Long had I wished to see that land that the noble historian C. S. Lewis had described, the great and lovely Narnia. Great was my joy, then, when I was able to make the journey there. When I first arrived, determined to follow in the path of the “Dawn Treader,” I was most greatly astonished to discover that some of the stories and names that had been set down had in some wise been done so incorrectly. You may have noticed, perhaps gentle reader, how that which the Master Lewis named Narnia, I call Blarnia. But yet so it is, and my purpose is as much to correct the earlier chronicles as to amuse. I hope that I may have done both well.
It came that one day, while sitting in a tavern and discoursing of things great and small to my various comrades, I found myself fading away until I found myself as if in another world. Before me there stood a great goat.
I fell to my knees, and was overcome with a strong passion, but this was not to be, for I perceived that he was taken (and he was indeed to be taken many times while I was there), so I asked of him who he might be, and in what world I was.
“I am Asslay, the goat, and maker of many things, most particularly those of this world at one time or another. Know. then, thou are come to Blarnia, after which thou has long desired.” Thus he spoke, and when I had overcome my surprise I asked why the names differed from the ones I knew, whereupon I was told that even great historians make mistakes.
I then remembered the lore of Narnia (or, as I now knew to be correct, of Blarnia) as I knew it, and asked, “Pray, sir, might I be so fortunate as to be graced with those Turkish Delights which Edmund ate when he came here first?”
“Ah, yes, the Turkish Delights of the boy Deadman” (for that was his real name), quoth he. “They are presently in the castle. I will call them out if such is your desire.”
“Them?” I wondered. “But is not Turkish Delight Candy, something to be eaten?”
This did amuse him greatly, and so he laughed. Oh, yes, there is Candy. But there is also Miriam and Fatima, and, for those of different tastes, there is Aladdin. And I assure you, are may be eaten.”
I sought to cover my surprise by changing the subject. I thought of those I knew of in this land, and inquired, “What of the beavers?”
“Oh they are all – all but Alladdin – so equipped. But come, you have a quest to start.”
With that he led me down to the bay where there was great activity, which I soon saw to be the readying of a ship for sea. There were divers creatures: fauns, satyrs, and dwarfs (I was later to learn that they were not everywhere small), but the most common were the satyrs.
“There is the ship on which you must journey to the east. The “Dung Shredder” is her name, and a most lovely boat is she,” pronounced the goat. “You shall accompany the Good King Gasping on his quest.”
After I had boarded the Dung Shredder, and greeted the king, we cast off and were soon out of sight of land. We had sailed without adventure for several days when we noticed three children floundering in the sea to our port side. Upon hauling them on board, we learned that they were indeed the children Deadman, Juicy, and their cousin Useless. We introduced them round to our crew; to Rapeachap the mouse (so quick a one with a blade I ne’er did see), to Runoff the mater of the ship (so called for his reason for his shipping with us), and to Dribbling the captain. In the days to follow we were to be at any time entertained by Juicy, or sometimes her brother would deign to tell of how he freed Blarnia from the Black Bitch.
We journeyed east until we came to an island were we took opportunity to water and take on provisions. It was her to be that our first great adventure would take place. (Although this is not to belittle those that had befallen us aboard the Dung Shredder; the Lady Juicy was a most gracious hostess.) This is how it happened. It seemed that Useless would avoid his due portion of the work by slipping off into the woods (for he was a most obnoxious little prick). While so wandering, he happened to fall into a dark hole, and when he tried to climb out, found he could not, for lo and behold, he had become turned into a Scotch terrier. (Perhaps, my most dear reader, you wonder how Lewis the Chronicler could have confused a dog with a dragon. I was told by Asslay that Lord Lewis had thought the tale spoke of a “Scotch terror,” and since it is well known how the Scottish live in constant fear of dragons, he did of course believe that that was what had been meant.)
From the beach the remainder of the company was able to hear his barking, and coming to his rescue, to pull him out from the pit. We were at a great loss for what to do to free him from this state, until one of our number suggested a method similar to that in the fairy tales which we tell our children, by which I mean in particular those of enchanted princes. His method was not exactly that as I had heard, since he seemed confused where on the dog’s body he should place his lips, but we allowed him his attempt, and afterwards several others employed themselves similarly. It was indeed unfortunate that it did not achieve our end (although the sailors who helped seemed to enjoy themselves).
