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Afterd's Revenge
(Part Three)
Story told by
Pedro the Pure

Afterd the 68th led his family over the hill and down towards the port.

Afterd had left his village in the valley of Ruda behind many weeks ago in the flight to escape the Baggie's barbecues and he planned to seek safety abroad for himself and his two wives, three mistresses, four concubines and five daughters. They had only a little money and few possessions, the only items of value were twelve gold rings joined together by sixteen smaller silver rings, two mancalas and a beautifully engraved scroll proudly proclaiming Afterd as the Keeper of the Riddles of Croyde.

The twelve rings of Croyde

With little to do in the long dark months of winter except amuse their mistresses and swop concubines, the Croydes had spent countless hours telling stories and devising puzzles and riddles to pass the time. Now with eleven of the twelve tribes fleeing their homeland to escape the Baggies, the elders of the tribes had appointed Afterd as the keeper of all their riddles and charged him with remembering every one of them.

Afterd had heard of the legendary city of Ur in the deserts across the seas, which was famed for the intelligence of its inhabitants and he was certain that his skills and the beauty of his companions would enable them to prosper there.

Afterd's daughter Camil When they arrived at the gates of the port Afterd left his first wife to arrange lodgings for all of them and took his eldest daughter Camil with him down to the quay side to barter with the ships captains for passage abroad. Camil was 19 and was quite tall for a Croyde being all of three foot seven inches tall, she had beautiful golden hair and sparkling eyes, enough to distract the eye of any man that her father was trading with.

Afterd found the captain of a ship bound for Africa who had space aboard his ship and offered him a wager of his daughter's hand in marriage against free food and passage for his family. To win the bet the captain had to answer a simple riddle. The captain looked at the twelve gold rings Camil was wearing on her arm and quickly agreed to the wager.

It was a very simple riddle:


The captain scratched his beard, his belly and his bottom and finally admitted he was not much of a numbers man so he would have to give-up and grant Afterd and his family free passage.

Afterd found his wife and told her of the good news, she replied that she had arranged the best lodgings in town for all of them for free. She had wagered that the innkeeper would not be able to solve her riddle and he had lost. She had asked him:

The following morning they thanked the innkeeper and went down to the dock to join their ship. Ten days later they were moored in a beautiful bay off the coast of North Africa.

Afterd wasted little time in establishing his business, he sent his five daughters off into the town to identify the richest men living there, with instructions to invite them and their wives to the grand opening of his new house of gaming and pleasure called Peaches.

Afterd's daughters had told him that the richest men in town were three merchants called Hardip, Hoho and Singh, all of whom loved gambling. The merchants each lived in a castle at one of three of the four corners of the town, the Ziggurat occupied the fourth. They had all been invited to the grand opening of Peaches.

Hardip outside his Castle Admission to Peaches was by riddle.

Each time a visitor came to Peaches they were challenged to answer a riddle, if they accepted the challenge and they answered correctly they were admitted for half the normal charge of 100 gold pieces, if they lost the challenge then they had to pay twice the amount they had paid on their last visit, or attempt another riddle.

The first of the three merchants to accept Afterd's challenge was Hoho, he was a spice importer, he failed twelve times in a row. Within the space of half an hour Afterd had acquired his first castle.

Hardip was a very rich man, he owned all the gaming clubs in the town and he was eager to try his hand at Afterd's challenge as he could see the possibility of winning Hoho's castle from Afterd.

Hardip tried to turn the tables on Afterd by insisting on challenging him to answer a riddle with the wager being each other's castles. On hearing the challenge Afterd smiled and agreed.

The riddle that Hardip set Afterd was:


It was a family party at which there was
one grandfather, one grandmother,
two fathers, two mothers,
four children,
three grandchildren,
one brother, two sisters,
two sons, two daughters,
one father-in-law,
one mother-in-law,
one daughter-in-law
and a stranger.

How many chairs did they need to all sit at the table and eat at the same time?
 

Afterd smiled again and then with his walking cane he scratched five lines in the sand at Hardip's feet. Hardip groaned and Afterd had acquired his second castle.

What did Afterd write and how could that possibly be right?

