My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result, you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still…
Your affectionate Godfather,
C.S. Lewis might have been the least likely candidate to write a classic children’s story. A famous British author, theologian, and intellectual, he was a confirmed bachelor for most of his life. It wasn’t until the 1950s he married and had a family. However, during WWII, he and his brother opened their country home to evacuated children from bombed out London. The children liked to play games and hear stories. By the late 1940s, he was penning tales of good versus evil. A story of “supposal,” he wondered what if a magical land and inhabitants needed redemption and a Savior as we did?
Narnia was born.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, opens with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie among those evacuated to the countryside. They lodge in the mysterious home of The Professor. One day, while exploring the house, Lucy climbs inside a large wardrobe. It transports her to another land. She meets Mr. Tumnus, a faun in a red scarf by a lamppost, and goes to his home for tea. Lucy learns she is now in Narnia, a land ruled by the White Witch, who uses her dark magic to keep Narnia cursed in winter. Mr. Tumnus confesses he planned to betray her to the White Witch because she is a human, a Daughter of Eve. He asks for forgiveness and helps her return to her world.
Surprised little time has passed in her world, Lucy tries to show her siblings the way to Narnia. Their unbelief is their stumbling block, and the wardrobe remains a wardrobe. Edmund later finds his way to Narnia and encounters the White Witch. Unable to detect her darkness, he promises to bring his family to Narnia to meet her. Edmund returned but denied Narnia’s existence. However, it wasn’t long before the four traveled to Narnia together. Lucy wishes to introduce her family to Mr. Tumnus. She’s shocked to find his home ransacked and him missing. They discover a notice from the White Witch, warning that whoever aids the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve will face punishment.
The Pevensies meet Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and take refuge in their den. Mr. Beaver tells them the truth of the White Witch, and how her icy grip continues to tighten upon the land of Narnia. But he believes Aslan will defeat her. Aslan, a lion and true King of Narnia, is on the move. He is coming to reclaim his throne and to free all Narnians. The Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve’s arrival are a fulfillment of prophecy.
Edmund’s temptations consume him and he goes to the White Witch. On his arrival at the castle, he finally sees her darkness. She kills, destroys, and turns her prisoners to stone. The White Witch is furious to hear Aslan is returning. In case you have never encountered Narnia before, I won’t spoil what happens next, but much like Aslan’s Deeper Magic, this story has a deeper meaning.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a children’s story of “supposal,” yes. But we cannot overlook the parallels of our world and Narnia’s, the fight of good versus evil, sins and redemption, Aslan’s ultimate sacrifice and Christ’s. As children, we may fall in love with the magic and fantasy of Narnia. When we get a little older, we might feel we are too old for fairytales. Then, years pass, and we are suddenly old enough to understand and appreciate these stories again. We realize some tales are more than fairy tales; they can breathe new life into us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Leigh has been published in several anthologies and her work has appeared on GoWorldTravel.com and the Artist Unleashed, and she has published a couple of fictional stories. She makes her home in Indiana with her family and her furbabies. To learn more about her, visit her blog.