Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Triumph of the Witch (part 1)

As so the girls did what they would never have dared to do without his permission but what they had longed to do ever since they first saw him - buried their cold hands in the beautiful sea of fur and stroked it and , so doing, walked with him.
A great crowd of people were standing all around the stone Table and though the moon was shinning many of them carried torches which burned with evil-looking red flames and black smoke. But such people! Ogres with monstrous teeth, and wolves, and bull-headed men; spirits of evil trees and poisonous plant; and other creatures whom I won't describe because if I did the grown-ups would probably not let you read this book - Cruels and hags and Incubuses, Wraiths, Horrors, Efreets, Sprites, Orknies, Wooses, and Ettins. In fact here were all those who were on the Witch's side. . . And right in the middle, standing by the Table, was the witch herself.
A howl and a gibber of dismay went up from the creatures when they first saw the great Lion pacing towards them, and for a moment the Witch herself seemed to be struck with fear. Then she recovered herself and gave a wild, fierce laugh.
"The fool!" she cried. "The fool has come. Bind him fast."
Lucy and Susan held their breaths waiting for Aslan's roar and his spring upon his enemies. But it never came. Four hags, grinning and leering, yet also (at first) hanging back and half afraid of what they had to do, had approached him. "Bind him, I saw!" repeated the White Witch. The hags made a dart at him and shrieked with triumph when they found that he made no resistance at all. Then others - evil dwarfs and apes - rushed in to help them and between them they rolled the huge Lion round his back and tied all his four paws together, shouting and cheering as if they had done something brave, though, had the Lion chosen, one of those paws could have been the death of all of them. But he made no noise, even when the enemies, straining and tugging, pulled the cords so tight that they cut into his flesh. Then they began to drag him towards the Stone Table.
"Stop!" said the Witch. "Let him first be shaved."
. . . Snip-snip-snip went the shears and masses of curling gold began to fall to the ground. Then the ogre stood back and the children, watching from their hiding-place, could see the face of Aslan looking all small and different without its mane. The enemies also saw the difference. "Why, he's only a great cat after all!" cried one.
"Is that what we were afraid of?" said another.
. . . "Muzzle him!" said the witch. And even now, as they worked about his face putting on the muzzle, one bite from his jaws would have cost two or three of them their hands. But he never moved. And this seemed to enrage all that rabble. Every one was at him now.
. . . At last the rabble had had enough of this. They began to drag the bound and muzzled Lion to the Stone Table, some pulling and some pushing. He was so huge that even when they got him there it took all their efforts to hoist him onto the surface of it.
. . . When once Aslan had been tied (and tied so that he was really a mass of cords) on the flat stone, a hush fell on the crowd.
. . . Then she began to whet her knife. Then just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice,
"And now, who has won?"
. . . The children did not see the actual moment of the killing. They couldn't bear to look and had covered their eyes.

-C.S. Lewis, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, pg. 147-152-

No comments: