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Anecdotes

Upon finishing The Magician's Nephew, my 6-year-old daughter asked me if Mr. Lewis was still alive. I told her no and she replied with great disappointment, "I'm sad to hear that because I hoped that I could shake the hand of the man who wrote this book."


This is a thank you for the quote of the day for Into the Wardrobe for Friday Feb 13 [1998]. It is very timely for me today.

If you think that coincidences are sometimes meaningful, read on.

I am one of the people on the MereLewis list. Recently in discussion some people had mentioned the end paragraphs of the last battle. I hadn't read this in a while, so I looked them up, and these paragraphs were fresh in my mind.

Now to give you a little background. A friend of mine, Tom, has been fighting lung cancer since last May. He is the person who introduced me to the adult writings of CSL, so Lewis is significant in this relationship. I live 3,000 miles away, but I have been in close touch, by a visit, phone calls and email. Two other friends and I have been supporting him through his battle with cancer. Unfortunately, on Monday morning he died. Not long after that I emailed my two other friends who have also been supporting him. I included the last battle quote in the email, because it seemed very appropriate for Tom. Words of hope and reassurance. And he loved books, to put it in terms of a book seemed very appropriate for him.

Today was the funeral. I was not able to travel back and go, but my friends went, and we arranged to meet online, in a private chat room to talk, after the funeral.

I usually arrive at places early, even at chat rooms it seems, so while I was waiting for them, I hopped over to into the wardrobe (which I usually check everyday for the daily quote, if nothing else). Although it is still Thursday for me, because the quotes change at Greenwich time, the quote for Friday was there. As you know, that quote was the tail end of the last battle, the exact same quote that I had sent to my friends. And of course one which gives hope and reassurance.

I suspect you might have used that quote now because it was mentioned in merelewis recently, but for it to appear on that particular day, for me to read it at that particular time (waiting to talk to friends who had been at the funeral that day) seems like more than coincidence to me. Maybe I am reading way too much into it. But for me, those words coming at that time are great reassurance, and tell me what I felt already, that my friend is now at the beginning of the real story. It was like a message, all is well with Tom.

If you have perservered this far in reading this, I would just like to say thank you. If Into the Wardrobe has accomplished nothing else (and I think it does a lot), having that website has been worthwhile, just for the reassurance it has given me today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sincerely,

Irene

Please note that the quotes are generated randomly, thus making this quite a coincidence indeed. The quote in reference is from the last two paragraphs of the The Last Battle, beginning with "The term is over..."


I have many friends scatttered across the globe, and when I married in middle age, I faced the daunting task of describing the bridegroom succinctly for crowds of distant friends eager to know what manner of creature I had wed. After a bit of thought, I announced, "I married a Marshwiggle" This well describes my husband, a retired British Ambassador: canny, cautious, resourceful, brave, and somewhat pessimistic about the world in general. Those friends unacquainted with the Narnia Chronicles soon were; and my spouse, after reading "The Silver Chair" was, upon sober reflection, pleased to be compared with Puddleglum, and went so far to say that Marshwiggles were a common Foreign Office type.


Hi. My name is Jenny and I'm 11 years old. I'm a real fan of the Narnia books. (I just wish there were more!) You are probably the best author I know. In fact, I'm telling my friends and mom to read your books. You write so well that I feel like Aslan is a friend of mine. (I wish!) How do you get ideas for such good things to write about? I liked your book so much that I read the entire series of Narnia in about two and a half weeks. One thing I especailly like about your books is that they always end so happy. A lot of the books that I read now aren't like that. I really dislike books that end really sad. Fortunatly, that is not a problem with Narnia books. Another thing I like about your books is how much I LIKE the people and places that I read about. As I said before, I feel like Aslan is my friend (He's not a tame lion) and Narnia is, well, a place I visit when I read your books. I really have strong feelings about the people and places that I read about. For instance, I always have a big sense of hate for the bad people. Like Tisroc (may he live for NEVER) for example. Thanks a lot for reading my letter. It was really nice of you.

This was an email that I received from a girl who thought I was C. S. Lewis.


When I was about 12, my father began reading to us (5 children) the Narnia series, one chapter a night. That is among my most treasured memories of childhood. My parents were already fans of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS and the Space Trilogy (which I read later as an adult). I read the Chronicles to my husband before we were married and then to my kids. But the interesting thing is that my brothers and sisters and I wrote to C.S. Lewis to tell him our favorite parts AND HE WROTE BACK! This would have been in the early sixties. My mom still has the original letter, and each of us kids has a copy. I keep it with my important papers.


