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Inspiration Report

Guest Blog by C.S. Lewis

For more than 50 years The Chronicles of Narnia have captured hearts and imaginations. Just in time for the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, HarperOne published A Year with Aslan: Daily Reflections from The Chronicles of Narnia so readers can get a  daily does of Narnia inspiration from the classic children’s series. The daily snippets are culled from C.S. Lewis’ original works.  Big thanks to our friends at HarperOne for assembling these 10 excerpts for Beliefnet readers.

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The Creation of Narnia

Far away, and down near the horizon,the sky began to turn grey. A light wind, very fresh, began to stir. The sky,in that one place, grew slowly and steadily paler. You could see shapes ofhills standing up dark against it. All the time the Voice went on singing. . ..

 The eastern sky changed fromwhite to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the airwas shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorioussound it had yet produced, the sun arose.

 Digory had never seen such asun. The suns above the ruins of Charn had looked older than ours: this lookedyounger. You could imagine that it laughed for joy as it came up. And as itsbeams shot across the land the travelers could see for the first time what sortof place they were in. It was a valley through which a broad, swift river woundits way, flowing eastward toward the sun. Southward there were mountains,northward there were lower hills. But it was a valley of mere earth, rock andwater; there was not a tree, not a bush, not a blade of grass to be seen. Theearth was of many colors; they were fresh and hot and vivid. They made you feelexcited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else.

 It was a Lion. Huge, shaggy,and bright, it stood facing the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song andit was about three hundred yards away.

 –The Magician’s Nephew



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A Sense of Wonder

They say Aslan is on themove–perhaps has already landed.”

And now a very curious thinghappened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but themoment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhapsit has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something whichyou don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormousmeaning– either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmareor else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream sobeautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you couldget into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each oneof the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation ofmysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as ifsome delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated byher. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning andrealize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.

–The Lion, the Witch, and theWardrobe


A Star at Rest

And are we near the World’s End now,Sir?” asked Caspian. “Have you any knowledge of the seas and lands further eastthan this?”

 “I saw them long ago,” saidthe Old Man, “but it was from a great height. I cannot tell you such things assailors need to know.”

 “Do you mean you were flyingin the air?” Eustace blurted out.

 “I was a long way above theair, my son,” replied the Old Man. “I am Ramandu. But I see that you stare atone another and have not heard this name. And no wonder, for the days when Iwas a star had ceased long before any of you knew this world, and all theconstellations have changed.”

 “Golly,” said Edmund under hisbreath. “He’s a retired star.”

 “Aren’t you a star anylonger?” asked Lucy.

 “I am a star at rest, mydaughter,” answered Ramandu. “When I set for the last time, decrepit and oldbeyond all that you can reckon, I was carried to this island. I am not so oldnow as I was then. Every morning a bird brings me a fire-berry from the valleysin the Sun, and each fire-berry takes away a little of my age. And when I havebecome as young as the child that was born yesterday, then I shall take myrising again (for we are at earth’s eastern rim) and once more tread the greatdance.”

 “In our world,” said Eustace,”a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”

 “Even in your world, my son,that is not what a star is but only what it is made of.”

 –The Voyage of the DawnTreader


Not Your Horse

All right then,” said Aravis.”You’ve guessed it. Hwin and I are running away. We are trying to get toNarnia. And now, what about it?”

“Why, in that case, what is toprevent us all going together?” said Bree.

 “I trust, Madam Hwin, you willaccept such assistance and protection as I may be able to give you on thejourney?”

 “Why do you keep talking to myhorse instead of to me?” asked the girl.

 “Excuse me, Tarkheena,” saidBree (with just the slightest backward tilt of his ears), “but that’s Calormenetalk. We’re free Narnians, Hwin and I, and I suppose, if you’re running away toNarnia, you want to be one too. In that case Hwin isn’t your horse anylonger. One might just as well say you’re her human.”

The girl opened her mouth to speakand then stopped. Obviously she had not quite seen it in that light before.

