Saturday, February 05, 2005

They Saw The Palace?

"And so," he said, "when her two sisters had seen the beautiful palace and been feasted and given gifts, they--"

"They saw the palace?"

"Stranger, you are hindering the sacred story. Of course they saw the palace. They weren't blind. And then--"

It was as if the gods themselves had first laughed, and then spat, in my face. So this was the shape the story had taken. You may say, the shape the gods had given it. For it must be they who had put it into the old fool's mind or into the mind of some other dreamer from whom he'd learned it. How could any mortal have known of that palace at all? That much of the truth they had dropped into someone's mind, in a dream, or an oracle, or however they do such things. That much; and wiped clean out the very meaning, the pith, the central knot, of the whole tale. Do I not do well to write a book against them, telling what they have kept hidden? Never, sitting on my judgement seat, had I caught a false witness in a more cunning half-truth. For if the true story had been like their story, no riddle wold have been set me; there would have been no guessing and no guessing wrong. More than that, it's a story belonging to a different world, a world in which the gods show themselves clearly and don't torment men with glimpses, nor unveil to one what they hide from another, nor ask you to believe what contradicts your eyes and ears and nose and tongue and fingers. In such a world (is there such? it's not ours, for certain) I would have walked aright. The gods themselves would have been able to find no fault in me. And now to tell my story as if I had had the very sight they had denied it not as if you told a cripple's story and never said he was lame, or told how a man betrayed a secret but never said it was after twenty hours of torture? And I saw all in a moment how the false story would grow and spread and be told all over the earth; and I wondered how many of the other sacred stories are just such twisted falsities as this.
~C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces, Ch. 21, (1956)

5 Comment(s):

At Sat Feb 05, 10:34:00 AM EST, Blogger jesusandME said...

Wow, I'd love to read this book! I hadn't even thought of it till reading the extract.. It reminds me of some of the things Tolkien says in his "on Fairy Stories" essay and what J K Chesterton says in "Orthodoxy" (you should read that Arevanye, you can read it online here. - It's also got some great works by St Theresa and St Patrick and other early Christian thinkers & mystics. I'm really enjoying that lot!)

I really like the thing about telling "how a man betrayed a secret but never [saying] it was after twenty hours of torture" I used to think as a kid that stories weren't very honest when they didn't say how that kind of thing (keeping secrets etc) would drive people crazy!

Meanwhile, I'm on The Problem of Pain right now. It's taking me a while.

And I'm annoyed because I can't find the middle book in the Space Trilogy series, so I'm a bit stuck on that one too..

xx Amatire xx

At Sat Feb 05, 02:05:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

*throws arms around Ammi* Ammi!!! So nice to see you. Long time since I've heard from you!

You just HAVE to read Till We Have Faces. I read it for the first time just recently, and I couldn't put it down. I think it is one of Lewis's best books.

Thanks for the link to Chesterton. I'll be sure to check it out.

At Sat Feb 05, 05:10:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

It is an astonishingly good book, but I have to admit that I didn't really 'get' it until the third reading. The first part of the story is a straightforward argument/accusation against the gods (the protagonist is pagan). The argument is very convincing and got me for a while because I didn't make any sense of the second part. It is a good thing for me the story is so brilliant I kept re-reading.

At Sun Feb 06, 04:12:00 PM EST, Blogger Bob said...

Okay, I'm saying this here because I'm apparently too verbose for the Tagboard.

Re: The subscription thing
You need a blog aggregator. What it does is, sits on your desktop and when a blog you subscribe to has a post, it appears in your aggregator. That way you don't have to keep visiting a dozen blogs a dozen times a day checking for updates. I've never used one since I've only had dial-up and it only makes sense for an always-on broadband connection. So I couldn't direct you to a good one. It's kind of like a wire service for blogs.

At Sun Feb 06, 10:14:00 PM EST, Blogger Anamire said...

Psst...I went back and found the poem you posted about Hecate. That was really neat. I liked all the imagery. Here's a little background on Hecate:

She was originally an earth, sea, and air goddess, but later on was associated particularly with the earth and the underworld. She had three faces, so she was also associated with crossroads. She had an army of angry spirits who followed her, and witches and magicians would pray to her for help in their spells. Because spells were believed to have more power at night, Hecate also became a moon goddess.


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