Russell and Coleen arrived at Úlfljótsvatn. They settled in, and began the work that they had arrived to do. Many new skills and ways of being arrived in this time for them. They learned how to prepare breakfast for 45 people. They found out how to run a small shop with treats from thousands of miles away. They learned to mix magical potions in spray form and vanquish bacteria with them. At one point, they even met a Zombie and two talking sheep, who revealed to them their opinions on the great moving Grass-slayers that passed over the campground every week.
Russell and Coleen also met two epic heroes in animal form: Cheerios and Ofsavondur.
Cheerios was an orphan who led a small clan of other orphans. She worked hard by baa-ing night and day to get the milk necessary for them to grow. Raisins, who was also an orphan, was her favourite friend in the group. Even though she sometimes butted heads with him over bottles of milk. Who hasn’t gotten into a scrap with a friend after a few drinks?
Cheerios was protective of Raisins because she could see Raisins was sickly. Raisins had a crooked face and teeth that didn’t seem to stay inside her mouth. Her horns would not grow. She walked with a strange gait. She couldn’t eat much.
Cheerios was growing strong and healthy. She drank liters and liters of milk, and began to eat grass as well. One day, Brown Sugar arrived. Brown Sugar was an older lamb, and given to risky behaviors like a teenager. She led the little sheep to eat all the pretty flowers planted at the village. Cheerios wasn’t too sure about this. She had heard of a Flower Troll who would not be happy about them eating the flowers.
“Whatever,” said Brown Sugar. “There’s no such thing as a Flower Troll.”
“Baaaa?” said Raisins, with a pansy in her mouth.
Cheerios did not eat the flowers. She couldn’t convince the others not to, though. Soon, no more flowers were visible in the planters.
A couple of weeks passed, and nothing had happened. Maybe there were no Flower Trolls after all. But Raisins still seemed the same size as before, her horns twisted and not growing. She still walked with a limp and her teeth still wouldn’t fit in her mouth. Cheerios ate at all meal times hungrily, but Raisins wouldn’t eat enough.
The long summer day began to have slight darkness in the middle of the night. Cheerios and the other sheep began to get cold, but they were all too big to fit inside their church anymore. They wandered the grass and were cold together. Several nights passed. Eventually a friendly old cat called Ofsavondur showed them how to sleep under a ventilation fan in the kitchen, so that their wool blew in the warm breeze as if they were under a hair dryer.
Cheerios, Raisins, and Brown Sugar slept peacefully.
Early in the morning, Cheerios needed to pee. She was a polite sheep and did not want to pee on her comrades, so she got up to wander off for privacy. Her natural business finished, she looked around at the morning. No one was awake yet. Raisins had stolen the warmest spot under the fan. She turned to go back, but then…
A trail of flowers was leading to behind the workshop. Cheerios was suspicious. She followed the trail, glancing back one more time at her small herd.
A Flower Troll was, of course, at the end of the trail of flowers. He was ten feet tall, made of pansies in all colors. He had hands bigger than Cheerios whole body, and he walked with his knuckles on the ground like a great ape. He beckoned Cheerios.
She hesitated. Then, she remembered her secret heritage. She knew this was her destiny.
The Troll was angry about the sheep eating his children, the flowers. He threatened Cheerios, saying, “I know that your herd is responsible for the massacre!”
Cheerios said nothing.
“I will punish you all for this, but especially Raisins!”
Cheerios said nothing.
“Raisins will never be right! If she survives this day, she will twist more and more until she cannot even move, and her horns will twist and cause her pain, and she will never grow bigger than she is now!”
Cheerios said nothing. The troll lost his patience and said, “All right! It’s time! First you, and then I will eat Brown Sugar and curse Raisins!” He took a long step and another, until he was ready to step directly on Cheerios. His foot came down on her.
The Troll suddenly looked surprised, and as soon as his foot crushed Cheerios he turned into a fledgling bird. He could not fly away. He could not curse anyone. He hopped along the ground, but it was too late. The legendary camp cat, Ofsavondur, came and plucked up this easy pickings for breakfast, dragging the bird that had been the Flower Troll up to the kitchen. His useless wings were all that was left.
Cheerios knew she was dying.
She stumbled to the workshack, and laid down. The other sheep would never know what had happened to her. Hours later, and close to death, she saw that the people of the camp were coming. They were concerned, but she beckoned them closer. In her last moments, she was able to tell them her story.
“I was born to a clan of magical sacrificial Lambs, high in the mountains. Our history is long and we have always sacrificed ourselves to save others. Don’t be sad today! I will die, but Raisins will be better. The curse the Flower Troll put on her will be reversed through my sacrifice, and she will grow stronger every day!”
With that, Cheerios laid down her head and was gone.
Raisins woke that morning and felt nothing different. She went to get milk from the humans, napped under the hair dryer vent, had more milk, ate some grass, and slept some more. Brown Sugar and Raisins began to move farther in the magical camp, and they ate more and more grass. Raisins slowly began to grow.
Her horns grew straight. She ate more. She wasn’t ill. Her wool came in. Her teeth even seemed straighter. And she grew to be a large lamb who was healthy and strong, and the little herd of lambs at Úlfljótsvatn never knew that one of their own had saved them.
One thought on “21st Century Saga: Cheerios the Valiant”
Beautiful story Coleen.