Monday, March 21, 2005

Of Queens and Heroes

"Oh, this is nice!" said Jill. "Just walking along like this. I wish there could be more of this sort of adventure. It's a pity there's always so much happening in Narnia."

But the Unicorn explained to her that she was quite mistaken. He said that the Sons and Daughters of Adam and Eve were brought out of their own strange world into Narnia only at times when Narnia was stirred and upset, but she mustn't think it was always like that. In between their visits there were hundreds and thousands of years when peaceful King followed peaceful King till you could hardly remember their names or count their numbers, and there was really hardly anything to put into the History Books. And he went on to talk of old Queens and heroes whom she had never heard of. He spoke of Swanwhite the Queen who had lived before the days of the White Witch and the Great Winter, who was so beautiful that when she looked into any forest pool the reflection of her face shone out of the water like a star by night for a year and a day afterwards. He spoke of Moonwood the Hare who had such ears that he could sit by Caldron Pool under the thunder of the great waterfall and hear what men spoke in whispers at Cair Paravel. He told how King Gale, who was ninth in descent from Frank the first of all Kings, had sailed far away into the Eastern seas and delivered the Lone Islanders from a dragon and how, in return, they had given him the Lone Islands to be part of the royal lands of Narnia for ever. He talked of whole centuries in which all Narnia was so happy that notable dances and feasts, or at most tournaments, were the only things that could be remembered, and every day and week had been better than the last. And as he went on, the picture of all those happy years, all the thousands of them, piled up in Jill's mind till it was rather like looking down from a high hill on to a rich, lovely plain full of woods and waters and cornfields, which spread away and away till it got thin and misty from distance.

And she said: "Oh, I do hope we can soon settle the Ape and get back to those good, ordinary times. And then I hope they'll go on for ever and ever and ever. Our world is going to have an end some day. Perhaps this one won't. Oh Jewel wouldn't it be lovely if Narnia just went on and on - like what you said it has been?"

"Nay, sister," answered Jewel, "all worlds draw to an end, except Aslan's own country."
~C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle (1956)

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On this day (catching up):

1956 (March 19) The Last Battle is published by The Bodley Head, London.

1919 (March 20) Lewis's first book, Spirits in Bondage: A Cycle of Lyrics, is published by William Heinemann, London, under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton.

1957 (March 21) Jack Lewis and Joy Davidman Gresham, united in a civil marriage the previous year, are married in an ecclesiastical ceremony in Wingfield-Morris Hospital by the Rev. Peter Bide. Bide also performs a healing service for Joy, who is believed to be dying of cancer.

2 Comment(s):

At Tue Mar 22, 03:01:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

I find this view of 'history' quite charming. It is true that historians tend to record the abnormal events which give us a skewed view of history. The doings of kings are recorded but almost everyone was an unrecorded agricultural labourer doing supposedly unimportant work like raising the food.

It is only since the renaisance that people who made things had their names written down. Before that you had to be a general, a king or a saint (okay there are some exceptions, but not many)

 
At Tue Mar 22, 06:02:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

The other thing this reminds me of is the chapter in LOTR where Tom Bombadil is sitting by the fire with the hobbits telling them stories about the history of Middle Earth, until the stories themselves took on a dream-like quality.

 

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