Lucy's Story - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
My parents often read to me as a child. The series that often sticks in my mind from those early years are the books by C.S. Lewis,The Chronicles of Narnia. I believe stories hold power. They have been for me a place of learning more about myself and the world around me. They are places of healing and places where courage is born. To share a story that has held such a powerful place in my history and life and pass it along to others was a reminder of the importance of sharing stories to our communities and children. To tell and retell stories that shape us and remind us that life is not always safe but so often very good.
This performance consisted of a 20minute version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe told from the perspective of Lucy.
I arranged the adaptation and performed it for Christ Presbyterian Church's Ladies Night Out (an evening for women of all ages and their girls).
Event: Ladies Night Out
Date: September 28th, 2012
Location: Christ Presbyterian Church, Beaver Falls, PA
This story begins a very long time ago. War had broken out in London were we lived, and I was sent along my with brothers Edmund and Peter and my sister Susan to stay with a professor, who was a friend of our families. He lived far away in the country in a very large house.
It was the sort of house that you never seem to come to the end of, and it was full of unexpected places. There were many spare bedrooms, rooms full of pictures, and some with suits of armor. But the room that changed it all, was a quiet, empty room except for one big wardrobe. I was very curious about this wardrobe all by itself and so one day I decided to look inside.
The door of the wardrobe opened easily and two moth-balls dropped out.
There were several coats hanging up-mostly long fur coast. The smell and feel was so wonderful so I climbed inside and rubbed my face against them, leavening the door open of course, because I knew it was very foolish to shut oneself into any wardrobe. The coats seemed to go on forever and I couldn’t find the back of the wardrobe. Then I noticed that there was something crunching under my feet. When I stooped to feel what it was I found it was something soft and powdery and extremely cold.
It was then that I realized that I was standing in the middle of a wood at nighttime with snow under my feet and snowflakes falling from the air. I could still see back into the room through the wardrobe. So I decided to walk toward a light I saw ahead of me. As I got closer I discovered that it was a lamppost in the middle of a forest. Suddenly I heard this pitter patter of feet coming towards me. And a very strange person stepped out from the trees. He was only a little taller than me and carried an umbrella over his head. From the waist upward he was like a man, but his legs were shaped like a goat’s and instead of feet he had goat’s hoofs. He also had a tail and a red woolen muffler round his neck and his skin was rather reddish too. He was carrying several brown-paper parcels. He was I soon learned a faun.
He was very surprised to see me as you might imagine and dropped all his parcels into the snow. As I helped him gather them up he told me his name was Mr. Tumnus and that he was from Narnia. I said, “Hello my name is Lucy and I’m from London.” He was very kind and invited me to have tea at his house. I didn’t want my siblings to worry about me being gone for so long, but he assured me that it would be a quick tea.
His home, was a little, clean cave made of reddish stone. The tea was wonderful. There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled, and sardines on toast, buttered toast, toast with honey and then sugar-topped cake. When we had finished Mr. Tumnus told me marvelous stories of the forest. The nymphs who lived in the wells and the dryads who lived in the trees and came out to dance with the fauns. And then he took out a little flute and began to play . But as he played Mr. Tumnus begun to cry.
Then he stopped playing and cried harder and kept saying over and over again that he was so very sorry. I handed him my handkerchief and asked him what was wrong. He wiped his eyes and explained that he had taken service with the White Witch. He said that the White Witch had taken over Narnia and made it so it was always winter and never Christmas. That she had ordered that if any person ever saw a Son of Adam or a Daughter of Eve in the wood to catch them and give them to her. But now that he had actually met a Daughter of Eve he knew that this was wrong and sorry that he had even thought of turning me in. He told me that he must get me back quickly before I was caught. So we quietly slipped out of his house and back to the lamppost. I said goodbye and made my way back through the wardrobe.
I rushed to find Edmund and Peter and Susan and tell that I was alright and why I had been gone for so long. After I told them my story they gave me strange looks and said that I hadn’t been gone for hours, for what I did not realize was that while hours had passed in Narnia no time at all had passed for them. I brought them to the wardrobe to show them but when they got inside they found a hardwood back instead of Narnia. There is nothing quite so awful as having people think you are a liar when you know very well that you aren’t.
