The Lady of the Green Kirtle
By the time they had stepped off the end of the bridge on to the grass, the two strangers were quite close. One was a knight in complete armour with his visor down. His armour and his horse were black; there was no device on his shield and no banneret on his spear.
The other was a lady on a white horse, a horse so lovely that you wanted to kiss its nose and give it a lump of sugar at once. But the lady, who rode side-saddle and wore a long, fluttering dress of dazzling green, was lovelier still.
"Good day, t-r-r-avellers," she cried out in a voice as sweet as the sweetest bird's song, trilling her R's delightfully. "Some of you are young pilgrims to walk this rough waste."
"That's as may be, Ma'am," said Puddleglum very stiffly and on his guard.
"We're looking for the ruined city of the giants," said Jill.
"The r-r-ruined city?" said the Lady. "That is a strange place to be seeking. What will you do if you find it?"
"We've got to -" began Jill, but Puddleglum interrupted.
"Begging your pardon, Ma'am. But we don't know you or your friend - a silent chap, isn't he? - and you don't know us. And we'd as soon not talk to strangers about our business, if you don't mind. Shall we have a little rain soon, do you think?"
The Lady laughed: the richest, most musical laugh you can imagine. "Well, children," she said, "you have a wise, solemn old guide with you. I think none the worse of him for keeping his own counsel, but I'll be free with mine. I have often heard the name of the giantish City Ruinous, but never met any who would tell me the way thither. This road leads to the burgh and castle of Harfang, where dwell the gentle giants. They are as mild, civil, prudent, and courteous as those of Ettinsmoor are foolish, fierce, savage, and given to all beastliness. And in Harfang you may or may not hear tidings of the City Ruinous, but certainly you shall find good lodgings and merry hosts. You would be wise to winter there, or, at the least, to tarry certain days for your ease and refreshment. There you shall have steaming baths, soft beds, and bright hearths; and the roast and the baked and the sweet and the strong will be on the table four times in a day."
"I say!" exclaimed Scrubb. "That's something like! Think of sleeping in a bed again."
"Yes, and having a hot bath," said Jill. "Do you think they'll ask us to stay? We don't know them, you see."
"Only tell them," answered the Lady, "that She of the Green Kirtle salutes them by you, and has sent them two fair Southern children for the Autumn Feast."
~C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair (1953)
On this day:
1925 J.R.R. Tolkien made formal application for the position of Professor of Anglo Saxon at Oxford.
"My head was very full of my old idea of a poem on my own version of the Cupid and Psyche story in which Psyche's sister would not be jealous, but unable to see anything but moors when Psyche showed her the Palace. I have tried it twice before, once in couplet and once in ballad form."
~from Lewis's diary, entry of September 9, 1923