Dear Sir;

While perusing various and sordid things on the Web, I came across your site quite by accident. I remember my mother reading the Narnia stories to me when I was a small child. The stories lay in my subconscious for years and your site has reawakened not only a love for them, but in them a new found love for Jesus and God.

Tomorrow I will be going to prison for an unknown amount of time, so I can only feel that the timing is an act of God. His love for me will keep me strong in this tribulation that only yesterday I was blaming on Him, but now realize that the blame lies wholly on me. Tonight I will reread The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and tomorrow I will be a better person for it.

If this all sounds confusing to you, it is to me also. But I wanted to thank you personally for reintroducing me to Aslan.


I found a love for the Narnia series while teaching many years ago in a Christian school in Rockford, IL. I would read them through to help lower my stress level. My record is completly through the series the week of my wedding. This past fall I started reading them to my daughter of 5 years old. She has loved the Vidieo of the Lion the witch and the wardrobe. Now she has found a whole new world of listening to the story and seeing it in her mind. We are now each night following the travels of the dawn treader and each chapter becomes a special memory for myself as well as for my daughter. These are memories that will last a lifetime.


This past fall, I chose a dramatized version of THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE as the spring play for my 7th and 8th grade drama students. While I was in the decision making process concerning this, I was also dealing with my mother's increasingly failing health. My mother died on Dec. 3, 1998. On the day after her funeral I was at a bookstore browsing the Religion and Spirituality section (actually looking for Madeleine L'Engle books) when it occurred to me that I should prepare to direct the play by reading some of Lewis's adult books on spirituality. But before zipping down the bookshelf to the Lewis section I noticed a small book lying, improperly, across the tops of some L'Engle books. Thinking that it might be a new L'Engle book, I picked it up - and was surprised - shocked! - blown away! to find that it was a book of Lewis's writings on grief. Whoa! Coincidence? I don't know...but I bought the book.


When I was a child, my favorite place to visit was the rambling old house in Maine owned by my great-aunt and uncle. It had front and back stairs and room after room on the second floor which opened into each other instead of to a hallway. My sisters and I would leave the adults chatting in one of the sitting rooms while we explored - including the closets. I remember how my heart pounded as I ventured into a dark closet. I must have pushed past three rows of coats and the closet kept going! Oh, if it only led somewhere! My groping fingers found the ceiling sloping down but the closet still led on under the eaves until it came to the inevitable end. But oh how I wished that someday it would never stop and I could be in Narnia. I'm afraid I've never stepped into an actual wardrobe but those closets in that old house seemed a passageway to Narnia! All my life I have felt something in me responding to beauty - my native Berkshire hills, the longing call of wild geese flying overhead in the fall, a quiet meadow with an old, broken-down stone wall, a sunken garden with overgrown bushes -- so many things that prompt a recognition inside me. It reminds me of something wonderful that I felt long ago, but I'm never sure when or where. A book or a poem or a piece of music, even a picture, can prompt these feelings. I never understood what I was feeling until I read C.S. Lewis describing the longing of the main character in "Pilgrim's Regress". Later I read how he felt that God put this longing in us and that we would always be searching for something to fulfill our desire, but we would never find it except in God Himself. Although I'd grown up in a Bible-preaching church, I'd never heard someone express this thought before or so perfectly describe what I had felt for so long. Now that I think about it, other writers have described longing after God. The Bible itself says, "As the deer panteth after the waterbrooks so pants my soul after Thee." But somehow I never connected how I felt with that until Lewis. Now when a beautiful day, a clear blue sky, and a gentle breeze seem to bring me haunting memories of a beautiful place that I just can't quite recall, I know I am longing for Heaven. As magical a place as Narnia was, it cannot compare with the place God has prepared for us, but I am so glad that Lewis was able to create such a wonderful picture of it.


I remember when I was first given the Chronicles by my grandmother at the age of seven or eight. For the entire week that I was at her house I did nothing but hole myself up in one of her spare rooms and read. After finishing the Silver Chair, I would do what Eustace and Jill had done at the beginning of the book, hoping that somehow Aslan would call me too. Every time I opened my closet (since I had no wardrobe) I prayed that golden sunlight would meet me. And then I read the Last Battle and cried thinking that I would never be able to go to Narnia. Of course, when I grew older and returned to the books I understood their deeper meaning, and with an almost childlike glee, I realized that one day I would indeed go to Narnia.


