Book Excerpt
Casyrole, Ten Legendary Tales

“All life is valuable, and what makes a human is not necessarily his looks, but his character, his will, and his ability to love.”
Old Casyrole saying

This is the story of how a force as powerful as hate must come tumbling down. The Casyrole, a grotesque creature, hated for nothing more than its monstrous looks, possesses a heart of gold, and wins over the love and admiration of a human child, born and raised with the idea that Casyrole should be hunted down for sport, if nothing else. At the conclusion of the story, the human child is prepared to sacrifice his own life to save the very creature he had sworn to kill – the beast whom he now knows to be more human than himself.

The Casyrole are mythical creatures originating in Eastern Europe in the middle ages. Persecuted and hunted almost to extinction during the Christian crusades, a group of these creatures, led by the last Casyrole king, Cro, stowed away in ships, headed by the schooner Ark Raleigh, to America in the early 16th or 17th century. The Casyrole established colonies in Virginia and slowly moved northwest. In New Jersey,
the Casyrole creature came to be known in modern times as the “New Jersey Devil.”
Once, many hundreds of years ago, the Casyrole roamed freely and in great numbers over the northeastern American landscape. Now, there are but a few.

Nobody has seen the Casyrole in recent times, so nobody knows for certain what it looks like. But it is widely believed that the Casyrole is a beastly-looking, hideous creature. Some have called it the New Jersey devil, maybe because, in modern times, this evil-looking animal was believed to have been first seen in New Jersey.

Legend has it, the Casyrole stands about nine feet tall. It has blood red eyes that glow and see in the dark. It has great horns - twisted but regal. It has a huge beak, and teeth as long and sharp as a lion's. It has arms like a man’s and claws like a dragon’s. It has the body of a horse, forelegs of a deer, and hind legs of an eagle. It has a tail with two claws at the tip.

Although the Casyrole has wings - wings of a great bat - it does not fly as mightily as a bird. It hovers, it skims, it bounds great lengths - but it has never been known to fly more than a hundred feet at a time.

Because of its gruesome appearance, the Casyrole is often feared and despised. The truth, however, is that the Casyrole is a gentle creature. It would not hurt a human soul - nor harm another creature unless necessary for self-preservation. The Casyrole eats wild berries, fruit, tree bark, and roots. But man used to hunt and kill the Casyrole like vermin - almost to extinction. However, it is human in heart and would not fight back to kill. Thus, its numbers dwindled, and soon the Casyrole retreated to the woods, unseen by human eyes for at least the last few hundred years.
The bravest and greatest of the Casyrole nation was its young prince, Mpuka Balesh. His father, the King, was a descendant of Cro, who had brought the Casyrole from the old world - thus saving it from extinction - and had established his kingdom in the new world. Mpuka Balesh's mother, the Queen, had died while giving birth to him.

Mpuka Balesh stood tallest among the Casyrole, and in spite of his youth, he was indeed the wisest. He would lead the Casyrole to survival - and victory in its times of greatest tribulation. He proudly wore a pendant around his neck, made of green, solid rock, carved into the likeness of a Casyrole. His father had given it to him in his earlier years, as a sign of passing on the throne.

Mpuka Balesh had a mate - hair as golden as the sun at sunset, tall, beautiful, and fresh as a wild daisy in the spring. The loveliness of her voice, and her song, would cure the worst of maladies. Her heart was as beautiful - and her countenance as strong - as precious life itself.

Mpuka Balesh loved her golden-haired Casyrole, and had many exciting adventures with her and their son, Roanoke - the future prince. This is their story.

The King was cut by the cruel blade, but he fought like a true King. The human fell off his horse and scampered back to safety like a coward, screaming and crying. The great horse, however, attacked and tried to trample the King.

"Die, evil Casyrole!" cried the horse, as he kicked and neighed and snarled.

The King grabbed the horse's leg and flung him aside. Perhaps it was bad fortune for the horse that he was so close to the cliff. For the King did not mean to take his life, but as fate would have it, the horse fell off the cliff - hundreds of feet down!

"Father!!!" cried a young black horse, "Noooo!!!!" and he shrieked and flung off the human that was riding him. Furious and mad, the horse attacked. He kicked and neighed and snarled. He trampled the King, now too weary to fight at all - too hurt to even stand up. At that moment, Mpuka Balesh grabbed the horse from behind. The horse turned back and tried to attack him.

"Get away from my father!" cried Mpuka Balesh. And he lashed out at the horse with his great claws. He wounded the horse across its face - from its forehead down to the tip of its nose.

