What? Oh, bother! Both versions are true! … Of course, a tale can be told in different ways and still be true! I am getting a bit annoyed at being called a liar! Now, now, do not get upset! It is only that for someone who started life training to be a Remembrancer, you know very little about tale-telling! Perhaps it is a good thing you turned to this novel occupation of writing down the words of others!
Let me give you a metaphor for the structure of a tale. It is like the body of a Shi. It has a chitin framework to hold it together – the basic facts of the plot, articulated in a certain cunning pattern. Then it has the muscle – the details that move the action of the plot along. It has the gut – the spirit, the passions of the characters. And finally it has the fat – the descriptions, the asides, the little bits of humor and philosophy that pad the story. Now there can be too much of that – if I have any failings, it is in incorporating too much fat! Like this digression here, if you are writing it down! No, do not smudge it out. Ru’a’ma’na’ta may find it amusing, if no one else does.
Oh, one more thing. Sometimes one must adapt one’s tale to the situation. If one is in a hurry or merely giving information, one can reduce it to the bare chitinous structure. Of course, it is not very entertaining that way, but occasionally such a thing is necessary. Sometimes one omits certain parts if one thinks the audience might find them offensive and be moved to murder the teller! If one is speaking to a group of little nymphs in the nursery, one omits the scary parts and keeps it simple and short. If the audience is exclusively Warriors, one emphasizes the action – the battles and the violence – for Warriors get restless if the tale is too subtle or mentally complex. Of course, the opposite is true of Alates. Workers like almost anything as long as it relieves the tedium of their duties – in fact they make the most enthusiastic audience. And a mixed group – well, one tells the prime version of one’s tale and feels satisfied if no more than a third of the audience falls asleep!