I've been a fan of CS Lewis for many, many years. My parents read everything of his they could and I was raised with the Chronicles. When times are hard for me, like when my brother and father died, I reread the entire series in a few days. I escaped to Narnia because this world was too difficult to bear. I saw the original map of Narnia at Oxford several years ago and it was a real thrill! Narnia forever!

When I was little my father began reading us The Narnia Chronicles. Right before bed, my brother and I would race to my parents room and listen to the story unfold. We were so disappointed when the last sentence in the last book was read that we began the series again the next day. I'm now 22, married, and I STILL check the backs of closets.


I raised my children on the "Narnia" series. The stories are not only wonderfully written, but have a lot to teach a child about life from a fanciful perspective! I have two girls, and they are very well rounded young women now. I would like to thank C. S. Lewis for giving this gift to them, and helping a mother not only entertain her children, but teach them strong values, and love.

This really isn't my story to tell, it's my friend's. However, it is I who am here now, so I will share. My friend was in a car accident, she wasn't hurt just very shook up. She, who had thought she was an atheist, began having doubts about atheism and exploring spirituality as if it might be legitimate. Of course I wanted her to know the unadulterated truth, not just the wisdom of some other religion. So after talking to her for a while I decided to get her 'Mere Christianity.' I felt this was more productive than getting her a bible as the bible, as C.S. notes somewhere, is a book for those who have been converted, and those people had been converted by the truth of the resurrectrion. I got her 'Mere Christianity' because she's always had great common sense and I knew she could be reached logically, now that she had ears to hear and eyes to see. She was moved and now believes. She wrote me something along the lines of, that it is so obvious, you either have to asccept it as the truth or shut the book and live in darkness. I hope this is as uplifting to you as it is to me.


I was first introduced to the Narnia series while I tagged along to my parent's friend's house. Looking for something to entertain me, they brought out a box of the hardcovers that had been their children's. By the end of the night I begged to take the box home and read and read and read, right through to the end in about a week. I was 13 or 14. Since then I have read the series upward of 30 times, with the exception of The Final Battle. I bawled through that book - what the Ape and Puzzle did to Aslan hurt me so much I honestly couldn't bear to read the book for years. I would pull out of my memory the beautiful ending, but couldn't bring myself to read it until I was in my twenties. It still hurts me to read it, and I still cry. Every reading there seems to be more to think about and I am entraced by the beauty of it, in a world where beauty and hope seem scarce. I have introduced so many people to the series and am delighted with the way it presents Christianity. I often think people would flock to Jesus if they identified him with Aslan instead of the rather harsh and scary version I hear of in church. Do any of you remember the young man that had served Tash and ended up in the true Narnia in the end? I think God is far more like that than we would dare to believe. Thank you, C.S. Lewis (in the true Narnia!), for this incredible gift.


If it weren't for C.S. Lewis, I don't know if I would be a Christian, now. I was raised by intellectuals - (I love them dearly but my Dad said Love is God and that the Bible is a mediocre piece of literature) and my priest was very liberal and eventually, I think, may have lost his faith. At about 12 or 13, I found The Horse and His Boy in the church library and then, looking for more of the same, glommed onto The Screwtape Letters. I always loved God and wanted to believe, but I had been brought up to believe this was wishful thinking and gullible, uneducated, good enough for people who need that sort of thing. Suddenly, I found that there was a rational underpinning to the Faith and that I could fight back against the inner voice of scepticism. I devoured everything Lewis ever wrote. I distinctly remember calling my priest from college and telling him I finally understood that I was a sinner. He got quite upset and told me "It doesn't do to take Lewis too seriously." I'm afraid the dear man thought I was about to get a 'guilt complex'. In fact, I was thrilled. I could now relate to a part of the faith that had always eluded me.


Way back when I believed in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus (last week, I think), I read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with my father every night just before bedtime. Like most kids, I was intoxicated, charmed, excited and in love with Narnia instantly.

So it seemed completely normal for me to visit.

On a grey Sunday while my parents pulled weeds from the flower bed, I hopped off the couch, grabbed a bag of potato chips and slinked into my parent's room. In the corner, still gleaming from its recent polish, stood a rosewood wardrobe my father had bought my mother for their anniversary.