"Neigh!" cried the horse. Up and down he jumped in a blinded frenzy, and he tried to attack again.

Mpuka Balesh grabbed his father. There was nothing left for him to do but try to escape - even if it meant killing himself and the King. He spread his great bat wings - as far apart as he could. And with his father in his arms, Mpuka Balesh jumped off the cliff. The descent was quick - for the weight of his body and the King's were more than his wings were meant to carry.

Down they fell - down! down! - and they grazed the tops of the trees as they descended - deeper and deeper into the ravine - and further and further away from the menacing humans and horses. In the distance, they could hear the blasts of guns and the swoosh of bullets thundering past.

But for now, they were safe. They had escaped. Finally.

The biggest and strongest of the animals on this farm was Lonnie - a stallion, black as night, tall as the tallest horse one has ever seen. He walked about with his head high in the air, and he possessed an overpowering temper. When he galloped, his hooves made the sound of rolling thunder. He had a long scar that ran across his face, from his forehead to the tip of his nose. This scar made the hate in him powerful.

It was in the eve of spring, in the place we now call Maryland, that the evil witch Shelou awoke from her deep sleep. After decades of slumber, she arose from her cavernous tomb - weak, old, but hungry for the blood that would rejuvenate her rotting body. A long time ago, Megallon's ancestors had battled and defeated Shelou, and had buried her body, still alive, deep in a cave. Nobody had dared to kill her - for, it is told, he who sheds the witch’s blood, he who slays Shelou, shall die with her. It was a spell that could not be broken. Nobody had the courage to sacrifice his own life to kill Shelou. That is how the witch has survived over the centuries.

Long ago, in the old world, there lived a Casyrole King named Cro. His kingdom numbered less than one hundred now - because of disease, famine, and most of all, human attrition. They were being hunted down to extinction, and there was less and less wilderness to which they could escape. Cro had decided that it was time for him to move his Casyrole to a new place - far, far away.

Now, Cro had heard about the new world - America - where the wilderness was great, and the human population was small.

"This would be perfect," he told his fellow Casyrole. "But how to get there is the real question."

No sooner had Cro presented the question, than the answer presented itself. For at that same time, as luck would have it, there was a convoy of seven great, big ships - led by the flagship "Ark Ralegh" - that was set to sail from England to America, through the Atlantic Ocean. These ships would carry about five hundred men, women, and children, and enough supplies to last them through many months in the new world. They were to settle in a place called Virginia.

In each of these seven big ships were several storage rooms located near the bottom of the ship's hull - many of them usually locked and sealed throughout the entire voyage - where the humans packed their food, water, and supplies in huge wooden crates and barrels. These rooms were perfect hiding places for stowaways. There was privacy - and best of all, food and water. Indeed, these were where Cro and the Casyrole (about ten to fifteen Casyrole to a ship) hid - ate, drank, and slept - unnoticed for months during the long, quiet journey west. Quiet, that is, until one night, as the convoy neared land.

Now, John White was an artist. He remembered that he always kept a little pocketknife that he used to sharpen his pencils with. He took it out. He could not forget his encounter with the Casyrole. He was sitting under a big tree.

"Ah," he said. "Perfect!"

In memory of his kind rescuer, he etched some letters into the trunk of the big tree. The letters read simply, "CRO."

Nearby, there was a soft rock. "Perfect," he said again. He started etching the image of Cro on it.

He finished the picture at dusk. It was the perfect image of the Casyrole.

"Perfect... perfect." he muttered to himself. He went back to his fire and continued feeding it. Then, he sat and waited.

He found a piece of green, solid rock beside him. With his pocketknife, he tirelessly carved it into a pendant, shaped in the image of a Casyrole. He bore two holes, into which he threaded a string made out of vine. He wore it around his neck, and tucked it under his shirt.

Exhausted, John White lay down and slept.

They walked to the village. As they came closer, the Casyrole gathered around them. Their eyes were upon the Golden Hair Casyrole. She was the most beautiful Casyrole they had ever seen.

"Beautiful...” they whispered. And the Golden Hair Casyrole could feel their adoration. She heard everybody say, over and over, "Beautiful..."

All her life, she had thought that she was ugly. But now, she felt beautiful. She felt like... a princess.

As she walked past, she felt the eyes of the world upon her. She realized that she had found her place in this world. Finally. After all these years. She had found what she had always been looking for. What she had always been longing for. Finally. She was home.

The Demmhurroll leaped towards the Casyrole, its mouth wide open. Snap! went its jaws – left and right like a crazed alligator.

