The great man himself, Clive Staples Lewis, was born this day in 1898.
He is about to undergo a bit of a revival, what with the upcoming release of the movie version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, but to many, his works have never gone out of style. To me, certainly, he has been a warm fire on a many a cold night in the wilderness. I’ve read the Narnia series probably half-a-dozen times in my life, most recently last week. I’ll never get sick of them. They tell a great story, full of courage, honor, love, and redemption. It’s like a Johnny Cash song in prose form. The Great Divorce is one of the best books I’ve ever read, and as soon as I can find my copy, I’m going to read it again (if any of you know where I put it, leave a message). His theological works are accessible and pleasant to read (not many works of theology, by any writer, have ever been described thusly). And, most people aren’t aware, but he wrote a nifty little science fiction trilogy that is worth anyone’s time.
So, in lieu of a cake, I present to you a passage from The Silver Chair (the 6th book in the Narnia series):
“If you’re thirsty, you may drink.”
For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again, “If you are thirsty, come and drink, ” and of course she remembered what Scrubb had said about animals talking in that other world, and realized that it was the lion speaking. Anyway, she had seen its lips move this time, and the voice was not like a man’s. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way.
“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion
“May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was making her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to — do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?”
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emporers, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.