It was perfect, just like the one in the book. Stuffing my chips into my pocket with one hand, I opened the creaky wooden door with my other. A wall of coats stared at me. I brushed their varied colors and textures with my tiny hand and pushed apart two in the center, forming an inviting gap.

I stepped up and into the wardrobe (which was very deep), closing my eyes, wishing harder than I had ever wished before all the birthday candles and shooting stars in my life.

I raised my arms in front of me and, to my suprise, my hands touched nothing! Oh my gosh, I thought, is this really happening?

I stepped forward. Still nothing!

Then, all at once, with the force of a hurricane, i felt my back break and my face slam against a wooden wall!

My brother (who was too evil to mention until now) had been watching me the entire time. Just when my hopes were highest, he decided to shove me into the wardrobe and lock it, laughing deep and evil as only big brothers can.

He shattered Narnia for me, but I read faithfully on. I finsished the entire collection in two weeks and drew crayon portraits of all the characters. To this day, though, when I feel certain that I'm alone, I open the doors to closets and extend my arms searchingly, hoping that perhaps, just perhaps, I may get lucky. It would be worth the humilation.


My young adult daughter, to whom I read the Narnia series, and who read them herself many times, complained to me about her roommate who has been taking advantage of her. My daughter is finding it very difficult to make a stand. I gave her several suggestions to help her in this situation, since she keeps bringing it up. Finally I realized that my advice was not needed. She knows what to do, she just needs the courage to get on with it. In response to her statement, "I'm about ready to blow," I mentioned a scene in 'The Last Battle' where Eustace flies into a rage over the treachery of the dwarves. I reminded her of Prince Caspain's advice, where he tells Eustace not to scold like a kitchen-girl. "Courteous words or else hard knocks are his [a warrior's] only language." She laughed, and I knew she understood. In her case the hard knocks will be setting the limits firmly and politely and daring to defend her position. I'll let you know if my more indirect approach helped her to make a stand with dignity!


It had been a rough passage up the coast and the Merriemaid seemed as grateful as were the crew, when we pulled into the long fiord of Nara Inlet on Hook Island in the Whitsunday Island group off far Northern Queensland. We dropped all the sails and motored up the three mile long fiord, just as the hot tropical sun sank behind the mountains surrounding the inlet, and night dropped over us like a magician's cloak. We lit the masthead anchoring light, and set the anchor in the good solid holding of the bottom in about five metres of water. Then tired, wet and exhilerated after our fast and furious upwind sail from Goldsmith Island. We all sat down in the saloon to relax. My crew on this occasion were all young people from various countries, and someone said "Skipper, read us a story". I primed my glass of lemon juice and picked up "The Magician's Nephew", intending to read a couple of chapters before turning in for the night. A couple of hours later, we came to the end of the book, and nobody said a word. The peaceful silence of a still night in the Coral Sea fell over the boat. Finally Lynne (an English crewgirl) just sighed. Six days later, I was, for the first time in my life, glad that Jack [C. S. Lewis] had only written seven Narnia books, if he had kept the series going, I might still be out there, my crew insisting on a new book each night. That was a good cruise. - Douglas Gresham, Lewis' step-son


I was 26 when I found myself surrounded by Christians, insidiously working their way into my thoughts with their strange ideas about surrender and humility. And then I discovered "Mere Christianity" and became unhinged forever. Here at last was a logical, intellectual, but simple criticism of the many different thoughts I had supposed I believed about God and Nature and Man's purpose and all that. But Jack Lewis made me THINK. And, ultimately, he made me a Christian, for which I am forever grateful. I have his tape of "The Four Loves" and listen to his baritone resonating in my car on a regular basis, which helps the man come alive for me. But his writing alone is good enough for that. True intellectualism lies in simplifying that which seems complicated, but isn't. Lewis was the ultimate simplifier. I love him for what he has given me, and I look forward to seeing him whenever it's time. He is the most amazing man I have ever encountered.


My father was a pastor, and I was a bookworm, so at the age of 8 he bought me my very first set of the Chronicles of Narnia. I devoured them!! I have always been a fast reader and I was through them in under 2 weeks. It was for me the ultimate fantasy, a world that was everything I ever dreamed of. The best part was the very real Aslan. I have always been jealous of the Narnians, they get him in the flesh and we don't. I wanted to dig my hands into his mane and feel the warmth of his breath on my face. I have read those books again and again for the last 20 years. Now I am reading them to my children. I mention them to everyone I know at some point or another. I have seen all the movies and cartoons, but my imagination is far better. I look forward to seeing the 'real' Narnia someday!!