Roanoke swung to his left, still holding Krystal with every bit of strength that he had. The Demmhurroll barely missed. Again, it thrashed left and right, heading towards the Casyrole with its mouth wide open and ready to bite.

Roanoke picked himself up, dragging Krystal with him. His arms were getting weary with every second that passed, but he would not give up. He had to save Krystal. He had to get both of them away from there!

The Demmhurroll made another wild leap towards Roanoke and Krystal. Roanoke swung to his right. He stumbled, and Krystal fell right on top of him. Splash! The Demmhurroll attacked, swinging its head left and right, and then snapped its jaws.


In the years that he had raised his son, and in the many years forward, Mpuka Balesh had taught his son many virtues. Goodness. Honesty. Patience. Integrity. Courage. Bravery in battle. But today, his son had taught him one of the most important virtues of all - and perhaps the most royal. A quality often associated with Kings. The virtue of Mercy.

Morfeena poked out her lower lip and blew. Her thick, black, wiry hair was hovering over her eyes and it made it difficult to see. Her hands were busy spinning a cocoon - an intricate, tangled web of black silk. Earlier this autumn morning, she had caught a deer that had happened to pass by for a sip of water from the lagoon. Poor deer. It never knew what hit him. Now, as the deer slept soundly, he was being spun into a tight, neat bag for storage - Morfeena’s food for the long, cold winter months ahead.

According to legend, Morfeena was a water creature whose head looked half pig and half human. Her black and white-streaked hair covered the length of her body, from her neck, to her arms, and down to her torso. She had no legs - instead she had a scaly fishtail just like a mermaid's.

Morfeena lived in her own pristine, little lagoon somewhere in the middle of old Virginia. She spent most of her time hiding in an underwater cave behind a beautiful waterfall. She had no fearful weapons like big horns, or large claws, or sharp teeth. She was not strong like a Casyrole. She did not ooze a venomous poison like a Demmhurroll. In fact, it was told, Morfeena was not a formidable monster at all. She looked odd. She was stout. She was hairy and ugly. She stunk. Nothing more.

But therein lay Morfeena's true danger. For her dark powers were hidden deep within her cold and cruel soul. Her eyes were the windows to that cold and cruel soul, and anyone who looked into them was hypnotized in an instant - mesmerized by an evil spell too powerful to resist.
Kyle David dodged the bear by leaning all of his weight to one side and letting his body fall. His eyes widened as the bear crashed against the tree. Pieces of bark flew all over the place, and leaves fell. The impact made the big tree sway like a thin blade of grass.

The bear was stunned for a second, and Kyle David got up and ran. He didn't care where, he just ran! The weight of the rifle made it harder to run, but it was slung over his neck, and he had no time to un-sling it. Big mistake. Lesson number one. Never -ever - sling a rifle to your neck when you're hunting bear. Among other things, it limits your field of fire. For another thing, it makes it harder to run when you miss the bear by a hair!

He should have listened to his father. Too late. No time to think about that. Kyle David kept running, the bear right behind him, angrier than ever.

"Who are you?" asked Kyle David.

"My name is Roanoke, Prince of Casyrole.”

“Oh,” said Kyle David, still wobbly-eyed. “Okay.”

“Well,” said Roanoke. “I’m actually not a prince yet. But I will be someday.”

“Yeah,” said Kyle David, “Okay.”

“And you?" asked Roanoke. “What’s your name?”

"Kyle David... my name is Kyle David."

"Well, I am pleased to meet you, Kyle David."

Kyle David meant to say, “I am pleased to meet you, too.” But instead, and because he was still dazed from the experience with the bear, he barely caught himself saying, “My god, what an ugly thing you are.”

Roanoke paid no attention to what Kyle David said. He was too dazed and exhausted, as well, and too pleased with himself that he had done his princely task for the day.

"Here," said Roanoke, "chew on this." He stretched his arm toward Kyle David and opened his hand, revealing the gooey substance that he had been squeezing in his palms.

Kyle David just stared at Roanoke's open hand.

"Chew it," insisted Roanoke in a stern voice.

Kyle David was in no condition to argue or resist.

"What is this stuff?" he said.

"It's called 'Ark Ptooey.' It's good for your leg."

"Oh," said Kyle David. "Of course! 'Ark Ptooey.' How silly of me."

"Why is it called 'Ark Ptooey'?" he asked, as he grabbed the goo from Roanoke's palm and put it in his mouth.

Kyle David chewed it a bit, and after a couple of seconds, he felt himself choking,


Then he spat,


The goo came flying out of Kyle David's mouth and into Roanoke's waiting palms.

"That's why it's called 'Ark Ptooey,' said Roanoke, grinning.