Grephthosthenes is a well-known (though little respected) figure of mythology to all those who inhabit any of the myriad lands where the shaky, scattered and sometimes downright neurotically inclined Quezlar family can be said to have made their mark. Since X R Quezlar spoke about the famous stein at the opening of the company picnic in -188 EC (one year before his son Rhajoon took over the management of Quezlar's Quaff, Inc.'s finances) it has been referred to repeatedly in Fefferberry Folklore as well as in the numerous anthologies of fairy tales produced by Archimetres and Troy - owners of The Underfunded Eastside Publishing House for Small and Insignificant Mammals - who thought it was a fairy tail. Although many people question its actual existence (not to mention its importance), this author has recently uncovered new evidence that leads to the inevitable conclusion that the clinically insane might be "onto something" (as opposed to "on something" which is a well-known and un-repudiated fact).
In -185 EC, a little-known archeologist (i.e. grave robber) called Maxilla von Sims found several articles at one of her smaller digs (i.e. a cheap job that really should have been done by somebody else). One of the items happened to be a hat which, although disintegrated to a point where it was almost unrecognizable as such, still had the remnants of an off-green feather stuck in a narrow yellowish band along which the words "Ey wer kilt bi Grefosth" were written in a crude handwriting. This author made contact with Rubella von Sims (the only descendant of Maxilla who actually stuck around long enough to be registered as a local citizen) and recovered some scraps of the hat. Upon greater study it is possible to assert (though not confirm) that the handwriting is in fact not that of a giant. It is believed that the inscription was made by one of the giant's prisoners in an attempt to market the huge individual's unique talent: bopping somebody over the head so hard they never get up.
Indeed, it would seem that the writer was trying to write "I was killed by Grephthosthenes" and ran out of space, time, or both before the work could be completed. In and of itself then, the hat lends only a small amount of credence to old X R's rantings.
Further research into the archives at the Iganefta Recorder from the late 80s and early 90s shows, however, that there were two individuals communicating via a set of letters published under the names Grephthosthenes and Sock. The letters indicated a supreme displeasure with the current state of affairs in the political milieu of Ghyllian theatre. Although Sock seemed to be more measured in his letters, Grephthosthenes' letters were often filled with polemic and ruffled many feathers after publication. It is this scholar's belief that the letters included in the Iganefta Recorder were not, in fact, written by the original Grephthosthenes but that the name had been adopted by an anonymous (or more technically pseudonymous) detractor of the Quezlar family.
The letters stopped scant months after X R was sent away, which led experts to believe that there might have been a plot to de-throne the leaders of Quezlar's Quaff Inc. that had been foiled by the swift action of young Rhajoon.
Scribblings on paper
It was in the fall of last year that this author uncovered the following set of lines (some incomplete) that speak for themselves on the subject of the mighty Grephthosthenes. It must be said however that since the Quezlar family has many resources and many friends that, not unlike certain objects of a receptacular persuasion, these lines may have been created, commissioned or at the very least not hidden by some member of that illustrious brood.
Huge, hulking and dark he stood face to the sea
Back turned to the mainland, the city and me
Backlit by the sky a real symphony
Of colours, red, orange, blue, purple and green
Some intermediate lines were missing at this point and this author believes there may have been as many as 20 tp 30 of them. Fortunately, the lines continue as follows.
His massive bulk swung like a sack of potatoes
As he danced in the cool evening mist from the water
He told me he only could manage to make foes
No one would believe when he talked 'bout his father
"My father was smaller than me, more like you"
He said as he proffered the stem of his pipe
"From my mother I got these arms strong as a yew
But I've hated them ever since I was but a tyke"
The rest of the lines were obscured by what appeared to be the remnants of a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich no doubt left as a placeholder in the book by some long-forgotten librarian. There is however one last section of verse that runs:
So I took leave of him who was giant and gentle
Left him to play in the night and cool breeze
How could any small man try to shoulder the mantle
Of the being I found inside Grephthosthenes
From these last few lines we can see that there was definitely at least one eye-witness account of the giant's existence. Unfortunately the original author was listed as Kifomyria Altos, a slightly loose (in many senses of the word) poet who was rumored to have wintered with X R in -185 EC after a small incident with a burning town in the northwest forced him to adopt a more ambulatory lifestyle. Whether X R left his mark on Altos or vice versa is unknown at this time.
The last straw
The final piece of evidence came two months ago in a letter from a trusted source, an excerpt of which is published here:
[...] I know you have been researching the giant's life (specifically with regards to the stein that old Quezlar cooked up) and thought that the article I found in the Iganefta Recorder might interest you. Last week a team of researchers (belonging to The Society for Recovering What Used to be Yours - a group dedicated to easing the suffering of the recently departed) found a distinct depression in the countryside just north of Iganefta-on-the-Sea. After being suitably medicated, one admitted that he had been "feeling a bit poorly" since arriving at the site "late Wednesday last". Further investigation (which you know I love since our family has always had an interest in these kinds of things) located a small crypt wherein we were pleased to find a handle that looks like it may have belonged to Grephsthothenes' stein. At your leisure, I would like to show you this artefact and have you confirm it's validity.
And so on and so forth. Upon examination, the handle proved to be from about the same period (around -183 EC or so) and may actually have been transported some not inconsiderable distance by chariot (since several markings in the handle indicate it was pressed up against a weapon made by [name withheld] for some time). It would appear (if this author's dating procedures were not tampered with) that the creation of the stein from which this handle was pulled coincided very neatly with the acquisition and subsequent closing of Hallerman's Chaws & Straws (a small family business that had produced chewing tobacco and drinking straws for years) by the Quezlar family empire just prior to X R's taking over.
Conclusion & further research
Although it may be difficult to say whether or not this mythical creature ever existed, a few things can be said for certain: first, that X R may have been loony but he was not alone in the bin. Second, that a stein not unlike the one uncovered by our source was built by Rhajoon Quezlar in an attempt to give weight to the words of a madman. Third, that the Quezlar family and Grephthosthenes' legend are well and truly intertwined; so much so, in fact, that Rhajoon mentions the giant not once, nor twice but three times in certain versions of Fefferberry Folklore (although more modern versions have changed the third reference to "an unforgettable event by an unwanted child").
Further research is needed into whether or not the original stein was in existence at the time that Altos and X R claim to have known about it. It is also incumbent on the astute archivist or journalist to ascertain whether there is an ongoing plot on the part of the Quezlars to modify the collective memory of the citizens of Ghyll through works of fact and fiction. The idea that the stein may have been fashioned, broken and buried for later retrieval is not one that should be put past the masterminds at the head of what may be one of the greater families of our time (and many others). Indeed, it should be conceivable at this point that many artefacts have in fact been planted and that the absolute influence of the Quezlars on the artistic, musical and theatrical may have begun to corrupt absolutely.
Finally, it is important to note that the research we have done seems to indicate that, on the whole, giants are of a sweet and gentle temperament; and that excepting the hat (whose creator may or may not have had any direct contact with Grephthosthenes) the evidence does not support the theory that there was a huge battle between X R and Grephthosthenes. So, at best the whole thing may have been a case of mistaken hyperbole and at worst an out and out lie.
--Iain Lowe 18:26, 28 Jun 2005 (EDT)