Monday, February 3, 2014

The Rather Insightful Groundhog of Tuckawanee Falls

Near the headwaters of the Little River is a little offshoot of a creek which the locals call Tuckawanee Falls; there are a few farms nearby, and a dilapidated roadshine shrine.  If you start at the shrine and walk due north into the pine barrens there, before long you might - if you're lucky - come across a hole in the ground about a foot wide.  Inside that hole lives the Groundhog.

Now, groundhogs aren't particularly uncommon in the Wampus Country, after all; the climate's about right through most of the region, and there's plenty to eat.  But this isn't just some common groundhog we're talking about, but a Being Worthy of Capitalization, in due deference to his prognosticative abilities and general knowledge and fame.  Most everybody has heard some tale or another about the Groundhog.


1 - He may look like a groundhog, but he's as big as a bear.
2 - The Groundhog sometimes wears tweed suits.  And sometimes flowered dresses.
3 - Being of indeterminate age, we may presume the Groundhog is immortal, or close to it.
4 - The Groundhog is a lesser godling which hoards knowledge and secrets.
5 - Indubitably the beast is some sort of demon!  His network of tunnels wend throughout the land!
6 - I used to work with a guy whose cousin took a temporary job up near Tuckawanee, clearing stumps; well, one day he's cranking on that come-along and pulling a massive oak-stump, see?  Pop!  Out comes the stump, and there's a huge hole.  He peers over the side, and what does he see?  The Groundhog, doing something unspeakable to a stack of ducks.  That boy ran like the wind, I tell you what.
7 - It is said that he who defeats the Groundhog and eats his liver shall be rewarded with both occult knowledge and an indestructible liver of his own!
8 - The Groundhog enjoys hard liquor but never gets drunk.
9 - The only thing the Groundhog hates more than nosy adventurers asking dumb questions is Sagacious Rex.
10 - His fur cannot be pieced by metal or wood!
11 - The Groundhog can peer into the future by a few weeks, or the past by several years; this he does as soon as he sees you...
12 - So terrifying is this otherworldly beast that one look at him can cause a man to half-defecate.

For the most part, those who seek out the Groundhog do not find him; those who do are faced with a monstrous beast who trades secret knowledge only for other secret knowledge (with a possible social lubricant like a fine brandy beginning the conversation most courteously).  The Groundhog is not interested in spells or prayers, he wants secrets.  And they need not be cosmic secrets, or the locations of hidden treasures; that thing you swore you would never, ever tell your wife might do nicely.  His obsession with secrets, especially guilty ones, has caused some scholars (notably Dr. Hornapple) to classify the Groundhog as some form of devil in groundhoggy form.

Good luck finding the Groundhog, my friends.  But should you wander up that way and visit Tuckawanee Falls, please stop in and see the halfling family that lives up there; they are pie-worshippers, and happy to share.

"Sweet Lord, Colonel, that deuced Groundhog is even more phallic than I'd imagined!"
"Indeed, Mortimer, but take heart - it seems to have the map we wanted..."

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