The legend of Travis the trout and the widowed countess
With the current propensity towards myth and legend, it is unsurprising that heroes and villains, monsters and demons are prevalent in the worlds of cinema, televisions and animation, despite existing in literature for hundreds of years.
I eagerly await the appearance of a storyline involving a widowed countess, a heroic trout and a wedding ring thought lost forever. Narnia, Westeros or Essos may be suitable settings for this tale, but let’s imagine the place is called “Val d’or”, or the Golden Valley.
In our Legend the widowed countess — let’s call her Matilda – is distraught at the loss of her wedding ring, the last tangible reminder she has of her beloved and much missed husband, the count of Tuscany…or wherever. Her ring is lost to eternity in the waters of a spring, into which the ring has accidentally dropped.
Being a pious soul, the countess prays to her chosen God for a miracle: the return of her ring. In exchange for this miracle she pledges the substantial wealth inherited from the count to a holy gesture of faith. The founder of an abbey, for example, upon the wedding ring’s return.
Within the waters of the spring is our hero, Travis the Trout, who receives a calling from the heavens. He’s prayed for many years to the Fish-God, hoping for riches beyond his dreams, fortune enough to leave the waters of the spring for the big city.
Resigned to a life of unrealised dreams — whoever heard of a rich trout — Travis is momentarily stunned by a glittering gold object sinking before his eyes. Finally, the Fish-God has answered.
Overwhelmed by potential opportunities opening ahead, Travis seizes the ring in his mouth and, in a euphoric act of foolishness, decides upon an inspired leap from the waters into the brilliant sunlight above. Up and up he swims, gaining velocity to breach the surface. Splash! He’s free of the water.
Suddenly, his precious gift is snatched away, a hand without a wedding ring claims his reward for many years of loyal worship to the Fish-God. Travis falls back into the water, destitute again, destined for some fancy restaurant menu.
The elated countess, reunited with her wedding ring, fulfils her promise and establishes a great Abbey at the site, using a depiction of Travis returning her ring as it’s symbol. Over time, Travis’s imagine adorns the many thousands of bottles of beer brewed at the abbey.
Next time you’re drinking an Orval with your grilled trout, spare a thought for Travis, robbed of his fortune, robbed of his brighter future.