Saturday, September 17, 2005

Rilian's Return

"Oh, if only we knew!" said Jill.

"I think we do know," said Puddleglum.

"Do you mean you think everything will come right if we do untie him?" said Scrubb.

"I don't know about that," said Puddleglum. "You see, Aslan didn't tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow will be the death of us once he's up, I shouldn't wonder. But that doesn't let us off following the sign."

They all stood looking at one another with bright eyes. It was a sickening moment. "All right!" said Jill suddenly. "Let's get it over. Good-bye, everyone ...!" They all shook hands. The Knight was screaming by now; there was foam on his cheeks.

"Come on, Scrubb," said Puddleglum. He and Scrubb drew their swords and went over to the captive. "In the name of Aslan," they said and began methodically cutting the cords. The instant the prisoner was free, he crossed the room in a single bound, seized his own sword (which had been taken from him and laid on the table), and drew it.

"You first!" he cried and fell upon the silver chair. That must have been a good sword. The silver gave way before its edge like string, and in a moment a few twisted fragments, shining on the floor, were all that was left. But as the chair broke, there came from it a bright flash, a sound like small thunder, and (for one moment) a loathsome smell.

"Lie there, vile engine of sorcery," he said, "lest your mistress should ever use you for another victim." Then he turned and surveyed his rescuers; and the something wrong, whatever it was, had vanished from his face.

"What?" he cried, turning to Puddleglum. "Do I see before me a Marsh-wiggle - a real, live, honest, Narnian Marsh-wiggle?"

"Oh, so you have heard of Narnia after all?" said Jill.

"Had I forgotten it when I was under the spell?" asked the Knight. "Well, that and all other bedevilments are now over. You may well believe that I know Narnia, for I am Rilian, Prince of Narnia, and Caspian the great King is my father."
~C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, (1953)

1 Comment(s):

At Sat Sep 17, 05:40:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

'They all shook hands' - how very public school! They expect to die from this. There aren't any hugs or tears, not even from Jill who doesn't have to behave like a boy 'cos she isn't one (or did Lewis forget that for a moment?).

I suppose I should rethink the importance 'shaking hands' had to the culture Lewis came from. In my culture (NZ Anglo-Celt protestant) shaking hands is a casual greeting of a friend or business colleague. We might do it as part of making a deal, but only if someone is taking a photograph. Serious stress situations warrant a hug, although there is always a little hesitation with male-male hugging in case (gasp) someone thinks we're gay.

But I suspect Lewis attaches far more importance to the handshake.


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