An open letter to my daughter…
after reading The Horse & His Boy by C.S. Lewis
I can’t help but say this is my least favorite of Lewis’ Narnia series, so far. It’s a little predictable.
I mean, duh! Shasta looks like the Prince of Archenland, and turns out to be Cor, the long-lost twin of the Prince.
King Lune of Archenland: “Oh guess what, my son, kidnapped at birth, now YOU get to be trained to be king instead of your brother.” Twin brother Corin: “Yay! Now I don’t have to be king!” A little trite. A little too easy.
That said, this book was written by C.S. Lewis, which means there were some very rich nuggets of gold to be mined.
I thought it was hilarious when Lewis said Shasta and Aravis got married in order to make their continual fighting and making up more convenient. Likewise, when evil Prince Rabadash of Calormene got hung up on a hook by a chink in his armor in the heat of battle…Afterwards when Aslan turned him into a donkey as punishment…When Bree taught Shasta how to ride…When Shasta got to Narnia and told the first talking animal he saw that Prince Rabadan was coming to wage war on Narnia and steal Queen Susan away for his bride— that animal told another animal, who told another animal, who told another animal, until FINALLY the stag went off to tell Queen Lucy. They were a little complaisant. Lewis must have been thinking of the Western European nations and America during the rise of Hitler and World War II.
How about this funny line, when Aravis’ friend Lasarleen is threatening her servants: “And anyone I catch talking about this young lady will be first beaten to death and then burned alive and after that be kept on bread and water for six weeks.”
I loved seeing Edmund and Lucy fighting the war to save Susan, doing what was right (like not killing Prince Rabadash in cold blood), listening to wise counsel. Being leaders. I, of course, loved seeing Aslan the lion in all his wisdom and tenderhearted love and fearsome power.
But here’s the biggest nugget of gold I hope you took from reading this book: Aslan refused to tell anyone someone else’s story…he would only tell them their own. (Remember, when Cor could only wish he knew what happened to the lieutenant who saved his life as an infant…it wasn’t his story to know.)
Aslan, Jesus as we non-Narnians know Him, has written a story just for you to live, Leah.
You, like Shasta, are at the age where you are discovering the magnificent story (for I know yours is going to be particularly magnificent) of your own life. Shasta found out he was not the son of a Calormene fisherman, but he was Cor, a prince destined to become a king. I know your story will be just as jaw-dropping as you discover it.
You must find and live the story He wrote for you, as Shasta did. It must be between you and Aslan, and between the two of you alone. Remember what Lewis says when Bree proclaimed that he was too weak to go on without a snack, though Narnia was in imminent danger? “One of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you any more you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.” Don’t ever let fear or the world enslave you. You are Christ’s and His alone.
Remember, how Aslan used the recalcitrant non-Talking Horse to lead Shasta to the safety of Narnia, though Shasta had no idea how to get the horse to do anything? Remember how Aslan stayed between Shasta and the edge of the mountain, though the path was so dark Shasta didn’t even know he was close to falling down the mountain? As Lewis says, Aslan is “at the back” of every story, and he is at the back of yours, too! Don’t ever sell yourself short.
Trust the Author of your story!
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2
I am savoring every moment of watching Jesus work in your life, Leah.
I love you!