The Chronicles of Narnia is one of my favorite book series. The writing is so simple, yet so deep as C.S. Lewis conveys his worldview through these novels. The valuable quotes are many, and the books are well worth reading.
One quote in particular I enjoy comes from a marshwiggle who’s name is puddleglum. To give context, Marshwiggles have a serious view of life. “If it can go wrong, it will go wrong” is their worldview. Surprisingly though, they are not pessimistic about life in the grand context of purpose and meaning. This is because they have faith in Aslan, who parallels Christ in hundreds of different ways throughout the books.
In the book, The Silver Chair, a witch tells them quite convincingly through logic and potion that what they believe is false. Puddleglum responds to the witch in this way:
“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”
I think the truth of this quote resonates so clearly today. What does the world have to offer. Really? Temporary pleasure? Things which break down or go out of date? The American Dream?
All for what?
C.S. Lewis, through puddleglum, communicates a point in one minute which people have been struggling all their lives against or to understand. When we live for Christ, we have a purpose grounded not only in faith, but in sound thinking. Suppose all the things we hold to as truth have been made up? Like puddleglum says… Living and dying for such is small loss, as this world indeed has so little to offer.