This tale was told by Reynard late one night in the Pub. Here’s my recollection of it.
Now it is said that the very first Jack here got lonely for the sound of music being made by other musicians. So he invited in a few fiddlers, a piper, and even a hurdy gurdy player to play for the theatre company in exchange for a bit of grub and some ale. Keep in mind that it was a typically cold and damp British winter evening when he did this, so the musicians weren’t terribly inclined to leave. One of ’em got the somewhat queer idea that if they didn’t stop playing, they wouldn’t be asked to leave, so they didn’t. And they weren’t asked to leave, as it was convenient to have musicians as part of a theatre company. So a deal was struck — food and drink for all musicians who were playing, so long as the music never, ever stopped. So it hasn’t. Ever. Down through the centuries, human and fey alike have made sure the music has gone on without stop. A player might drop into the session here for a few hours, or stay playing for longer than you and I would believe possible. But there’s always at least one player keeping it going.
(I remember a different tale which sheds a less flattering light on that Jack, but we’ll let Reynard tell this tale do it without any biting commentary from me.)
The odd thing is that most folk assume that what is now called the Neverending Session is always resident in the Green Man Pub. Not so. I’ve encountered it damn near everywhere — including in the main area of the Library, where recently three fiddlers (including Jack Merry) were playing every tune in John Playford’s English Dancing Master! They had a bottle of Midnight Wine, which sparkled with a touch of frost on it, and were entertaining our Librarian, Liath, who was reading John Ruskin’s Seven Lamps of Architecture. I walked by quietly with my copy of Mythago Wood and listened appreciatively for a minute as I left the Library.
Another favorite place one finds the Neverending Session is, not surprisingly, the kitchen. The kitchen here is the cellar of this building, but in the back it has large leaded glass windows that overlook the greensward, drainage culvert/stream and wood which is part of our holdings. It’s a very big kitchen — some say that once this building had lodgings for the more respectable of travelers, which would explain the rooms on the top two floors — and it has a cozy corner where half a dozen musicians can play, eat, and drink like fat, comfortable cats. Really comfortable cats. They’re as likely to be here in the deep of Winter as they are in the Pub. Which certainly pleases the kitchen staff. Who doesn’t love live music? Wouldn’t you be here, too, if you could be?