It was Asslay who came at last to our aid, and he took the transformed Useless off into the woods, and although we could get little out of either afterwards, we were able to discover that Asslay had somehow stripped Useless of his cur’s clothes. There was great rejoicing when Useless returned from the woods in human form, although some of the crew said they had like him better as a terrier.
Since whe had taken on all meet supplies, we immediately quit this place, and sailed on. At the next island to which we came, Deadman, Juicy, Gasping, and I went ashore, where we wandered about the little land. We took with us also a member of the ship’s guard that we might be the better protected if an attack was to come (although he did ,for some reason, refuse to wear the nice red shirt we had picked out for him).
We explored the isle for the better part of the day, and came at last, hot and thirsty, to a pool beneath a stone. Our brave Marine did think to drink first of the water in the case that it might be of a poison. He had no sooner set his tongue to its surface than he leapt up from it and were able to see, much to our wonder, how his tongue had turned to gold. We returned to our ship much down-hearted, but we needn’t have been, for he later returned to Blarnia where he became an orator and politician of such great note that even in our world we have heard of Dicknix, the golden-tongued.
On the next island we left the Marine on board, but our party was otherwise the same. While exploring this isle we were constantly fondled by unseen hands. It was not long before we were able to realize the strange and wonderful reason for such a thing: the inhabitants were invisible. We were at last able to convince them that they should speak to us. And then they told us their sad tale.
It would seem from what they said (and I have no reason to doubt the truth of their account), that they had been turned to invisible by the sorcerer that did rule their island, and that only by the intercession of a lady such as Juicy might they be returned to such forms as they had before.
So it happened that Juicy, following their instructions, did go into the tower of the magician, not to emerge for days, and then walking oddly. Of her adventures I was able to discover only a few in the following weeks on the ship, and such things are best kept with other things private.
Whatsoever she did, her work was successful, for the people had become visible. The most amazing and surprising quality of the Rufflepuds (this was their name, and if ever you venture to their isled you will be able to discover why for yourself) was that they had but one leg, extending from their trunk and ending in one large foot on which they hopped.
I was not perhaps right in saying that this was their most astounding characteristic, but that which most sets them apart from our kind is not readily apparent. Kind reader, I pray that you might forgive me if I digress from my tale, but the habits of these people I find to be most entertaining, and I think that you may too.
Their means of reproduction was most strange. It would seem that Nature, having given them one foot instead of two, would correct that deficiency by providing them with two of another part. And so it was, for they were each provided with two sets of sexual organs, both male and female, on on the front and one on their back. They put these to good use, for in the time that we stayed there we often saw them linked together in great circles like daisies in a crown, moving as if in some quaint ring-dance.
The female organ led to their feet in which was their womb. This caused all manner of problems, for a Rufflpud heavy with child must perforce be carried about in a litter, else by hopping the baby might be lost. There are also those who have by some means affixed wheels to their backs so that they might lie down, from which position they are able, by attaching sails to their feet, to scurry about like sailboats in a bay.
We might have stayed longer, had our quest not beckoned to us to go on. We did so eventually, and were blown by the west wind next to an area of great fog. This we knew to be the fog surrounding the Island of Dreams upon which our dreams of the night might be played out for us. Although some of us advised against it, we landed upon this island, and stayed there for some time. Courteous reader, you must know how tired we were when at last we left, for the dreams of some of our crew (Dribbling in particular) were of a very tiring sort; indeed, we oft wondered how they find any profit in a sleep who dream of such sort.
After such adventures we found our rest in several months of sailing. Imagine our delight, then, when on the next island we were to land upon we discovered a table set with the most delicious of feasts; with pretzels, Pringles, and popcorn; while at its head sat great dispensers of beer and Coca-Cola.
But most wondrous of all was she who stood at its head. Her beauty was as great as that of any of the girls which walk the streets of London town, and we were all greatly impressed. It was easily seen how star’s blood flowed in her veins (and in sooth her performances were of the highest quality).
“Gentle lady,” asked Gasping, “what is this table, for whom is it set, and who lives on this island far from men?
The lady answered, “This is the island of Perlandu, my father and a retired star. This feast is set for all who would come here and sup of it; come then, and eat.
We started to do so, and I had some of the Pringles from that table. Gracious reader, if ever you had some of those chips you would forever abstain from those of our world. Their color was the lightest gold that you would ever desire to see, and their shapes were all perfect, each one with the same curve as every other. The Coke seemed more like a wine, and the beer would shame Bavaria.