Afterd turned to Singh, who owned all the houses of pleasure in the town, and said "shall we play?" Singh agreed but said he had no head for riddles but instead would challenge Afterd to a game of chance. Singh drew a small box from inside his cloak and took out a quantity of wooden sticks.

Singh dropped the sticks in three piles in the sand and explained that they should take it in turns to remove as many sticks from one pile as each person wanted, the loser being the person who picked up the last stick.

Without touching the sticks, Afterd counted the sticks and saw that there were 27 in pile one, 18 in pile two and 9 in pile three. As it was his turn to go first he knew he could not lose so he accepted Singh's challenge.

How could Afterd know he could not lose?

Afterd quickly beat Singh in seven moves. Singh was so enraged at being beaten by this dwarf that he pushed Afterd to the ground and drew a pair of Rajasthani scissors from under his robe. The reason for Afterd's travels to escape the Baggies was well known in the town and Singh knew of Destru's tragic end on the beach after the football match when he fell in the vegetable soup and was eaten. The Indian merchant raised the Rajasthani scissors over Afterd's trembling body and said "The question is how many are there in your vegetable soup?"

In a frightened voice Afterd told Singh that he had stopped counting at seventeen but he was sure there were more. Singh was so amazed that he dropped his knives and released Afterd.

How many can you find?

Shortly afterwards Afterd received news that one of the twelve tribes of Croyde had founded a new settlement in a valley near a great forest in England. The tribe had built two wonderous tall pillars covered in gold to celebrate their new home. Unfortunately the Adding locals kept climbing the pillars each night and stealing the gold so each morning all that was left was a small ring of gold at the top of each pillar.

The following day Afterd visited each of the merchants one by one and explained that as he intended to return to England he had no use for their castles and he would be happy to return them in exchange for their next most valuable possession. The merchants were overjoyed at the chance to regain their castles and they quickly agreed to Afterd's proposal.

From Hoho he received a large chest containing every spice known to man.

From Hardip he received a large book with the rules of every gambling game known, except one!

From Singh he received a chest bound with gold straps containing the toys of pleasure with the letters abet engraved on the lid. To this day the contents of the chest are known only to a few of Afterd's closest friends.

A few days later Afterd and his family left Ur and travelled back to England taking with them their three gifts. Tragically, Afterd the 68th died just before they reached the twin pillars just south of the witches tree, he was immediately succeded by his son, Afterd the 69th.

Within weeks of arriving Afterd had become very busy using the gifts he and his father had brought back. With Hardip's book he had started a gaming house, he had started to make and sell toys based on the contents of Singh's box and he had opened an eating tavern specializing in the gloriously hot spiced meats and sweetmeats shown to his father by Hoho.

Afterd was suprised to find that just a mile to the east of the new settlement of Croydes Town (later shortened to Croydon) was a village of Baggies, they had followed the tribe all the way from Croyde in the hope of the occasional meal.

This, thought Afterd, is where we get our revenge. Using all the secrets and spices of Hoho, and any Baggy that was foolish enough to visit his gaming house, he started to produce the most wonderful sandwiches. Baggy meat is a rare delicacy and they quickly became known as "Baggy Burgers". The popularity of the meat was so great that Afterd had to employ the services of the fearsome (but toothless) "Crosby the Hunter" to keep up with demand.

Afterd's Baggy Burgers became so famous that when in 1613 King James the first visited the Palace of Croydon, the burgers were served to him as a great local delicacy. He was so impressed that he said if King Henry VIII can knight a side of beef and call it sirloin, he could enoble this wonderful dish and call it a "Baggy Burger King".

Afterd truely got revenge for himself and all the Croydes because "Baggies" (sometimes known by other names) are now eaten all over the world.


Footnote:
Many years later, when Afterd the 69th was laid to rest in a secret place with his 96th mistress, it was inscribed upon the headfoot stone "Whoever comes to me with the answers I will grant great riches to."

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If you would like to contribute a story telling of the adventures of one of the Croydes on their epic journey from Rudha to the Caves of Waddon, then please send it as a plain text email (no attachments) to:Croydes.Stories@croydonweb.com. Your story should be between 500 and 1,000 words long. Background information about the various Croyde families can be found in various parts of this site.

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