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Alpaca Bag (the wayward llamas remix)

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Come now Gentle Beasts and Birds, Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, that might you hear the Tale of the Wayward Llamas. To my Crias I tell this tale, as I learned it from my Dam, as she from hers, back generation upon generation. The Gentle Beasts tell the tale in cave, nest, and den, in wood, mountain, meadow, and pond, so that we might remember it. For though Dwarfs build, and Birds fly, and Fauns dance, Naiads flow, and Dryads green, the Good Beasts of Narnia remember. So, Friends, heed my words. Stop and listen with your sensitive hearts that you may also know of Flax the Brave and her mate Shadow, and how a Wrong Turn led to the Rescue of a Queen. Harken to me now.

It begins thus.

The Llama Flax could count in her family history a grand total of twenty-four confirmed Narnian heroes, including both Gale the Dragon Slayer and Olvin the Giant Killer. Unfortunately for Flax, she lived in the Golden Age, when quality of life had risen at the expense of honesty in storytelling and the role of Llamas had been removed from most Narnian tales altogether. It was therefore no surprise to any camelid of sense that Flax strived to achieve greatness not only in the eyes of Narnia but also in those of her ancestors.

The disposal of a great monster on par with Gale’s dragon or Olvin’s giant would have done quite nicely, but such creatures were rare in Narnia at this time. A Quest of Searching For Lost Things, as suggested by her strong and silent mate Shadow, would make an excellent alternative.

And what Lost Thing could possible be worthy of a Grand Quest? Why, none other than the Garden of the Golden Apples, which had not been seen since the days of Creation when Fledge the Flying Llama had carried the Lord Digory and Lady Polly upon his unusually elongated back at the request of Aslan himself!

It was a simple matter to apply to the Four Thrones for permission to embark on this quest. Flax sent the message by way of her friend Jipp the Pigeon, who spoke with Alli the Dryad, who found Daci the Hound, who had the ear of Queen Susan. The Queen agreed that a Quest for the Lost Garden was long overdue, and granted Flax’s request. By the time Jipp received the answering message, Flax and Shadow had been on the road for a good two hours.

“How clever of us to leave immediately,” Flax declared upon receiving the good news. “Just think! Had we waited at the castle until Jipp returned, we’d have lost half the morning’s travel!”

“I wouldn’t have had to fly so far to find you,” added Jipp.

“Exactly!” said Flax. “We’ve covered such a distance already. We’ll be at the Western Wilds in no time!”

Of course, every camelid knows that “no time” becomes “plenty of time after all” when a traveller happens to take the wrong turn at a junction. And so it was that a very honest mistake led Flax and Shadow into the hazardous territory of the Northern Giants.

Jipp, being a Pigeon, frightened quite easily even at the best of times. It would be too much to expect him to remain with the Llamas on such a dangerous road, so Flax sent him back home. “We will be more than fine,” she assured him.

“But what if you meet a Giant?” asked Jipp.

“All the better if we do!” cried Flax. “For then we shall slay the Giant on our Quest for the Lost Garden! Our heroics will be known all throughout Narnia!”

And so the brave Llamas carried on through the mountains, following any paths that might bring them closer to the Western Wilds and the Garden of the Golden Apples.

It was nearing the end of the day when a great barking began to echo through the mountains. Flax hoped dearly that these were the cries of the Giants’ hunting dogs, but when the Beasts caught up it turned out they were simply from Cair Paravel.

“Out of our way, Hounds!” said Flax, for it seemed that the Hounds were attempting to block the path up the mountain. Perhaps, thought Flax, the Hounds wished to find the Lost Garden and steal all the glory for themselves.

Or at least, it seemed this way until Flax turned around to discover Queen Susan herself.

Before either of the Llamas could ask why the Queen would venture into such dangerous territory, a great rumbling thunder rolled over everyone. The ground began to tremble and the stench of rotten eggs filled the air. Flax’s heart leaped; this was her chance to finally slay a giant and regain her family’s glory!

But the Hounds had began to yip and prance in terror, and even the Queen Susan shouted in horror as the pebbles began to rattle down the mountain’s slopes. Flax realized all at once that, should she and her mate engage the giant in battle, there would be no one to protect the Queen. The Hounds, clearly, were worse than useless as it was them who had led Queen Susan into danger in the first place. Why, thought Flax, they likely did not even know which way would lead them home!

And so, with great regret, Flax turned away from the Giant. “This way!” she cried, and led her mate and the Hounds and the Queen Susan herself all the way down the mountain and back into the safety of their beloved Narnia.

And that is how, my Crias, Flax gained honour and glory despite running from both the danger of the Giants and her very own Quest for the Lost Garden. For in doing so, she saved the Queen from certain death.

Here, Daughters of Eve and Sons of Adam, Gentle Beasts and Birds, is where the tale ends. Now you, too, know of Flax the Brave and Shadow the Bold, and how a Wrong Turn led to the Rescue of a Queen. Young Crias, do not fear to strive for greatness, for all camelids were given the gift of heroics by Aslan himself. But neither should you fear failure and setbacks, for even the downfall of a quest can lead to the salvation of Narnia.