 –The Horse and His Boy

 

Do You Feel Yourself Sufficient?

Then Peter, leading Caspian, forcedhis way through the crowd of animals.

 “This is Caspian, Sir,” hesaid. And Caspian knelt and kissed the Lion’s paw.

 “Welcome, Prince,” said Aslan.”Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?”

 “I–I don’t think I do, Sir,”said Caspian. “I’m only a kid.”

 “Good,” said Aslan. “If youhad felt yourself sufficient, it would have been a proof that you were not.Therefore, under us and under the High King, you shall be King of Narnia, Lordof Cair Paravel, and Emperor of the Lone Islands. You and yourheirs while your race lasts.”

 –Prince Caspian


 A Better Man

Then two wonders happened at thesame moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; morevoices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but farhigher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was thatthe blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t comeout gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there hadbeen nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of lightleaped out–single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger thanany in our world. There were no clouds.

 The new stars and the newvoices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it, as Digorydid, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves whichwere singing, and that it was the first voice, the deep one, which had madethem appear and made them sing.

 “Glory be!” said the Cabby.”I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things likethis.”

 –The Magician’s Nephew

 

Father Christmas Arrives

Come on! ” cried Mr. Beaver, who wasalmost dancing with delight. “Come and see! This is a nasty knock for theWitch! It looks as if her power is already crumbling.”

 “What do you mean, Mr.Beaver?” panted Peter as they all scrambled up the steep bank of the valleytogether.

 “Didn’t I tell you,” answeredMr. Beaver, “that she’d made it always winter and never Christmas? Didn’t Itell you? Well, just come and see!”

 And then they were all at thetop and did see.

 It was a sledge, and itwas reindeer with bells on their harness. But they were far bigger thanthe Witch’s reindeer, and they were not white but brown. And on the sledge sata person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge manin a bright red robe (bright as hollyberries) with a hood that had fur insideit and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest.Everyone knew him because, though you see people of his sort only in Narnia,you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world–the worldon this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it israther different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world makehim look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood lookingat him they didn’t find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and soreal, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.

 “I’ve come at last,” said he.”She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is onthe move. The Witch’s magic is weakening.”

 And Lucy felt running throughher that deep shiver of gladness which you only get if you are being solemn andstill.

 –The Lion, the Witch, andthe Wardrobe

Happy All Your Life

Stay where you are,” cried Digory,turning round to face her, “or we’ll all vanish. Don’t come an inch nearer.”

 “Foolish boy,” said the Witch.”Why do you run from me? I mean you no harm. If you do not stop and listen tome now, you will miss some knowledge that would have made you happy all yourlife.”

 “Well, I don’t want to hearit, thanks,” said Digory. But he did.

 “I know what errand you havecome on,” continued the Witch. “For it was I who was close beside you in thewoods last night and heard all your counsels. You have plucked fruit in thegarden yonder. You have it in your pocket now. And you are going to carry itback, untasted, to the Lion; for him to eat, for him to use. Yousimpleton! Do you know what that fruit is? I will tell you. It is the apple ofyouth, the apple of life. I know, for I have tasted it; and I feel already suchchanges in myself that I know I shall never grow old or die. Eat it, Boy, eatit; and you and I will both live forever and be king and queen of this wholeworld–or of your world, if we decide to go back there.”

“No thanks,” said Digory, “I don’tknow that I care much about living on and on after everyone I know is dead. I’drather live an ordinary time and die and go to Heaven.”

 –The Magician’s Nephew


 Even a Traitor May Mend

After lunch, which they had on theterrace (it was cold birds and cold game pie and wine and bread and cheese),King Lune ruffled up his brow and heaved a sigh and said, “Heigh-ho! We havestill that sorry creature Rabadash on our hands, my friends, and must needsresolve what to do with him.”

 Lucy was sitting on the King’sright and Aravis on his left. King Edmund sat at one end of the table and theLord Darrin faced him at the other. Dar and Peridan and Cor and Corin were onthe same side as the King.

