thieves quite intensively, they've given a free pass from setting the tables.
Cheese Takers / ThievesCompetitors apply to become "thieves" in the week before, hoping to win the event and get armfuls of free cheese. Their goal during the actual event is to steal as much cheese as possible before they're caught by the guard and disqualified. If you aren't caught during the half an hour, it depends purely on who has the most cheese. They help with the set-up of the tables if they aren't busy storing their new cheese supply.
Cooks & Cheese MakersThe food industry is very busy during Cheese Taking Day, spending most of the morning preparing the lunch feast. It's the most important day in the cheese industry calendar, so a lot of effort is put into making quality cheese by the deadline. Stores throughout the year are donated to the Cheese Taking, but some are in reserve specifically for the banquet event.
Cheese Taking Day is on the nearest Sunday to the 28th of Budbeam (April). The week before is referred to as "Cheese Makers", when the cheese is compiled and everyone applies for the Cheese Taking contest.
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