Storytelling inns

The Golden Goose tavern in the city of Fable is not the only place in the Perilous Realm where Storyfolk gather to share the tales they’ve heard or lived.

In a part of the Realm known as the Twilight Land, there is an Inn of the Sign of Mother Goose. You have to be careful approaching the Mother Goose Inn. As one earlier traveler told it: “I would have floated past the Inn, and perhaps have gotten into the Land of Never-Come-Back-Again, only I caught at the branch of an apple tree, and so I stopped myself…”

The traveler, having saved himself from a one-way trip to Never-Come-Back-Again, went on into the tap-room of the inn, and this is what he found there:

“There they all were, every one of them. Aladdin and Ali Baba, and Fortunatus, and Jack-the-Giant-Killer, and Dr Faustus, and Bidpai, and Cinderella, and Patient Grizzel, and the Soldier who cheated the Devil, and St George, and Hans in Luck … and there was Sinbad the Sailor, and the tailor who killed seven flies with one blow, and the Fisherman who fished up the Genie, and the Lad who fiddled for the Devil in the bramble bush, and the Blacksmith who made Death sit in his apple tree, and Boots, who always marries a princess, whether he wants to or not – a ragtag lot as ever you saw in your life, gathered from every place, and brought together in Twilight Land.”

And each of these Storyfolk was taking a turn telling a story, just as the pilgrims did on their way to Canterbury at the Tabard Inn, and just as Storyfolk have done for ages in Fable. But they don’t tell their own stories, the ones we know; instead they tell other stories that they have heard.

[To read these stories told by storybook characters, look for the book Twilight Land by the American artist and writer Howard Pyle]

There are many other such storytelling inns throughout the Perilous Realm, they say, and perhaps beyond it. For example, I have heard of a place called the Inn of the World’s End: “a free house” as the sign outside declares. This is a place where travelers journeying between stories may take shelter during strange storms that herald the onset of momentous, reality-changing events.
(For further information, see World’s End, a graphic novel in the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman).

Postscript: I personally know of three travelers who've returned from the Land of Never-Come-Back-Again. There is at present a petition being circulated through the Realm to have the name of this land changed to Probably-Never-Come-Back-Again.