“Your Majesty would have a perfectright to strike off his head,” said Peridan. “Such an assault as he made putshim on a level with assassins.”

“It is very true,” said Edmund. “Buteven a traitor may mend. I have known one that did.” And he looked verythoughtful.

–The Horse and His Boy

 

The Dream Is Ended

Asl an turned to them and said: “Youdo not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.”

Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of beingsent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”

“No fear of that,” said Aslan. “Haveyou not guessed?”

 Their hearts leaped, and awild hope rose within them.

 “There was a realrailway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of youare–as you used to call it in the Shadowlands– dead. The term is over: theholidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

 And as He spoke He no longerlooked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that wereso great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end ofall the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily everafter. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their lifein this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover andthe title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Storywhich no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapteris better than the one before.

 –The Last Battle

From A YEAR WITH ASLAN: DAILYREFLECTIONS from the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Copyright 2010 by C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Text reprinted by permission of HarperOne, an imprint ofHarperCollins Publishers.


A Star at Rest

And are we near the World’s End now,Sir?” asked Caspian. “Have you any knowledge of the seas and lands further eastthan this?”

 “I saw them long ago,” saidthe Old Man, “but it was from a great height. I cannot tell you such things assailors need to know.”

 “Do you mean you were flyingin the air?” Eustace blurted out.

 “I was a long way above theair, my son,” replied the Old Man. “I am Ramandu. But I see that you stare atone another and have not heard this name. And no wonder, for the days when Iwas a star had ceased long before any of you knew this world, and all theconstellations have changed.”

 “Golly,” said Edmund under hisbreath. “He’s a retired star.”

 “Aren’t you a star anylonger?” asked Lucy.

 “I am a star at rest, mydaughter,” answered Ramandu. “When I set for the last time, decrepit and oldbeyond all that you can reckon, I was carried to this island. I am not so oldnow as I was then. Every morning a bird brings me a fire-berry from the valleysin the Sun, and each fire-berry takes away a little of my age. And when I havebecome as young as the child that was born yesterday, then I shall take myrising again (for we are at earth’s eastern rim) and once more tread the greatdance.”

 “In our world,” said Eustace,”a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”

 “Even in your world, my son,that is not what a star is but only what it is made of.”

 –The Voyage of the DawnTreader


Not Your Horse

All right then,” said Aravis.”You’ve guessed it. Hwin and I are running away. We are trying to get toNarnia. And now, what about it?”

“Why, in that case, what is toprevent us all going together?” said Bree.

 “I trust, Madam Hwin, you willaccept such assistance and protection as I may be able to give you on thejourney?”

 “Why do you keep talking to myhorse instead of to me?” asked the girl.

 “Excuse me, Tarkheena,” saidBree (with just the slightest backward tilt of his ears), “but that’s Calormenetalk. We’re free Narnians, Hwin and I, and I suppose, if you’re running away toNarnia, you want to be one too. In that case Hwin isn’t your horse anylonger. One might just as well say you’re her human.”

The girl opened her mouth to speakand then stopped. Obviously she had not quite seen it in that light before.

 –The Horse and His Boy

 

Do You Feel Yourself Sufficient?

Then Peter, leading Caspian, forcedhis way through the crowd of animals.

 “This is Caspian, Sir,” hesaid. And Caspian knelt and kissed the Lion’s paw.

 “Welcome, Prince,” said Aslan.”Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?”

 “I–I don’t think I do, Sir,”said Caspian. “I’m only a kid.”

 “Good,” said Aslan. “If youhad felt yourself sufficient, it would have been a proof that you were not.Therefore, under us and under the High King, you shall be King of Narnia, Lordof Cair Paravel, and Emperor of the Lone Islands. You and yourheirs while your race lasts.”

 –Prince Caspian


 A Better Man

Then two wonders happened at thesame moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; morevoices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but farhigher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was thatthe blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t comeout gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there hadbeen nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of lightleaped out–single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger thanany in our world. There were no clouds.

