Within the past two weeks, a series of posters have been strategically placed around the town's most trafficked locations. It reads: As Fall came, and the harvest was collected, farmers would ask one another whether their season was a “Have” or “Have Not” season. Farmers who responded with “Twas a Have season” meant that their crop was bountiful. Ones who responded with “Have Not” meant that its return was underwhelming. From here, the Have farmers would share some of their surplus with the Have Nots, as a way of charitable relief. With the cooling Fall weather, many a bard was summoned to travel widely for their vocation. While traveling between towns and taverns, these bards usually needed to find safe lodging. They would often find shelter with a charitable farmer out in the country. When they heard of this “Have” “Have Not” terminology, they turned it into a game as a means to help pay back a farmer's hospitality with recreation. They would offer a riddle in exchange for some of the “Haves” of the farmer. If the farmer couldn't get it right, the farmer gave a piece of their surplus to the bard (a corn cob, an apple, etc). As they went from farm to farm, these bards would usually gather a collection, and they too began to give some of their surplus to farmers who were “Have Nots” in exchange for lodging. This eventually began the precursor for popular household potlucks, where bards would bring stories to peoples homes and families would provide elaborate meals.
The wives and children of farmers came to expect and welcome these bards during the fall. They would decorate the outside of their homes with carved pumpkins and other bright colors in the hopes of attracting these flamboyant personalities. They would also prepare an assortment of sweets and candies to attract them via smell and taste. Bards would then exchange riddles with the homes. If they couldn't get the riddle by sunrise, they gave the bard a candy, a sweet, a treat, a drink, or a coin. But if they got it right, the bard gave them a treat. Soon, the game began to be called “Harvest Have or Have Not.” From the sunset of the 5th day to sunset on the 6th during Harvest week, individuals go up to a bard and ask “Bard, have you something for me?” The bard would reply “I have” (meaning they have both a riddle and a treat), or “I have not” (meaning they either have no riddles or have no more treats). The bard then gives them the riddle, and throughout the day and night, the bard asks them “Have you an answer for me?” And they would respond “I have” or “I have not.” If they respond “I have not” by sunset of the 6th day, the person gives the bard a treat, buys them a drink, or gives them a coin. Bards were also known to go knocking on doors at night, asking individuals if they would like to play “Harvest Have or Have Not.” Another rendition of the game is that the bard would respond with a song, a story, a game, or a poem, and ask the person to explain what the piece meant. If the bard was satisfied that the person got the meaning (“I have the meaning”), the bard would reward them as the case with the riddle. If the person beat the bard in the proposed game, they would reward them with a treat (and vice versa). A final rendition of the game only allows for one attempt per game, with wrong answers leading to the gifting the bard.
HOW: ASK A BARD, “BARD, HAVE YOU SOMETHING FOR ME?”