Tale of the White Guar

I’ve completely rewritten this tale, because the original was terrible and full of interalized misogyny that I’ve long since purged from my psyche. This version will appear in the next update of Books of Vvardenfell.

There once was a poor farmer and his wife, who lived in the Grazelands their whole life. While the farmer dutifully tended the lands of his fathers, toiling all day in golden fields, his wife dutifully tended hearth and home. Their sons were not so dutiful, and had all sought work in the cities, leaving their aged parents to tend the crops alone. This old couple made a meager living, and the farmer’s toil gave him great thirst. Exhausted at the end of every day, the farmer sank into his cups, and his wife despaired of ever knowing him as he once was.

As Last Seed neared, the farmer looked forward to reaping the rewards of his august toil, but instead found a herd of wild, white guar grazing on his crops.

“Shoo,” he yelled, and brandished his sickle, “Shoo, or I’ll make meat of you all and tan your hides.”

But the largest guar spoke: “We are the sacred guar of the Temple. Killing us is forbidden.”

The farmer, fearful but strong of faith, left the sacred guar grazing his fields. Every night he prayed to ALMSIVI that they would leave, but every day they continued to eat and trample his wickwheat. After three days of nothing but drink and despair, he’d had enough. He went into the fields to slaughter them, and mounted the head of the finest white guar on his mantle.

His wife feared to gaze into the eyes of the dead white guar, but feared her husband in that moment all the more. That night, she prayed to ALMSIVI for forgiveness.

The next night the farmer heard a terrible noise outside his door. He ran outside, brandishing his pitchfork, and found a pack of nix-hounds harassing his prized guar.

“Stop,” he yelled, “or this pitchfork will find its way into your spleens.”

The largest of the nix-hounds laughed. “You’ll do no such thing. We are the hunting hounds of blessed Almalexia. She demands your guar as tribute.”

“Blessed Almalexia would not keep such base creatures.” The farmer drove the nix-hounds off, but the damage was done: they’d left his prized guar dead. That night his wife prayed to ALMSIVI for peace.

Over the next few days, the farmer tried to salvage his harvest. As he brought the last vegetables into the cellar, he stumbled upon a rat eating his ash yams.

The mangy beast stopped chewing to chuckle, and said, “I am the sacred rat of the sewers of Vivec.”

“Ridiculous,” the farmer exclaimed, “Sacred rat indeed!” And with that, the farmer slit the rat’s throat with a knife.

That evening the farmer ate rat pie and drowned himself in drink. Later that night, his wife found him unusually fit in bed. As she laid beside him, exhausted in the afterglow, she heard the faint sound of laughter on the wind. She prayed to ALMSIVI for relief.

As Frostfall neared, the farmer’s wife rejoiced, for she was with child. But the farmer had no memory of the conception. Despite her being so old and frail, the child grew quickly in her womb, leaving her unable to rise from bed. Her husband tended her, taking on her daily work, and despaired, for they had not enough to feed a new child through the winter.

She gave birth near the end of Sun’s Dusk. The child looked healthy and fine, but was far too ravenous. As he suckled, he often bit his mother’s breast, until she could no longer stand to feed him. She was too weak to lift the child off her as he cried and beat her with his fists.

The old farmer took the newborn child and spanked him. The child retaliated, biting him on the thumb, then bellowed at him with the voice of a grown man. “I am the fruit of your sin. If you wish to live the winter, bring to me all the meat and bread you have stored. Tis the will of the gods!”

The terrified farmer ran to his larder, and gave the child everything he had. All the guar meat he managed to store, as well as the remains of his harvest, went down the child’s gullet. It devoured everything – hair and hide and bone. The creature supped until the poor farmer’s cupboards were bare. The thing became more bloated and grotesque with every bite.

“I still hunger,” the creature yelled. “Old fool, I’ll have your beer-soaked bones!” And with that the creature leapt across the room and devoured the farmer in one gulp – hair and hide and bone.

“Monster!” the farmer’s wife cried, “How could you eat your own father?”

“My father?” The child cackled and stood as tall as a man, a bloated thing with yellowing flesh, red eyes, and sharp teeth. “I am a son of Molag Bal. Your husband allowed demons into your home, and now reaps what he has sown. As for you, dear mother, I thank you for your warm womb.” The creature burst out the door and disappeared into the night, shrieking in the wind of the winter’s night.

That night, the poor farmer’s widow wept and prayed to ALMSIVI for justice. The head of the white guar spoke:

“Blessed Almalexia already sent someone to protect you from Molag Bal and his servants. It was I, the white guar.”

The Tale of the White Guar was originally an old Ashlander tale. Modified by the Temple before publication, it originally attributed the protective powers of the white guar to Almalexia’s anticipation, Boethiah.

Text by Sarah Dimento (a.k.a. Stuporstar)