A few weeks later there was a rainy day and we all decided to play hide and seek inside. When I was on my own I decided to check the wardrobe again, for I was beginning to wonder if I had really been to Narnia and met Mr. Tumnus or if it was all just in my imagination.
When I got inside the wardrobe and walked through I found that it again opened into Narnia. I hurried to Mr. Tumnus’ house to check to see if he was alright. He was safe and told me that the White Witch had not found out about my first visit. We had a lovely tea and then I left to walk back to the wardrobe only to discover Edmund. He had followed me without my knowing and landed up in Narnia as well. I was so delighted to see him and rushed to find Susan and Peter to tell them that Edmund too had been in Narnia.
But a very terrible thing happened. Edmund lied. He told Peter and Susan that he had only been pretending with me and that there really wasn’t a Narnia and that I was making it all up. I was heartbroken. I knew that I was right and no matter what they said I wasn’t going to let them tell me otherwise.
Weeks passed in this way. Until one afternoon. Now you must understand how this happened. The professor’s house often had tours, led by Mrs. Macready the housekeeper, who was not fond of children. We were told on no uncertain terms that we must not get in the way or be seen when she gave people tours of the house. On that particular afternoon no matter were we went she was right behind us until we found ourselves in the room with the wardrobe. And then we heard the handle on the door begin to turn and we knew that the only place to hide was the wardrobe so all four of us climbed inside.
While we were sitting inside the wardrobe Peter and Susan began to feel cold and wet. Only to discover that they were sitting in snow. And that I had been telling the truth the whole time. Narnia was real.
I begged them to let me take them to Mr. Tumnus’ and they agreed to follow me. When we arrived at the cave, it was dark and cold and the door had been wrenched off its hinges and broken to bits. Inside snow had drifted in and things had been flung about and stamped on. We found a piece of paper that said:
Mr. Tumnus had been arrested by the White Witch for harboring spies and fraternizing with Humans.
We were trying to decide what to do when we heard a sound, “psst”. And then again. “psst”. We looked toward the trees and saw a Beaver motioning us to join him. When we got closer he showed us the handkerchief that I had given Mr. Tumnus and said that Mr. Tumnus had given it to him and told him that he feared that the White Witch was coming for him. And then Mr. Beaver said, “They say Aslan is on the move-“ And as he said this we were filled with a feeling we had never had before. As if we had heard the most beautiful thing that you remember for the rest of your life. And we all wanted to know who this Aslan was that made us feel this way. Mr. Beaver assured us that he would tell us but we had to do it in the safety of his house.
He led us to his beaver dam where Mrs. Beaver had cooked a delicious meal. As we ate Mr. Beaver told us that the White Witch had taken Mr. Tumnus to her house and that they believed she had turned him into a statue. I was very upset at the news and asked if this Aslan they spoke of could help and was he someone that was safe and to be trust.
Mr. Beaver got a far away look in his eye and then said:
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have
Then he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye. "Aslan," he said, "is a lion – the great lion. Safe" – and then he laughed. "Safe. Course he isn’t safe. But he is good. He’s the king, I tell you."
"And there is more", he told us. "At Cair Paravel – the castle on the seacoast – there are four thrones and it’s a saying that when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve sit in those four thrones then it will be the end not only of the White Witches reign but of her life."
It suddenly became clear to us why the White Witch wanted us. And then we looked around and realized that Edmund was gone. We ran outside and called for him and searched for him with no luck. When we came back inside Mr. Beaver asked if Edmund had ever been in Narnia before. Yes, I told him, once before. "Ah, I thought he had that look about him," said the Mr. Beaver. "The look of someone who has eaten the White Witches food. It’s likely that he’s gone to find her and if he does he’ll lead her straight to us. We must leave now, he said. We have to reach Aslan before the White Witch finds the three of you."
We gathered our things quickly and began to walk through the snow and dark in search of Aslan. As morning came something wonderful began to happen the patches of snow grew smaller and the patches of green grew bigger and bigger. More and more of the trees took of their robes of snow. And we realized that spring had come.
