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The Childhood and Youth of the Gray Mouser

by Harry O. Fischer Published in Dragon Magazine #11, in 1978.

About This Tale . . .

Tim CaskLast year, at GenCon X, Fritz and Harry were Guests of Honor. They gave a couple of seminars, and it was during one of them that this story was finally committed to by Harry. He had said, in answer to a question from the audience, that the only thing about the whole series that he didn’t particularly care for was Fritz’s version of the Mouser’s boyhood in The Unholy Grail. Now you must understand that it was Harry who helped Fritz in creating all of the wonderful main characters on Nehwon, way-back-when. Being the gracious gentleman that he is, Fritz told Harry to write his own version. Harry replied that he had started one some time ago. Right after the seminar was over, I immediately offered to print it if ever he chose to finish it.

We formed a friendship at that GenCon that is very special to me, and what you will now read is the result of that friendship and the whimsical offer I made that day. No one in the world was more surprised and delighted than I was on the day this came in the mail. I feel honored to be able to bring it to you. - ED.

Introduction by Fritz Leiber

Fritz LeiberThis account by Harry Fischer throws a remarkable light on the early years of the Gray Mouser. It is very persuasive and of an almost incontestable authenticity, deriving perhaps from some secret memoir of Sheelba of the Eyeless Face. It establishes the Mouser as city and alley being from infancy and inextricably linked to Lankhmar. Was he born there? Most likely, though the possibility remains that he traveled as babe in slave-caravan from some city to the south or east - Tovilyis, say, or Sarheenmar - or from some still farther bourn. But city creature from the start he surely was.

No, truly, such a background seems to me very right: the warm shrewd aggressive and omni-potent Prince of Pimps; the alternate petting and rejection or at least disregard; early knowledge of sex and dirty-tricks; the link with the cats - all very good.

Note from Dragon editor Tim Kask:

Tim KaskThis issue contains a very special story - The Childhood and Youth of The Gray Mouser, by Harry Fischer. The introduction I wrote for it will give you its background; the introduction by Harry’s life-long friend, Fritz Leiber, authenticates it. It varies with what Fritz wrote, and I have tried hard to meld the two into their proper place in the continuing saga of Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser. My thanks to Fritz Leiber for permission to quote bits of the original tale. This story has never appeared in print before, and we are proud to bring it to you.

This is the tale of The Gray Mouser’s much mis-spent (or very well spent from the viewpoint of the Mouser) youth from a toddler bought by slavers up to his time apprenticed to Glavas Rho the hedge wizard. But before there was Glavas Rho, there was Mokker the Prince of Pimps. It is from Mokker that the Mouser had a great deal of his early training in swordsmanship, thieving, tumbling, dirty-tricks and so forth as well as his upbringing among pimps and whores.

Characters:

Glavas Rho, Giscorl, Duke Janarrl, Mokker, Shish, Yusk.

Places:

Great South Gate (aka, Grand Gate).

Streets of Lankhmar:

Whore Street.