I was proud to have an article accepted to Wayfinder #11 (the Weal or Woe article titled "Vice Rising"), which had a theme of "Cheliax," the devil-ruled nation in the Pathfinder game world. I also had a second submission that wasn't accepted, which I thought it was a combination of silly, clever, and a bit gruesome--so here it is! 

Chelaxian Halfling Slave-Chants

(excerpt from Chapter 14 of “Anthropology of the Halfling People” by Professor Julian Delphus of Absalom)

As has been previously discussed in this work, halflings are commonly used as slaves in the modern nation of Cheliax. Halflings are rarely tasked with backbreaking physical labor, because of their small size; instead, they are set to tasks requiring nimble fingers and keen eyes. Even these tasks can be incredibly tedious, so many enslaved halflings have created and circulated unique chants to pass the time. A few popular chants are reproduced below. Each has a simple, repetitive rhythm easily sustained during work activities by stamping feet or whistling.

Zombie Worksong

This song is a typical call-and-response worksong of a team of halflings planting vegetables or picking fruit together. Additional verses extolling zombie working conditions over halfling fieldwork are often extemporized.

Way down yonder in the land of Geb

(Way down yonder in the land of Geb!)

They got hordes of the walkin’ dead

(They got hordes of the walkin’ dead!)

And they got leagues of fertile land

(They got leagues of fertile land!)

So Master Geb said, “Here’s my plan:

(Master Geb said, “Here’s my plan!)

Give each zombie man a hoe,

(Give each zombie man a hoe!)

And set them all to work in rows.”

(Set them all to work in rows!”)

Now Geb’s got workers on the cheap,

(Geb’s got workers on the cheap!)

Since they don’t eat and they don’t sleep.

(They don’t eat and they don’t sleep!)


All day long, my achin’ back

(All day long, my achin’ back!)

Master don’t give breaks or snacks

(We don’t get no breaks or snacks!)

Every day’s the same again,

(Every day’s the same again!)

Workin’ like a zombie man.

(Workin’ like a zombie man!)


Zombie man don't mind the rain

(Zombie man don’t mind the rain!)

Zombie man don't feel no pain.

(Zombie man don’t feel no pain!)

He ain't ever growin’ old

(He ain’t ever growin’ old!)

And won't die when his shack’s too cold

(We’ll die when our shack’s too cold!)

Zombie man don't even care

(Zombie man don’t even care!)

‘bout getting’ whipped in the derrière

(Gettin’ whipped in the derrière!)

Zombie man don't fear the lash

(Zombie man don’t fear the lash!)

‘Cause ain't no one can work him fast.

(Ain’t no one can work him fast!)


(Repeat chorus)


Zombie’s got an easy time,

            (Zombie’s got an easy time!)

‘pared to workin’ on this line.

            (‘pared to workin’ on this line!)

Hunger pains don't gnaw his guts

            (Hunger pains don’t gnaw his guts!)

Cause they hang down below his knees

            (They hang down below his what?!)

He don’t need much, he ain’t deprived,

            (Don’t need much, he ain’t deprived!)

His restless death sure beats my life.

            (His restless death sure beats my life!)

For I get cold and I get pains

            (I get cold and I get pains)

‘cause I'm afflicted with a brain.

            (I’m afflicted with a brain!)


(Repeat chorus)


Contract Man Owns

This simple chant is usually sung collectively, and is often expanded to include other body parts as well. In Chelaxian slave parlance, the “Contract Man” is the slave’s owner; if the owner is female, “Contract Ma’am” is used instead. “Contract Man” can alternatively refer to Asmodeus, as is the implication in this chant’s traditional final line.


Contract Man, he owns, owns,

Contract Man owns my quick hands.

Contract Man, he owns, owns,

I jump to the Contract Man’s commands.


Contract Man, he owns, owns,

Contract Man owns my furry feet.

Contract Man, he owns, owns,

Contract Man owns me complete.


Contract Man, he owns, owns,

Contract Man owns my very bones.

Contract Man, he owns, owns,

But Contract Man don’t own my soul!


Slip’s Lullaby

This gruesome chant has a jaunty tune, and is never sung aloud when there is a chance the words could be overheard by an owner. Insolent halflings might whistle the chant’s tune when in an owner’s presence, knowing that the owner is ignorant of the veiled threat. In Cheliax, "slip" is a derogatory term used to refer to all halflings, but particularly halfling slaves.


Master’s sleepin’, master’s sleepin’, in his comfy bed

Sleeping extra deep as he lays down his great big head


Master’s sleepin’, master’s sleepin’, after night-time tea

Mixed with a special powder that my pal picked up for me


Master’s sleepin’, master’s sleepin’, master don’t hear slip

Creepin’ cross his bedroom with the leather buggy-whip


Master’s sleepin’, master’s sleepin’, wrapped beneath his chin

Goes the leather lash that he won’t whip me with again.