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A story begins .................

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A story begins .................

Postby Bernard the Stout » Sat Feb 08, 2014 03:09 pm

You have all, I am sure, heard of the great journeys undertaken by brave and sometimes foolhardy men in search of markets for their livestock.
Those cowboys of the old wild west who took herds of longhorn cattle across dessert and over mountains on the Chisholm Trail or the notorious Great West Cattle Trail.

The drovers of Scotland who brought cattle from the lowlands all down the spine of England to markets in York or even further south.
Great herds of sheep were walked from Wales into English markets. Across the landscape there still can be seen the old track-ways and Drover’s roads that give a mute testament to these hardy travellers.

But what do we know of them and their epic journeys? Did they ever write home?
Is there a record of their heroic endeavours, in all weathers, against all odds to deliver the beasts under their protection and care?
Precious little, save only some bills of sale and the entries in old auctioneer’s ledgers held in some dusty corner of a museum or county records office and many an unmarked grave in a country cemetery.

But what if …..........
Of all the epic journeys taken by brave men who, with their livestock, travel huge distances over unforgiving terrain, braving storm, drought and predators of all kinds that of the worm herder is amongst the most difficult.

Not only do they have to contend with the elements, not only do they have to see off predators that fly to feed off their flocks in huge numbers. Or move their slow moving charges out of the path of animal, man and now even steam trains before they are crushed into a writhing jelly. For most of the journey they see only a small portion of their herd on the surface at any one time. They must listen with ear to the ground; they must look for those tell-tale signs of slow movement, like a musical adagio played within the folds of the soil itself.

Theirs is the lonely road. No lowing of animal, no comforting jingle of cow bell or sheep rattle on their long march, not even a dog at their heels to help bring in the outrider or runaway the spooked or scared. They walk alone those men of the moving soil. Heirs to a great tradition, trained by long years of following a master, learning the mysterious lore of the herder, for a pittance wage, for the goal of one day, one long day hence, being the man with a worm pipe who plays his mournful tune to gather in his wake a great subterranean herd of nature’s fruitful wriggly helpers.

So my cunning Plan.
I wish to share a journey amongst you all.
We shall be witness to the call for the soil nourishing Lumbricina, bred in the great enriched loam beds by Ebenezer Mangle, a man of who it can truly be said ‘he knows his worms from head to tail, inside out and back to front’. An acknowledged expert, whose family have been breeding worms for generations. From his establishment in Chittle by Quirm a goodly herd shall be placed under the care of one Thaddeus Spelt a worm herder of great renown. It is said amongst those who know the ways of 'the wrigglers' that no man has in living memory ever combined the talents needed for a worm herder as Thaddeus does. Steely eyed with a physique that can power him across miles of countryside, rough or rocky, ploughed of plain and still have the breath left to pipe such a melody that they say not just the worm follows in his wake but all things that do dwell under the sod.

And their purpose? To bring nourishment and fertility back to the soil of a good man in a hard place. Josiah Shawyer, once a farmer whose brassicas were the envy of growers far and wide. Full, moist and free from the curse of the caterpillar, his 'Jolly Green Giants won show after show and featured in exhibition and growers displays across the great fertile plains that is 'Cabbage County'.

But no more, no more. His land is tired and like him, losing the will to go on.
Only one thing can save him; worms. With them in his soil he can add nutriment from the night soil carts of Sir Harry King and see that mighty soft machine that is mother-nature once more bring forth a harvest worth bringing in.

But will this happen, will those boneless bringers of fecundity arrive in time?
Will there be enough strength left in them after an arduous journey for them to burrow deep and meaningfully? Or will he have to lose all and sell a daughter just to survive.

This is his story, the story of a good man hanging on, desperately waiting to hear those fleeting tones of the pipe on the wind that will signal his salvation.

Follow it in the letters and cards that go from him to breeder to herder. Read for yourself the telling and sometimes heart rending correspondence. Each missive in its original envelope, decorated with unique stamps and postal franks. Messages sent via the Clacks, postcards and other documents that will bring alive this poignant and moving story; a story of hope, a story of endeavour, a story with stamps.

If YOU would like to collect this epic tale told in parts then all you have to do is wait. Wait like Josiah, in hope and expectation. No need to sell a daughter though, just garner your GREEN CABBAGE STAMPS and send them in due time to:

The Great Worm Herder Saga
c/o The Discworld Emporium & etc.

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Bernard the Stout
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