Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Magician's Book

On the next page she came to a spell "for the refreshment of the spirit'. The pictures were fewer here but very beautiful. And what Lucy found herself reading was more like a story than a spell. It went on for three pages and before she had read to the bottom of the page she had forgotten that she was reading at all. She was living in the story as if it were real, and all the pictures were real too. When she had got to the third page and come to the end, she said, "That is the loveliest story I've ever read or ever shall read in my whole life. Oh, I wish I could have gone on reading it for ten years. At least I'll read it over again."

But here part of the magic of the Book came into play. You couldn't turn back. The right-hand pages, the ones ahead, could be turned; the left-hand pages could not.

"Oh, what a shame!" said Lucy. "I did so want to read it again. Well, at least I must remember it. Let's see . . . it was about . . . about . . . oh dear, it's all fading away again.

And even this last page is going blank. This is a very queer book. How can I have forgotten? It was about a cup and a sword and a tree and a green hill, I know that much. But I can't remember and what shall I do?"

And she never could remember; and ever since that day what Lucy means by a good story is a story which reminds her of the forgotten story in the Magician's Book.
~C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 10: The Magician's Book (1952)


Question of the day: Do you have a book that reminds you of Lucy's forgotten story?

Cool Link of the day: Miniature Books

5 Comment(s):

At Sat Nov 13, 06:34:00 PM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

How refreshing to read this, one of my favorite passages, after struggling through a stoopid essay (which I haven't finished writing, BTW. Arg...)

I've always tried to figure out what this story is. I think it might be King Arthur, but if it were, she'd think it was something like King Arthur.

Anyway, this passage has quite a bit of symbolism. I like how Lucy can't reread the story; she can't just reread it, she is not allowed to experience it over again. For, as Lewis has written extensively elsewhere, one cannot expereince the same thing in the same exact way twice. So Lucy must have the memory of this wonderful experience (though not the story, the fact) and that should be sufficient for her.

At Sun Nov 14, 02:48:00 AM EST, Blogger Roger R. said...

Might may take symbols and folly take treasure,
and greed bid God, who hides himself for man's pleasure
by occasion, hide himself essentially: this abides -
that the everlasting house the soul discovers
is always another's; we must always lose our own ends;
we must always live in the habitation of our lovers,
my friend's shelter for me, mine for him.

At Sun Nov 14, 10:39:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...


Roger, did you write that?

At Mon Nov 15, 09:02:00 AM EST, Blogger Roger R. said...

I wish... Charles Williams.

At Thu Dec 28, 06:55:00 PM EST, Blogger Austin said...

The story "about a cup and a sword and a tree and a green hill" is the story of Jesus' crucifixion and the events leading up to it. The cup is the cup he showed his disciples when he said, "This is my blood." The sword is the sword Peter used to cut off the servant's ear. The tree is the cross, which the apostles refered to as a tree a few times. The hill is calvary, on which Christ was crucified.


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