Folkloric Fridays, Part II: Eli Whitaker of Ravensgate

[I apologize that this post is belated–due to family obligations yesterday, I was unable to post in a timely fashion.  I hope you will forgive me!]

The following tale is considered a regional tale, particularly well-known to those who live in and around Ravensgate in Stemma.

Eli Whitaker, “the Barrow-boy.”  God-chosen of the Black God, Eli Whitaker lived many centuries ago as a near-penniless peasant-merchant of odds and ends.  The exact reasons for his ongoing servitude to the god are unclear, but it is fairly well-known how and why he originally went to his final death:  After saving up his humble earnings for a very long time in the hopes of winning the hand of a local noble’s daughter, Eli was informed that she had, in fact, passed on many years ago of disease.  Some people blame heartbreak, while others claim he simply went mad, having lusted after a wandering spirit for so long without understanding that she was dead; whatever the case, the unfortunate boy dressed in an outfit of heavy corduroy, tied stones to his wrists and feet, and drowned himself in the nearby river.

Since that time, Eli—now referred to by his colloquial nickname, “Eli the barrow-boy”—has appeared from time to time near the graveyard in which his body is interred, in order to continue his earlier sales.  Although he still offers his strange assortment of knickknacks, it is rumored that he also deals in stranger wares.  These fantastic rumors have led to a rash of attempts to steal the barrow-boy’s body from its resting place, which is currently located within the Ravensgate cemetery.

There is a popular folksong by the name “Eli the Barrow-boy” which references Eli Whitaker.

[See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz7wKhVa_VE  All credit for the song “Eli the Barrow-boy” goes to the Decemberists.  Note that the lyrics need to be changed from “silk Arabian thread” to “and Stemman thread” to keep them in-game and appropriate to the world.]