We were interrupted at our feast by the arrival of our host, the retired star Perlandu. He camein with books under his arms, saying, “Greeting to all who visit my land! Would you like to see my scrapbooks?” We were then compelled by courtesy to spend several hours reading old reviews of his performances, and commenting on how majestic he had looked when he appeared in The Tempest
Finally Rapeachap grew impatient enough to ask, “Your great Thespiousness, we seek the lands to the east. Are you able to provide us with any assistance?”
“Why yes, of course,” quoth he, “They are in that direction,” as he pointed to the way opposite the morning sun.
“Yes, blessed dramatist,” spoke Gasping, “We know of that, but might you tell us of what lies there?”
“Alas, poor king,” the old man sighed, “I know but of my island, living here with my memories. Have you seen my scrapbooks?”
And so again it was several hours before we able to slip away, although Gasping and Perlandu’s daughter slipped away by far the earlier of any of us. In truth, no one saw where they went.
We knew that we would find little help there, and so we soon left for the east. Strangely as it may seem, Gasping appeared loath to leave Perlandu’s daughter. Perlandu himself came down to see us off, with a seagull who sat perched on his seagull as a raven on Odin’s. Before we left, he talked with Gasping to give him advice. I only heard the beginning and end of it, the former of which sounded to be, “These few precepts in they memory,” and the latter like “My blessing season this in thee,” although as a I stood back apace I could have been mistaken. Gasping must have been glad to receive this advice, as Asslay had stayed behind on the Island of the Scotch Terrier.
As we sailed, I, looking back, was able to hear Perlandu speak to his gull, saying, “Ah, there they go, in search of glory and honor. I had such once, though of a different nature. Have you seen my scrapbooks?”
We travelled without incident for a month, with the light growing as we neared the morning sun. Then one day Rapachap leapt overboard, and when at last we were able to bring him on board (though he fought bravely), he cried out, “Rye! Behold, the river is rye!” And so it was, the finest rye that might be desired. But Rapeachap had more to say. “I remember how, when I was but a child, I was told by my nurse a poem:
Near the Eastern lands doth lie,
A sea form’d solely out of rye.
Take great heed, good Rapeachap,
That of this sea you do not lap,
Unless with ice: you must know why!
“And so we must be nearing the land of Asslay!”
The warning given in the poem was well taken, for the rye was of such strength that uncut it posed a threat indeed.
It was a few days later that Dribbling came to Gasping and said, “Your Majesty, if we go on to Asslay’s land, what of your kingdom?”
“Choose you another king; I will go into the dawn.
It was some time before we were able to convince Gasping that his duty lay to the west. It was in fact Runoff who was able to show him the truth of his destiny by reminding him of Perlandu’s daughter. At that reminder he was all a hurry to put us off in the ship’s boat that we might go on by ourselves; Deadman, Useless, Juicy, Rapeachap, and me, while the Dung Shredder sailed back to Blarnia. The parting was tearful, and wach member of the crew personally paid his respects to Juicy in the cabin.
After we were together in the boat and the Dung Shredder had gone, we sailed for forty- nine days. Without the brave help of Juicy we would have been but poorly equipped to handle such loneliness, but she was most helpful.
However, on the fiftieth day we grounded on a land which stretched to the east as far as the eye might see. After travelling across its closely cropped grass we came upon a lamb, lying on a rock. It said to us, “Greetings, my children. I am Asslay.”
Deadman queried, “But where is your goat shape? And why should your glory be disguised in a lamb?”
“Every whore was a virgin once,” the lamb said, and as he spoke he turned into the familiar goat-shape of Asslay. At this we all bent down and kissed the rock whereon he sat, (from this, by gullible reader, comes the custom of kissing the Blarney stone), and asked what was to become of us.
“Rapeachap will stay here with me,” the goat said, winking at the mouse. “Deadman, Juicy, and Useless must return to England.” At that they were gone. “And now,” he said as he turned to me, “you shall return to your tavern, and eventually you shall set these adventures down on aper. And be sure to get the names right; Lewis had a rotten memory.”
I immediately found myself in the tavern from which I had come, but upstairs in a back room. My companion could not believe what I told her, thinking it a dream, and since she could in no way compare with Juicy, I left her there.
So that, patient reader, is my tale. I have of late been looking for Juicy, to relive old times, but have met with no success. If every you should find her, greet her for me.
And so I bid my adieu.