Friday, May 27, 2016

W Hugh Woodin


This needs to be better known.

The Lion, The Witch and CS Lewis - 10


The army was on the march. There were three great contingents: one of talking animals, who had stayed in Narnia; one of centaurs and other magical people, who had stayed to the north of Narnia, though it was cold there; and the last were of fauns, many of whom, had until recently, spy on the evil witch. And above everyone else there was Aslan, who was present everywhere. The sun was out of the clouds, and their was a rainbow to guide them to their ultimate destination. Only the centaurs and like actually had battle gear, the rest of them relied on their fur, and whatever things they could muster out of their homes. The centaurs were often going hither and young, to tell any people that Aslan had arrived. Generally this meant that one group of animals would go towards Aslan, and one group went away, going to the witch. In general, beavers, centaurs, and all upstanding went towards Aslan. Where as foxes, wolfs, and other thoroughly nasty types went to the witch. While there were a few exceptions, in both directions, overall the lines had been drawn.

But one area was the exception: underground did not contribute any to either side.

While other members of the Army would skip, or walk, Aslan moved at a sedate pace, all on his own, as if marching to the beat of another drummer. Gradually, others moved in time with lion, even if they could not help it. The Lion was chewing out orders, some softly given, some a bit more harshly, but even the lion most gentle voice was a great deal softer than the witches. Eddie would have recognized it, and the rest of the children, would scream and moan from the witches treatment.

At first only Peter was ahead with the lion. He was taking orders from him, and listened to the sound of his voice.

“Why am I one who was picked out of so many others? And why am I in what looks to be somewhere in the Northwest what looks to be Europe or England? Why am I not in Africa, with all of the rest of my ancestors?” confessed Peter.

“If you were truly African, you might well be there. But you were chosen because you are American, and as such, you are about half German and English, and one half African. And I am not hard of an African group. Because it's me that shows you, and I come from to families: one from Northwest, and the other from what could said to be semitic in nature.”

“When did that happen?”

“Only in the blink of an eye by my standards. You might have been African, and seeing many different forms than these, but that was not what happened. For a very long time, the Africans and Europeans were separate, with only the fathers from Europe mixing with the mothers of African descent. Then it exploded, and you could not tell who was European, and who was African. Though people tried to figure it out, mostly by skin color, which actually was not a reliable way of telling. Me people who think they are European, have African blood, and many people who look African have European genes. It was different in European, but not by much. People have been mixing for a very long time on European continent.”

Peter did not did not completely understand, but he was trying. He remembered that his grandfather was in fact white, though he didn't think much about it. But what he did understand, was that all of the races were in fact the same. He looked at his feet, and tried to say something, but could not spit it out. It was as if it was a blown in the throat, and he could not chew.

“So what to we do now, is this a place filled with strangers?”

“This place has happened many times to me different groups of boys and girls. You're not the first, and you will not be the last.”

This Peter understood with great clarity. He and his merry troop were not the first and were not the last, but instead part of an endless cycle, as if dozens of children were going to go out to the theater, and come back and think of them selves as King or Queen. Only every one would think that there story was unique, because it was exactly the same as anyone else's story.

Looked out, and stared straight into a ravine, it was a long step, and he realized they had stopped here for an excellent reason. It was a long way down, but thought he heard voices from down below, they were strange because they did not sound human, but feral, as if made by a cat.

“What is below?” Inquired Peter, listening for an utterance which was not coming.

“You have to prove yourself, and only you.” replied the line.

Down below there were two voices, with a great deal of viciousness within them. While he did not hear them distinctly, he was sure that they were planning something awful, and he realized that he and only he could stop them. The tail would stop for it had really begun, if he did not do something about it.

“What do I do?” Ask Peter.

“That's your decision, but realize everything else will flow from the decision that you make. You can be heroic, you can be stealthy. And all sorts of other choices. But it is only for you to judge. No one else will make it for you.”

“ I read a book by CS Lewis, but your saying that it is my choice what happens in these sets of books. And whatever I decide will be how it is for my two sisters, and brother.”

“Your brother has made one choice, and will make a second choice, but it will be your story. Because this is the moment that defines what it will be like. For all times, in all places. You may have read all of the books, but now it comes time to make a decision. And it is yours to make."

“So I could, for example, go down and join the witch, rather than you?”

“Yes you could, but remember the rest of the world will make its own decisions. And you might not like them, even a small bit.”

He remembered something, about a person who choose between being fair, and going on with her life. He thought this was in the second book, but he was not sure. At first he thought it would fine to look so handsome, because just now he would be popular with the girls. It was a unique prospect. But then he looked at pictures, and saw that not everything was right with the world. People who thought he was fine the way he was, did not liking being so handsome. Though he didn't look at any pictures, there being none too see, because it was in the next book, he knew right then that he didn't want that reality.

He also didn't want to reality of sneaking around, because it would not be a noble thing, and was noble. He wondered, for an instant, what his younger brother would do. Then he realized, his brother was not completely formed, and would do whatever his brother wanted him to do. Thus, it was not just for himself, but his two sisters, and his younger brother.

Then with reckless abandon, he went down the ravine, and result to face whatever was there. Many people would not have made this decision, but Peter was not among them. So he tried through the thicket which was a little below, and resolved to face it head on. It was the noble thing to do, and that was Peter.

The moment he said put in the brambles, he was caught by surprise. There was teeth in his left arm, and then in his right. If he had been a little boy, which was not to long ago, he would have been spliced in too small pieces. But he had grown up, and faced head-on is problem. He saw a cat as large as himself, ready to take another piece out of him. But Peter was not going to give it that chance, and made a gamble, thrusting straight forward into its throat. But he remembered that there were two, and he didn't see the other one.

But he heard him, and without question, without even really reflecting on his actions, turned around, and with an even strip sliced the cat from stem to stern. And that was that, though he fumbled with the sword pulling it out of the brambles. He stood and listened for a third, but there was no third. There was only the sound of his own breathing. He was alive, and hail. He didn't know exactly how he did it, but it was done. At his feet there were two cats, as dead as a door nail, to use the expression of Dickens.

Then around by his back, there was another threat, but he knew that this was Aslan, coming to congratulate him.

“You made the right decision.” Said the lion.

“You could have done this yourself. Why didn't you?”

“Because then you would not have known if you could do it yourself.” Replied lion. And that was that. It was getting late, and Aslan had other things to attend to. “You done your work well. Now it is time for your sisters do their work. Can I leave you to set up camp? Give me your sword.”

Peter did so, knowing that he would arise from being knight, proud of this fact.

Aslan knighted him, and then handed the sword back. There was no more to referring to Peter, he was Sir Peter. And that made all of the difference.

So Peter and Aslan climbed their way out of the thicket, and directed some faun to take care of the bodies. Once up in the pavilion, they regaled everyone, especially a naiad and to dyads with tale of how Peter slew is first pair of tigers, for that is what they were. No one saw Aslan going away, but they didn't notice that Saundra and Lucy were missing as well. Once Peter had made a decision, all of the other parts were put in to motion.