 The new stars and the newvoices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it, as Digorydid, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves whichwere singing, and that it was the first voice, the deep one, which had madethem appear and made them sing.

 “Glory be!” said the Cabby.”I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things likethis.”

 –The Magician’s Nephew

 

Father Christmas Arrives

Come on! ” cried Mr. Beaver, who wasalmost dancing with delight. “Come and see! This is a nasty knock for theWitch! It looks as if her power is already crumbling.”

 “What do you mean, Mr.Beaver?” panted Peter as they all scrambled up the steep bank of the valleytogether.

 “Didn’t I tell you,” answeredMr. Beaver, “that she’d made it always winter and never Christmas? Didn’t Itell you? Well, just come and see!”

 And then they were all at thetop and did see.

 It was a sledge, and itwas reindeer with bells on their harness. But they were far bigger thanthe Witch’s reindeer, and they were not white but brown. And on the sledge sata person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge manin a bright red robe (bright as hollyberries) with a hood that had fur insideit and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest.Everyone knew him because, though you see people of his sort only in Narnia,you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world–the worldon this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it israther different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world makehim look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood lookingat him they didn’t find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and soreal, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.

 “I’ve come at last,” said he.”She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is onthe move. The Witch’s magic is weakening.”

 And Lucy felt running throughher that deep shiver of gladness which you only get if you are being solemn andstill.

 –The Lion, the Witch, andthe Wardrobe

Happy All Your Life

Stay where you are,” cried Digory,turning round to face her, “or we’ll all vanish. Don’t come an inch nearer.”

 “Foolish boy,” said the Witch.”Why do you run from me? I mean you no harm. If you do not stop and listen tome now, you will miss some knowledge that would have made you happy all yourlife.”

 “Well, I don’t want to hearit, thanks,” said Digory. But he did.

 “I know what errand you havecome on,” continued the Witch. “For it was I who was close beside you in thewoods last night and heard all your counsels. You have plucked fruit in thegarden yonder. You have it in your pocket now. And you are going to carry itback, untasted, to the Lion; for him to eat, for him to use. Yousimpleton! Do you know what that fruit is? I will tell you. It is the apple ofyouth, the apple of life. I know, for I have tasted it; and I feel already suchchanges in myself that I know I shall never grow old or die. Eat it, Boy, eatit; and you and I will both live forever and be king and queen of this wholeworld–or of your world, if we decide to go back there.”

“No thanks,” said Digory, “I don’tknow that I care much about living on and on after everyone I know is dead. I’drather live an ordinary time and die and go to Heaven.”

 –The Magician’s Nephew


 Even a Traitor May Mend

After lunch, which they had on theterrace (it was cold birds and cold game pie and wine and bread and cheese),King Lune ruffled up his brow and heaved a sigh and said, “Heigh-ho! We havestill that sorry creature Rabadash on our hands, my friends, and must needsresolve what to do with him.”

 Lucy was sitting on the King’sright and Aravis on his left. King Edmund sat at one end of the table and theLord Darrin faced him at the other. Dar and Peridan and Cor and Corin were onthe same side as the King.

“Your Majesty would have a perfectright to strike off his head,” said Peridan. “Such an assault as he made putshim on a level with assassins.”

“It is very true,” said Edmund. “Buteven a traitor may mend. I have known one that did.” And he looked verythoughtful.

–The Horse and His Boy

 

The Dream Is Ended

Asl an turned to them and said: “Youdo not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.”

Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of beingsent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”

“No fear of that,” said Aslan. “Haveyou not guessed?”

 Their hearts leaped, and awild hope rose within them.

 “There was a realrailway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of youare–as you used to call it in the Shadowlands– dead. The term is over: theholidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

 And as He spoke He no longerlooked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that wereso great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end ofall the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily everafter. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their lifein this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover andthe title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Storywhich no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapteris better than the one before.

 –The Last Battle

From A YEAR WITH ASLAN: DAILYREFLECTIONS from the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Copyright 2010 by C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Text reprinted by permission of HarperOne, an imprint ofHarperCollins Publishers.

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