Story The Old Innkeeper

Discussion in 'Stories & Tales' started by Pycella, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. Pycella Member

    Here is a story I told yesterday at the Moonshine Party, organized by the Aleford Band and Struck by Moonlight.

    The Old Innkeeper

    Once there was an inn, located in a hobbit village.
    It was run by an old innkeeper who was highly esteemed.
    Even though he was a bit stingy and kept the prices high as a standard.
    And his ales and beers weren’t even that good.
    Folks suspected that he added water to the beer from time to time.
    That rascal…
    But people kept visiting the inn nevertheless.
    It was a nice gathering place for the old and the young; the bold and the beautiful; the good, bad and the ugly.
    At the inn, many tales were told, tunes played, pints dropped… It was a merry place.

    One day, one young lad came to the old innkeeper.
    “I am a keen lover of ales and like to brew them as a hobby”, the lad said.
    “Could I become your apprentice and learn more about the trade?”
    The old innkeeper smirked, but after having thought about it, he gave in.
    So, the lad started to work in the inn, helping the innkeeper with the chores.
    The salary was minuscule, but that didn’t bother the apprentice.
    Because he had some other things in his mind…
    One evening, the lad was at the bar, taking care of the customers.
    When the old innkeeper returned from his pipeweed break, something caught his eye.
    The ale in the customers’ pints looked much darker than usual.
    The innkeeper rushed to his apprentice.
    “What are you serving our customers?” he hissed.
    “Not the prized stuff from the cellar?”
    “No, no, this is my own brew,” the apprentice said.
    “It is blackberry stout, with a strong berry flavour. I call it the Bearded Lady.”
    “Dear me,” the old innkeeper said, rolling his eyes.
    “Oh well, as long as you do it at your own expense, I am not complaining…”

    The old innkeeper regretted his words soon afterwards.
    The apprentice started to sell so many special brews that the bar looked like a dye seller’s booth:
    Every beer and ale had a different colour.
    When the apprentice started to sell turnip beer, the old innkeeper had had enough.
    “This nonsense has to stop! This liquid here is a repellent, not a beer!” he exclaimed.
    The apprentice shrugged.
    “If you don’t like my beers, maybe it is the best that we go separate ways,” the apprentice said.
    “I will start a new inn where I can serve anything I want.”

    So, the apprentice left the inn and started a new inn down the road, not that far away.
    To the old innkeeper’s surprise, it attracted most of the customers.
    It seemed that they longed for something new and full of taste.
    The new innkeeper offered much more variety too.
    Soon, the old innkeeper’s place stood empty, while folks gathered at the new inn called the Lord of the Ales.
    The old innkeeper sneaked to the new place on one night, eager to see why it was so popular.
    After he had found his way through the crowd, he stopped by the bar and ordered “a pint”.
    All he got was a lengthy list of different ales, each of them with a fancy name that didn’t say anything to him.
    “Okay… just give me the cheapest beer you have,” he sighed.
    It was the turnip beer, of course.
    The place was crowded. There was a bagpipe band playing some fast music.
    Everyone was shouting at each other and spitting their beer all over.
    “I wonder what has gone into people,” the old innkeeper said and left the bar, returning to his own inn.

    Many weeks passed without a single customer.
    Then, on a late evening, as the old innkeeper was closing up, he saw an old lady wobble towards his place.
    “You need any assistance, ma’am?” the old innkeeper asked politely.
    “I think I have had one too many at that new place,” the old lady said.
    “May I rest my feet at your place?”
    “Well of course!” the old innkeeper said, beaming.
    The lady sat at the bar for many hours, sipping water and chatting with the innkeeper.
    The time flew, as the old lady told a tale after another, and the old innkeeper kept listening.
    He didn’t even sell any beer to her.
    After that long night, the old lady started to visit the inn – with a friend of hers.
    Then, another friend came along, and then another…
    Soon, there was a regular gossip club meeting at the inn.
    Little by little, people started to return to the old place.
    It was beloved by bards, riddle makers, storyteller’s and even some sneaky garden dwarves.

    On one night, the former apprentice, the young lad, came for a visit.
    He ordered a beer, and the old innkeeper handed him a plain, watery one.
    The young lad sipped the beer and grimaced.
    “How on earth can you have so many visitors when your beer is like this?”
    “I thought you have a secret recipe!”
    The old innkeeper wiped a pint and looked around.
    There, at one table, people were sharing the latest gossip about a happy pig on the loose.
    In a corner, a gentlehobbit was reciting a poem about an oliphaunt to a group of young hobbits.
    And there, by the fire, a young lass was strumming her lute, singing a song about the grand Shire life.
    “I think it’s not in the recipe,” the old innkeeper said, smiling.
    “I tell you what,” he continued.
    “You are always welcome to serve beers here. Maybe we can compromise.”
    “Just don’t serve anyone that turnip thing,” he added and shivered.

    So, the young brewer lad returned to the inn, serving a few of his special beers.
    One day, the young brewer said to the old innkeeper:
    “Only now, I think I am getting the hang of this trade.”
    “There is one ingredient that makes any inn evening delightful.”
    And what is it?
    Good company, and that means you!
    It looks like that the organizers of this event know the secret to a lovely evening too!
    Let us toast to them!
    To good beers and ales, and the best company!
    Lully, Potty, Ambrinna and 3 others like this.
  2. Lina Chief

    That's another grand and lovely story, and it seemed to go down well with the audience too. Yay! Keep them coming!
    Pycella likes this.
  3. Potty Member

    Yer a wonderful storyteller, Miss Pycella! It's always a pleasure ter sit down and listen ter yer tales!

    Also I think the tales and poems were a wonderful addition ter the Aleford's Moonshine party!
    Pycella likes this.

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