Written in the form of a medieval folktale compiled from various manuscripts and accounts, The Sad Tale recounts the true fate of the Grossbart Brothers, Manfried and Hegel, two of the meanest villains central Europe has ever seen. Their family background of petty thieves and graverobbers is nothing to be proud of, but having been abandoned by the uncle who brought them up, the brothers remain convinced that their family heritage and fortune lies in the sandy deserts of Gyptland and start their journey. Not without first settling accounts with a local farmer who once beat them in their youth for stealing turnips from his field, but taking revenge a little too far on his family, they end up being pursued by the farmer and other townfolk.
That's the least of their worries as the Grossbarts encounter all sorts of medieval horrors on their journey, both human and supernatural, plague-infested villages, lustful witches, man-eating half-man-half-beasts, devil-possessed hogs and the foulest demons of hell. The foul-mouthed, blasphemous, dim-witted brothers may not be the most pleasant of company throughout this journey, and their conversational skills leave as much to be desired as their manners, but they ain't stupid about knowing when something's a coming to kill 'em, and they make sure to strike first.
A sad tale it is indeed then, one of misfortune compounded by stupidity and self-delusions of near-sainthood to the extent that you almost feel sorry for these two ugly, murderous, heretical scum (though not quite as sorry as for the unfortunates they come into contact with), but it's also frequently amusing, the author taking full advantage of the fantasy-medieval setting to deliver an occasionally grim, brutal and shockingly profane adventure that's highly entertaining.