The Last Straw
Fredrick H. Thury
Vlasta van Kampen
Hoshmakaka is woken by the desert sands whispering in his ear. “You have been chosen. You will carry gifts to a baby king,” they said. “You will carry frankincense, myrrh and gold. The wise men have chosen you.”
“Why me? If there men are so wise, don’t they know about my joints? My gout? My sciatica? What did you say I am to carry? How much will it weigh? Besides I have other commitments. There is a water-drinking competition in Rangal Then I really must go to the cud-chewing convention in Beemish.”
But Hoshmakaka is a little disturbed by this sand that moved like creatures with great wings, and when he agrees and he sees the admiration of the young camels, his pride kicks in. “I’m not so old,” he tells them, “And I’m still as strong as ten horses.” Words that he later wishes he never uttered as all along the journey he is loaded up with more and more gifts by people wanting him to take them to the new king. Whenever he tries to protest at the extra loads, the young camels remind him of them. And as his back feels like it is breaking and his knees tremble, a young child brings him a straw to carry … will it be be the one that literally breaks the camel’s back?
Adapted from the author’s original libretto performed by the Toronto Children’s Chorus, The Last Straw is a different Christmas story spanning the gap between the religious and secular versions of Christmas. Its lavish and beautiful illustration capture Hoshmakaka’s feelings perfectly and you almost feel his pain as he struggles valiantly on.
Worth looking for.