In the far northern part of the country lies the three Ogreprovinces in a row, from north to south; Ogrenose, Ogrebelly and Ogresole (locally referred to as The Nose, The Belly, and The Sole). Billobi travelled through these parts many times, and recorded endless amounts of scorn and derision between the three. The Nose had something to say about The Belly, who wasn't too fond of The Sole, who didn't care for any of the three, and so on.
Ogrenose was named so because of the mountain range that runs through these parts of the country (the Talltops). According to well-renowned cartographers, the mountains form a soft triangle, heading south-west, which could be taken for a nose (given the right amount of imagination).
Ogrebelly consists almost entirely of forests and other overgrown green areas, something the first locals apparently associated specifically with the bellies of ogres. Billobi never did find out whether there existed some sort of green ogres native to the region.
And lastly, Ogresole, named for no good reason at all (although The Nose and The Belly often implied that it was named after the sweaty and smelly people that lives there). But despite the lack of an impressive mountain range or even any forests, The Sole has one famous monument that can't be found in any of the other provinces: the great laughing stones.
The great laughing stones of Ogresole resides in the town centre; three large rough pieces of rock, unmoveable due to their sizes. In the town archives Billobi read about some troubles the first town settlers had with an old hermit, who lived in a small hut near the stones. Just like any other hermit she just wanted to be left alone with her "audience" (the archives clearly stated that she was all alone, and that no known towns or villages was to be found in the vicinity).
When asked about this audience of hers, the hermit presented herself as the last of the Lonesome Comedians, a troupe originating from all over the country. Her job and call was to entertain, but always in solitude. She then slowly walked over to the stones, and began performing what the town settlers believed to be her repertoire.
(Much to his disappointment, Billobi didn't find any records in the archives that reproduced this. A good pun never ages, he always said.)
The town settlers waited patiently for the old hermit to tell all of her jokes, until one of them lost his temper and ran up to her to grab her, but stopped immediately when he heard something giggling.
"Wha'cha gigglin' 'bout?", he yelled at the woman, to no response. Instead, she carried on with her performance.
And suddenly, just when he was about to ask her again, a loud and unmistakable choir of laughter almost knocked him over.
"'Tisch them schtonesh", she whispered to him softly. "They can't reschischt a good gag. And can you really blame them?"
According to the archives, this was the starting point for the town of Ogresole. The town settlers decided to build the town around the magical stones (only slightly because no one could move them), and make the old hermit honourable member of the town council.
Billobi visited the great laughing stones every time he passed through The Sole, to listen to promising comedians and regular people trying out their material on the stone. He never got tired of hearing that genuine laughter of the stones - when they heard something funny, at least.
The three boulders known as the great laughing stones of Ogresole are a bit of mystery; are they intelligent creatures, or just rocks that someone long ago placed an enchantment upon? Evil forces have tried to rid them of this said magic numerous times, without success - the stones just keeps laughing at good jokes.
No other form of communication has been found to work; either you tell a good joke and make the stones laugh, or they just remain silent.
Particular good puns may actually cause a blast of air to hit the storyteller (and anyone around him), and knock him prone. This is considered the most valued of laughs among the locals, a proof of superb comedy.
The 2016 Cartographic Review!
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