This is my fourth year of teaching fourth grade at North End Elementary school in St. Paul, MN. It is here that the wonders of C.S. Lewis and his writings have changed my classroom. Each year I read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe to my students as they read along. With the help of my best friend, Aslan, It starts the year out on a powerful note. I think that I have more fun than they do!!!

After reading the first chapter, I show my students a picture of a castle I took while visiting France a few years back. I say that this is a picture of the Professor's house and the expressions on their faces are incredible! It is priceless to see their eyes light up and listen to them utter things such as "whooooa, cool..." or Dang, I wish I lived there...." as we read on I have them write letters to the Professor with any questions they may have about his house. The next day I have the janitor bring a giant box with a return address that says "Professor's house, England". In the box are an antique lamp, a table, a tea kettle, and a letter from the Professor saying that since we are reading such a great book it is only appropriate that we have his favorite lamp and table by which he reads and tells children stories, and of course we must have some tea! In the letter's post-script the Professor asks if he could visit our classroom some time. Of course the children go beserk with anxiousness to see the man with such an incredible home. I have my father visit as the "professor" and though some look skeptical you can almost hear their imaginations whirring. They ask him detailed questions about Narnia that truly reveal that they have given this place some thought.

I have collected many things to enhance the book's wonders. I have a red umbrella and brown paper parcels. I have a round package with a green silk ribbon and "turkish delight" (caramel works), a small copper vile, and an old curtain rod as the witch's wand, a shield and a sword and an arrow.

I suppose I could go on but it is 2:04 in the morning here! Anyway, great web site!


My husband and I are in our forties. I have read the Narnia books out loud to him and our children many times. A couple of years ago the two of us were hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a warm day in January, about 60 degrees. We were in a meadow. The sun shone through the bare branches of the willows and made a halo of light above a tunnel through the branches. As we stepped through the tunnel, I felt as though we were going into another world. We found ourselves in another meadow, but this one was deep with snow. There was a beaver dam nearby. When I saw a robin in an overhead branch, I said, "You know where we are, don't you?" He said "Where?" I said "Look, we came through a portal and found a snowy wood, and a beaver dam, and a robin..." and he said "Of course! We're in Narnia!" We still call that meadow the entrance to Narnia every time we go back.


Wow! What a treat! Like the many others whose letters decorate your website, I too began my C.S. Lewis experience with the Chronicles of Narnia. Shortly after my parents became Christians, my father decided to throw out our family television, so I was left with my own imagination and whatever books I could get my hands on. I quickly found that adventure and fantasy were the types of books I most readily took to. As a ten year old boy from a not-well-off family, my reading was limited to what I could find in the local library, around the house, or borrow from others. When our new assistant pastor and family came to our church, I was introduced to their family pets - Marshwiggle the cat, Reepicheep the gerbil, etc. Inquisitive as I was, I wondered where they came up with such interesting names. As you can probably guess, their answer to that one question has filled my imagination with one of the best series of books I have ever read. (and read, and read.....) I have since read other authors, particularly Christian fantasy authors, and am amazed at some of the "Lewis-isms" that I find in their writings. Guess they read about Narnia too, huh? It makes me believe that, although he is no longer putting pen to ink in THIS world, he continues to "write" through those he undoubtedly inspired. In our heart of hearts, each of us strives at times to escape. To find that wardrobe, have tea with the Beavers, meet a Marshwiggle or most of all, to feel that child-like security elbow-deep in Aslan's mane. Although I've seen a few of the productions of the different books, I have always been disappointed that they fall so short of my teenage imagination, and so I no longer watch them. I have, however, found that the Second Chapter of Acts CD can quite frequently and completely pick my spirirts up when I am down. I often find that I no longer pay attention to the busy events of the day when it is playing. Something stirs in me, and once again I am that ten-year-old boy who wishes for the endless wardrobe. As the CD starts, tears have often blurred the vision of one so hardened by the adult life he lives. And a familiar feeling pours through my soul as I hear those chords: "Are you going to Narnia? Take me along with you. To meet the lamb who is a lion. I want to learn to love Him too.