Sunday, July 15, 2012
Susan is Free, So are the Policemen
"Take us down!" The two policemen were struggling to get loose of the branches, but these were locked tight around them.
"I cannot," said Susan.
"We will not be trying to take you to asylum if you only take us down!"
"Nice, but as said I cannot. Seems the trees had a will of their own."
And on they went for hours and hours, sometimes stopping silent because their throats were dry. Most of the time Susan ignored them. She was freezing.
In the morning dawn was beginning to rise in the east. First it was slightly grey, then a bit of rose, soon it was even red. Then rose the sun. She looked over there, then on the road under the hill, and for a moment it looked like a lion, like Aslan had looked in Narnia. "Aslan!" she smiled. Inside her heart she heard him say "In this world I have another name." Then round the corner came walking a priest in cassock. "He's carrying the sacrament, he's carrying you my Lord!" she said. Which was true. He had spent the last hours with a dying parishioner. And he carried the sacrament in his cassock.
The priest was rather old, and walking slowly, but when he arrived he looked up and asked: "what is this?"
"The trees took us up in the branches and won't let us down!" bellowed the policeman.
"Can't have that." The priest started out for an exorcism, but he did not have to, as soon as he had said "In nomine + Patris et + Filii et + Spiritus Sancti" the trees obeyed his will and gently put the policemen down. He continued with a shorter exorcism, and the branches waved slightly in the wind as if the beech trees were enjoying it.
"And what were you up to when they did so?"
They pointed at Susan who was kneeling before the priest and awaiting a blessing. "We were taking this lady to asylum."
"Seems she is mad."
"Yes, believes in walking trees and things like that ..."
"And if you get her and tell them you had to wait a few hours because you were caught in trees?"
The two policemen looked at each other. They decided the less they said about this story the better. They did not look as if they were eager to take another try on Susan.
The priest looked at Susan who was waiting to kiss his hand a get a blessing. He blessed her. Then she said to the policemen: "she does not seem mad to me. You may have got the instructions wrong or the instructions may have been wrong to start with."
They went off. The priest asked Susan to accompany him to the Church in Warwick. It was called St Mary Immaculate.
"Now, you may wonder why I took that elfish thing so lightly, but ... you see, I had a parishioner who was suspect of believing he was reincarnated from someone else. He abjured that of course, but he gave a few indications that if that was not the case, he and his father had been doing some time travel. I cannot make out if their final destination was Nod East of Eden or if Atlantis had a separate and smaller flood, but ... he's honest and it seems a certain Lowdham gave independent evidence about the story."
"Time travel back to the flood or Atlantis? Sounds a bit exotic?"
"It seems you had some similar experience?"
"Not quite time travel, but in a way, yes. I came twice to another world, whatever its ontological status, whether it was another creation of God or a kind of vision. For me it was a year between the visits, but for people there it was a thousand years or more."
"I think you will enjoy the company of Mr. Errol."
They went on. As Susan and the priest walked by the Avon in the Mill Garden, three maidens rose up from it, very watery in appearance. As Susan had lived very long in Narnia, she knew they were Naiads. And they started clapping their hands, it sounded like when dolphins clap their forefins.
For a moment she wondered if they were honouring her as Queen of Naiads and "Narnian creatures" even here, but then she remembred she was walking by a priest and that he was keeping the Blessed Sacrament which he had been giving to a dying person the night before.
She bowed down before the priest and asked him "do you think the River Maidens want a Sacramental blessing too?"
And the priest took forth the little tin box in which he carried the Creator of Heaven and Earth, who took Manhood through the Virgin and who conquered Death on the Cross, and he lifted it high up to start a cruciform blessing.
And Susan bent down on her knees, and the Naiads bent themselves down to the waist before the priest or rather before God whom he was holding, and the priest made the sign of the cross over them, and the Naiads signed themselves, and then clapped hands again, and then dove down.
And he made another blessing over Susan as well. She also signed herself.
And I suppose certain readers would like to know whether the Naiads signed themselves from the left to the right or from the right to the left, but Susan did not tell.