Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Susan's dreams become a book

She dreamt of a place, she knew it was in Narnia. A waterfall. A pool where the water falling down bubbled as a boiling cauldron. Two friends, or rather a master and a slave, a monkey and a donkey. A lion skin floating down ... "NO!"

How horrible! She knew the ape was going to force the poor donkey to take the lion skin on and pretend to be Aslan. How horrible! She made a prayer for the poor donkey, then slept again.

And she dreamt of a King of Narnia imprisoned by the monkey, and all animals telling him they could not release him because "Aslan" - they meant the poor donkey in the stable dressed up as such in the lion skin - had ordered him to be shut up. He wanted Susan's horn - as Rilian had when she dreamt of him - and called out to Aslan.

I suppose you have already read The Last Battle - if not, you should do it. It was she who wrote down dream after dream, month after month. Not everything in neat order, the next dream was a actually "a good night's work" in the book, but she sorted the dreams into a readable order afterwards. She sent it to C. S. Lewis - or Jack as he was now known as to her. And she got a letter:

Dear Susan!

This means Narnia is ended. But what about you? You know, where the Seven Friends tell Tirian you are no longer a friend of Narnia? We see none meeting you in Aslan's country. Besides, that is not how I know you at all.

And a letter arrived in the Kilns:

Dear Jack!

I heard that reproach by Polly in a dream long ago, just after we met. And it pretty well describes my habits back then.

But if I am lost, I am lost, God's will be done. I am glad for those who were not. I would not want to put in an extra scene with me saved, that would be a bit like Shift's ruse.

4th of September 1956, she was not at Blackwell's waiting to see the sales. She was not buying the book, either, Jack had sent her a copy. As usual.

In the evening made a prayer about everyone being happy "but have you forgot me?"

A lion roared - it was Metro Goldwyn Meyer on the television set, which she had forgotten to turn off. She went to do it, and saw a Bible open.

"Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee."

She sobbed "thank you" and dried a tear as she turned the television set off. She never turned it on again, and next Christmas it found another owner. For her own part, she thought no news on it could ever equal that moment.

And she dreamt that night, but the dream is not in The Last Battle, because the book was already printed.

"What a shame! Queen Susan the Gentle no longer a friend of Narnia! Could one not ask Aslan for her?"

And the Seven friends started laughing! "We forgot we are well seated to be heard, now, how silly of us!"

"It would be evil not to ask that, since, if my family tradition speaks true, she was praying for my ancestor Rilian's escape. Where is Aslan, by the way?"

They started running again, and they found him resting with a bishop in his lap.

He nudged him and the bishop stood up.

"Bishop Stephen of Paris!"

"Yes, good Lord!"

"Tell them when you allowed me to create Narnia!"

"You needed no allowing, my Lord!"

"Have you forgotten the Deep Magic from the dawn of glory: whatever you bind on earth is bound for me, whatever you loosen on earth is loosened for me?"

"Excepting errors on particular persons on our part, no, I have not quite forgotten, my Lord."

"Thirty fourth proposition, please!"

"God could not create other worlds than this one."

Tirian and the Seven Friends marvelled at such stupidity!

"What did you do with it?"

"I condemned it!"

"Did you condemn anything more?"

"There were 219 propositions of such nonsense, my Lord, and I condemned every bit of it."

"Well done, son of Adam, well done successor of the Twelve! Once a bishop, always a bishop of my Church!"

"Barring treason, of course."

"Speaking of treason, Edmund ..."

"Yes my Lord!"

"Did anyone bettray you in England?"

"Yes, Susan said things to a psychiatrist, so we needed to die in the train to be saved from evil and hurtful slavery."

"Did she do more?"

"She denied what she had seen with her eyes and made us look like fools if ever we would have tried to talk to other people of Narnia."

"Have you forgiven her?"

"How could I not? It was she who asked you to make the sacrifice for me!"

"Do you wish me to forgive her?"

Nine mouths said "yes" in unison.

"I will send her a dream ..."

And they watched as she had been dreaming about Prince Rilian and King Rilian came along. And they watched as Lucy's boat "Mary" became a new Splendour Hyaline for Susan. "Oh I remember the Hail Mary's I prayed for Su after painting that boat's name."

"Mary, what a delightful name! Who is that?" asked Tirian.

"Son of Adam, can you believe I was a lion cub?"

"Not in Narnia. But maybe somewhere before?"

And they were suddenly watching a stable from the sky, a stable which was also a cave.

And then Aslan appeared as Child Jesus in the arms of His Blessed Mother. And then as the Lion again.

"The Telmarines who left Narnia in King Caspian's Coronation feast chose a very good thing to get back - if that is how you are known there."

"They did indeed."

1 comment:

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Chronicle of Susan Pevensie
Click link for getting to conspectus of extant chapters.