"...and they found me there, in the weeds in Rushock Bog, wrapped in a blanket in a basket of woven reeds, suckin' my thumb and wailin' my head off. Who? The Dourhands, a'course. Used to be a whole bunch of 'em, tucked away in Pinglade, mining an' minding their own business. Well, y'know, mostly.

"Anyhow, they sorta took a likin' to me, I guess like a pet or somethin'. Used to bring me slugs to play with an' take bets on how quick I could squash 'em. Stampii, he was the one who took care o' me, mostly. Taught me how to squash slugs, an' how to fight, an' gave me booze-soaked rags t' chew on when I was teethin', and never once fussed when I pulled on his beard. An' when the time came that the dwarves couldn't really look after me anymore...

"Yeah, I don't like to talk about that much. There was, I think some sort of attack comin'... Stampii wouldn't say much, but he wanted me out of the way. So he took me to Waymeet under cover of darkness an' found a kind couple to leave me with, so I'd be safe. They had a kid about my age already, so that worked out just fine...

"An' that's where I was, just livin' in my waggon with my brother Amberjack, fishin' and drinkin' ale and smokin' hearty, 'til I had this crazy dream about this elf lady, an' all the trouble began... But you know all about that part already. I mean, you had the dream too, right?

"What's that? My eye? Yeah... I don't talk about that. Let's just say it was a slug-stomping incident, an' leave it at that, okay?"

Stampii's Story.

Slugstomper Swampsinger is a Minstrel of the Shire, Landroval, Middle-earth. She can be reached via Quick Post or seen spinning her newest tales at the Prancing Pony.