Further Up and Further In

It’s time once again for a little snippet of Narnia, in case you were weary of all the fear-mongering and misinformation (on both sides) that passes for news these days.

“‘Peter,” said Lucy, ‘where is this, do you suppose?’ . . . “If you ask me,” said Edmund, ‘it’s like somewhere in the Narnian world. Look at those mountains ahead—and the big ice-mountains beyond them. Surely they’re rather like the mountains we used to see from Narnia, the ones up Westward beyond the Waterfall?’. . .

‘And yet they’re not like,’ said Lucy. ‘They’re different. They have more colors on them and they look further away than I remembered and they’re more . . . more . . . oh, I don’t know . . .’

‘More like the real thing,’ said the Lord Digory softly. . . .

‘But how can it be?’ said Peter. ‘For Aslan told us older ones that we should never return to Narnia, and here we are.’

‘Yes,” said Eustace. ‘And we saw it all destroyed and the sun put out.’

‘And it’s all so different,’ said Lucy.

‘The Eagle is right,’ said the Lord Digory. ‘Listen, Peter. When Aslan said you could never go back to Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan’s real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.’ His voice stirred everyone like a trumpet as he spoke these words: but when he added under his breath ‘It’s all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me, what do they teach them at these schools!’ the older ones laughed. It was so exactly like the sort of thing they had heard him say long ago in that other world where his beard was grey instead of golden. He knew why they were laughing and joined in the laugh himself. But very quickly they all became grave again: for, as you know, there is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes. . . .

It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried:

‘I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!'” (C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle).

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