Many human societies joke (often cruelly) about areas where the people hold stubbornly to their ignorance, xenophobia, and isolation. In the US, this is often Appalachia, in Germany this is often Mecklenburg-Pommerania, in the UK it is often the North of England, etc. Such jokes are typically cruel and unfair, but there can be elements of truth in them. In Sartar, such jokes are ALWAYS about the Lismelder. Lismelder “Duck Friend” is a stock archetype with the Puppeteer Troupe and thanks to them is known in the Lunar Provinces and even in the salons of Glamour. “Liz-melder-iti” jokes are told by folk who know only that they are ignorant barbarians living in mountains (and constantly tricked and manipulated by cigar-smoking ducks).
The really funny thing – the Lismelder have no idea this is going on.
Note to all: this thread is not an invitation to mock other real world lands or locations. You can do that elsewhere. The point is merely that the Lismelder and their duck friends are the butt of plenty of jokes in Glorantha. And deservedly so.
A classic of the genre is of course Greenbeak and Starbrow, a comedy featuring the “Queen of the Lismederiti” (chosen for her profound ignorance no doubt) and her duck “slave” who manipulates and goads her into declaring war on the Sun and the Moon. The emperor proclaimed it a masterpiece.
You can imagine the squawking when a rare Lismelder traveler (I joke, I joke!), saw a Puppeteer Troupe performance of “Greenbeak and Starbrow.” I think this was around 1620 or so, at the Puppeteer theatre near the Smoking Ruins, as General Fazzur was in attendance, as well as many Lunar dignitaries.
Our Lismelder traveler was so outraged that he stood up during the performance and cried, “This is not true! The real Kallyr was better looking that that! She was a better dresser than that! She told funnier jokes! And she could dance the pants off that version! And she wasn’t even a Lismelder!”
To which everyone, even the Puppeteers, erupted in laughter.
I don’t think anyone has been having a “good laugh” about any real-world group (acknowledging that there stock comedy stereotypes of “provincial” areas – such as Appalachia – is hardly the same thing). If it helps, “Starbrow and Greenbeak” is probably just a variant of Plautus’ “Pseudolus” (best known for the wonderful 1960s adaptation “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.”
The point is merely that the Lismelder and their duck friends are the butt of plenty of jokes in Glorantha.
And deservedly so.