Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The West-Wind Himself

The wind got wilder and wilder. It seemed to be lifting me off the ground so that, if it hadn't been for the iron round my waist, I'd have been blown right away, up in the air. And then--at last--for a moment--I saw him."

"Saw whom?"

"The West Wind"

"Saw it?"

"Not it; him. The god of the wind; West-wind himself."

"Were you awake, Psyche?"

"Oh, it was no dream. One can't dream things like that, because one's never seen things like that. He was in human shape. But you couldn't mistake him for a man. Oh, Sister, you'd understand if you'd seen. How can I make you understand? You've seen lepers?"

"Well of course."

"And you know how healthy people look beside a leper?"

"You mean--healthier, ruddier than ever?"

"Yes. Now we, beside the gods, are like lepers beside us."

"Do you mean this god was so red?"

She laughted and clapped her hands. "Oh, it's no use," she said. "I see I've not given you the idea at all. Never mind. You shall see gods for yourself, Orual. It must be so; I'll make it so. Somehow. There must be a way. Look, this may help you. when I saw West-wind I was neither glad nor afraid (at first). I felt ashamed."

"But what of? Psyche, they hadn't stripped you naked or anything?"

"No, no, Maia. Ashamed of looking like a mortal--ashamed of being a mortal."

"But how could you help that?"

"Don't you think the things people are most ashamed of are the things they can't help?"

I thought of my ugliness and said nothing.
~C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces, (1956)

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