Rat King

Story: There was once a rat king, who lived in the walls. After bothering animators for years we used our collective might of modeling and drawing to capture him into inanimate form. Now his avatar, the sacred rat king plush, is handed down through generations and safeguarded by the animators.

Context: I was told this story over text, as the informant has COVID and was unable to meet in person, and also did not want to call or FaceTime. This informant is an animation major, and part of a very small cohort. They have a stuffed rat that they circle between everyone in the cohort week by week.

Thoughts: When asked about how the informant feels about the story, they say that while they loved the story origination, they are a bit sad that it has died down a bit. Due to other circumstances, they feel as if they aren’t as close as they used to be to the people in the cohort, and haven’t gotten the rat in a while.

Analysis: I war torn between calling this a legend or a tale because of the animal component, and ultimately decided that it was in fact a legend. I thought this story was particularly interesting because while it might not be true, the cohort had built up lore around the stuffed rat and actually maintained the practice of passing the rat between them throughout their years at USC, through quarantine, and even now.