Friday, November 25, 2005

What Happened to the Knife

Before them, beyond the pillars, there was the slope of a low hill. And now a door opened in the hillside, and light appeared in the doorway, and a figure came out, and the door shut behind it. The figure carried a light, and this light was really all that they could see distinctly. It came slowly nearer and nearer till at last it stood right at the table opposite to them. Now they could see that it was a tall girl, dressed in a single long garment of clear blue which left her arms bare. She was bareheaded and her yellow hair hung down her back. And when they looked at her they thought they had never before known what beauty meant.

The light which she had been carrying was a tall candle in a silver candlestick which she now set upon the table. If there had been any wind off the sea earlier in the night it must have died down by now, for the flame of the candle burned as straight and still as if it were in a room with the windows shut and the curtains drawn. Gold and silver on the table shone in its light.

Lucy now noticed something lying lengthwise on the table which had escaped her attention before. It was a knife of stone, sharp as steel, a cruel-looking, ancient looking thing.

No one had yet spoken a word. Then - Reepicheep first, and Caspian next - they all rose to their feet, because they felt that she was a great lady.

"Travellers who have come from far to Aslan's table," said the girl. "Why do you not eat and drink?"

"Madam," said Caspian, "we feared the food because we thought it had cast our friends into an enchanted sleep.

"They have never tasted it," she said.

"Please," said Lucy, "what happened to them?"

"Seven years ago," said the girl, "they came here in a ship whose sails were rags and timbers ready to fall apart. There were a few others with them, sailors, and when they came to this table one said, `Here is the good place. Let us set sail and reef sail and row no longer but sit down and end our days in peace!' And the second said, `No, let us re-embark and sail for Narnia and the west; it may be that Miraz is dead.' But the third, who was a very masterful man, leaped up and said, `No, by heaven. We are men and Telmarines, not brutes. What should we do but seek adventure after adventure? We have not long to live in any event. Let us spend what is left in seeking the unpeopled world behind the sunrise.' And as they quarrelled he caught up the Knife of Stone which lies there on the table and would have fought with his comrades. But it is a thing not right for him to touch. And as his fingers closed upon the hilt, deep sleep fell upon all the three. And till the enchantment is undone they will never wake."

"What is this Knife of Stone?" asked Eustace.

"Do none of you know it?" said the girl.

"I - I think," said Lucy, "I've seen something like it before. It was a knife like it that the White Witch used when she killed Aslan at the Stone Table long ago."

"It was the same," said the girl, "and it was brought here to be kept in honour while the world lasts."
~C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, "The Three Sleepers", (1952)

2 Comment(s):

At Fri Nov 25, 06:00:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

I guess this is the equivalent of finding the True Cross. Interesting that the knife is described as wicked looking. We see so many clean and gilded crosses that it is easy to forget that we are looking at an instrument of torture and death. The Catholics tend to hang a bloodied Christ on theirs, but us protestants don't.

 
At Tue Dec 06, 03:02:00 PM EST, Anonymous Junshien said...

hmm.. i think it's more equivalent to what the catholics call the Spear of Destiny

 

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