“Terrible and beautiful” by C.S. Lewis

“‘Who are you?’ asked Shasta. ‘Myself,’ said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again ‘Myself,’ loud and clear and gay: and then the third time ‘Myself,’ whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it.

Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.

The mist was turning from black to gray and from gray to white. This must have begun to happen some time ago, but while he had been talking to the Thing he had not been noticing anything else. Now, the whiteness around him became a shining whiteness; his eyes began to blink.

Somewhere ahead he could hear birds singing. He knew the night was over at last. He could see the mane and ears and head of his horse quite easily now. A golden light fell on them from the left. He thought it was the sun.

He turned and saw, pacing beside him, taller than the horse, a Lion. The horse did not seem to be afraid of it or else could not see it. It was from the Lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful.

Luckily Shasta had lived all his life too far south in Calormen to have heard the tales that were whispered in Tashbaan about a dreadful Narnian demon that appeared in the form of a lion.

And of course he knew none of the true stories about Aslan, the great Lion, the son of the Emperor-over-the-sea, the King above all High Kings in Narnia.

But after one glance at the Lion’s face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn’t say anything but then he didn’t want to say anything, and he knew he needn’t say anything. The High King above all kings stooped toward him.

Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the mane, was all round him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met.

Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared.

He was alone with the horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And there were birds singing.”

–C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy in The Chronicles of Narnia (New York: HarperCollins, 1954/1994), 281-282.

3 Comments

Filed under C.S. Lewis, Jesus Christ, Literature, Narnia, Quotable Quotes

3 responses to ““Terrible and beautiful” by C.S. Lewis

  1. This is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Quote of the Day: C.S. Lewis « weareliterarycritics

  3. Simply beautiful! Lewis is probably the best Christian writer who ever lived, with incredible understanding and insight into the religious issues of his day, and his Chronicles of Narnia series is outstanding fantasy. My favorite book of his is “The Pilgrim’s Regress.”

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