We hugged each other and rejoiced that winter was ending, and that is when we saw Aslan. If you have ever felt something good and terrible all at the same time that is what we felt when we saw him. He had a golden mane and a great, royal, and solemn, overwhelming eyes. He spoke with a deep and rich voice.
We asked Aslan if he might help our brother Edmund. He told us that he would, but that it might be harder than we realized.
That night as we slept a rescue party was sent out for Edmund. In the morning we were able to see him and there was much hugging and apologizing.
But our rejoicing was stopped by the arrival of the White Witch and her followers in Aslan’s camp. She came towards Aslan and said, “Have you forgotten Aslan, the deep magic? The magic written on the Table of Stone. That says that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have the right to a kill.”
We feared that Edmund would be killed, but Aslan told us to be calm and he took the Witch aside to talk to her. When Aslan returned he told us that the matter of Edmund’s blood had been settled and Edmund was safe. But a great sadness seemed to come over Aslan as though he was carrying this heavy weight, but he would not tell us what it was.
Late that night Susan came to find me, for like me she had been unable to sleep as we both felt that something was wrong. We decided to look for Aslan. And when we found him, he was walking away from the camp into the woods. We pleaded with him to let us go with him and he finally said that we might go with him. He looked so ill. We asked him if he was sick. No he said, he was just sad and lonely and maybe if we put our hands on him as we walked he would feel a little better. In time we realized that we were walking to the great stone table. Just as we were to reach the stone table, Aslan stopped and told us to hide and make sure that weren’t seen and that he must go the rest of the way alone.
Then we saw them, Ogres, wolves, spirits of evil trees and poisonous plants. And the Witch herself was there.
They bound Aslan. Our dear beloved Aslan. They tied his four paws together shouting and cheering all the while. But he made no noise, even when they cut his flesh with the cords. And then they shaved off his beautiful mane and muzzled him. They kicked him, hit him, spit on him and jeered at him. They dragged him onto the stone and the White Witch drew near him and said, “understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved Edmunds. In that knowledge, despair and die.” And then they killed him.
When all the horrible creatures had left. Susan and I went to Aslan. That night we cried harder than we have ever cried before. And I felt more lonely and hopeless and horrid than I have ever felt before.
As morning came we walked a little ways away from Aslan’s body and tried to keep ourselves warm by walking back and forth. When we heard a great cracking noise as if a giant had broken a giant’s plate. We were frightened and fearful of what might have happened. We slowly turned towards the stone table and saw that it had been broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down from it end to end and Aslan was gone.
“What does it mean? Is it more magic?” we asked each other.
"Yes" – we heard a great voice say from behind us. And there was Aslan. He looked more glorious then ever.
“It means," said Aslan, "that thought the witch knew the deep magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. If she knew this deeper magic she would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward."
We laughed and ran and hugged Aslan so tightly and danced with a great sense of freedom and joy after such a horrible fearful night.
Aslan told us there was work to be done and he put us on his back and we journeyed to the White Witches’ House. As we walked through the house we saw statue after statue of those the Witch had turned to stone. And then Aslan began to breath on them. And slowly as if someone had put a lighted match to a bit of newspaper the statues began to come to life.
Dear Mr. Tumnus was there and we hugged. Aslan gathered all those he had freed and we headed to the Battle that was being fought between the white Witches followers and Aslans. When we arrived, Edmund and Peter and the rest of Aslan’s army were fighting desperately against a crowd of horrid creatures. The battle was soon over when Aslan arrived, he killed the witch and her followers disappeared quickly.
There was s great celebration and Aslan crowned us – King Peter, Queen Susan, King Edmund and Queen Lucy. While Narnia and all who lived there celebrated with us, Aslan quietly slipped away.
We served as Kings and Queens of Narnia for many wonderful years.
Then one day we were riding in the woods when we came across the lamppost. And found our way into the wardrobe again, quite by accident. As we walked into it we found ourselves back in our bodies as children. As if no time had passed.
And when we turned to try to go back we found that the door to Narnia had been shut for us. At least for a time. But you will have to come another day to hear of those adventures.