Ius, Animal God
The statues one sees throughout Valenwood and parts of Hammerfell and Elsweyr that seem to be of a misshapen humanoid carrying a rod are of Ius, tHe God of Animals. The rod He carries has its origin in the tale of The Ox and The Evil Farmer. It seems that one day an evil farmer decided to kill all of his animals and have a big party. As The story unfolds, animal after animal is killed and prepared for a big meal. Lastly the farmer comes to the ox and prepares to slit its throat. The ox, not wishing to be anybody's dinner, prayed very vocally to Ius. This came out as a loud Moo, of course. At that very instant Ius appeared carrying a rather large set of balance weights. Without explanation, Ius ate the farmer and vanished. Ever since that day Ius The Extremely Agitated, has always been protrayed as carrying a large set of scales with him. The local Ius worshippers have no idea why and do not seem to care. Although this story has been called fanciful at best, I personally know a racoon who had actually talked to The Ox. That is, before the Ox became filler for the local inn's larder.
I do not have any information one way or the other about the validity of this second myth. It is, however, quite traditional. It seems that many, many years ago, before the reign of Uriel Septim VII, before the reign of Cephorus Septim II, yes, even before the age of Pelagius Septim III (long may his name be praised!), there lived a wombat who was the pet of Lady Greelina, daughter of the Lord Prufrock of Rockcreek. Lady Greelina loved her wombat so, and it loved her too with all the passionate intensity a marsupial can muster. Unfortunately, it was a time of great sorrow in Rockcreek. A pestilence had come through the town, destroying all their cash crops (which consisted of raspberries and a few scraggly odd weeds that caused Argonian women to look very attractive to those who partook); Then a plague had come, inflicting nearly every cobbler with chronic hiccoughs; finally a witch had cursed the townspeople so the only words any could utter were "Hmmm. Precisely." All the businesses, stores, and guilds fled from the town faster than an extremely fast thing. Lady Greelina saw her father despairing the loss the town was suffering, so she brought her wombat in and told him, "Father, my wombat can save us all, for it is sacred to the god Ius, God of Animals. The only reason I didn't tell you earlier is because I am an early adolescent going through that period when I don't like to communicate. But please, ask a wish of my wombat, and Ius will fulfill it, for my wombat loves me." The king thought this was fairly flakey, but he had nothing to lose so he uttered a modest wish to the wombat, "All I want is for one business to come to Rockcreek that will never leave no matter the calamity." I probably should have mentioned before that the king had always been cruel to the wombat (he used to lick it and try to make it stick to walls), so the wombat had Ius create an equipment store in front of the palace gate that would never go away. The royal family ended up going mad and eating one another (and ironically, the wombat was one of the first to go). But that is why there is to this day an equipment store blocking the palace gate in Rockcreek. If you don't believe me, go there and see.