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The Matthias and Methuselah bells tolled on a warm spring morning. Birds twittered in the trees around a tall, red stone building called Redwall Abbey, a haven for goodbeasts, young and old.
A young ottermaid by the name of Karina sat up in bed at Redwall and stretched. Suddenly, Karina remembered what an exciting day it was going to be. Mother Bluestripe, the badger Mum of Redwall, had promised to tell her about her great ancestor, Karina of the River. Karina was proud that she had been named after her great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Karina hoped that someday she might be like her ancestor.
Karina hurriedly put on her light blue robe and proceeded out of the dormitories, heading for Cavern Hole, where most of the creatures in Redwall ate their meals. Cavern Hole was a jolly place, filled with laughing beasts and excited dibbuns. Karina laughed as she watched the usual morning happenings at Redwall. Dibbuns raced around the elders, encircling them and then chanting silly songs, the elders would laugh, but then act stern and tell them to leave. The Friar of Redwall was busy dishing out various delights, happily humming to himself. A friendly aura was very predominant throughout the room. Karina smiled to herself happily and then began dishing up her breakfast.
Indeed, Redwall was not lacking in good food. The tables were stuffed with strawberry and blueberry flans, piping hot oat farls with honey, damson pudding, strawberry cordial, October Ale, and deeper’n’ever pie. After stuffing herself, Karina wandered around, searching for Mother Bluestripe. Finally she found her twixt Cavern Hole and Great Hall, staring at the massive Tapestry on the wall depicting Martin the Warrior. He was the Abbey’s honored warrior from olden times. Martin had helped build the Abbey when Redwall had first begun. He looked so noble, standing there, strong and brave, with vermin fleeing from him in terror. Karina loved to sit and stare at him from time to time, it gave her great confidence in her Abbey where she had been born and raised. Sometimes she would even talk to him, but she never received any answer.
“Mother Bluestripe, remember when you promised to tell me that story about Karina of the River last winter? You did say last night that you would tell it today. Could you please tell it now?
The old badger looked down at the ottermaid and smiled, “Oh, Karina! I didn’t see you coming. Yes, of course I’ll tell it to you. I don’t like to make promises I don’t keep. Bring all your friends. They are all welcome. I’ll tell it to you in the dormitories.”
Karina bounced up and down excitedly, which was unusual for her serious nature. The ottermaid then fetched her mouse friend, Cayen, and brought her to the dormitories.
They both entered the room and were surprised to find the room packed with eager dibbuns, all the way up to the eager but dignified elders!
“Ah, I see you’ve made it just in time!” Mother Bluestripe said, her eyes sparkling. “You were about to miss it!”
Karina laughed. Mother Bluestripe would never do that, for Karina was the one who had the idea to hear the story in the first place!
“I will warn you though, this story is very lengthy. It will take longer than you think. Friar Binhler,” she motioned to the mole, “Could you go downstairs and ask Assistant Pinn to make some bread and cheese for our hungry listeners? Once he’s done with that he also can come up and hear the story.”
Friar Binhler nodded as he headed downstairs.
And then, after much eager waiting, Mother Bluestripe folded her paws and began her tale…