Fairy Tales: Truth Veiled

Monday, July 16th, 2012 at 6:35 am

The young Caspian is the epitome of child-like faith.

Enthralled with the stories his nurse has told him, longing for days long since past, his faith finds voice when his uncle asks him what he might wish for that would be better than being King of Narnia.

“I wish–I wish–I wish I could have lived in the Old Days.”

The power-hungry Miraz, always alert to threats to his authority, is suddenly watchful, now slyly seeking information from his unsuspecting nephew.

Caspian, too young and too naive to recognize his uncle’s tone, blathers on about the wonders of the Narnia of yesteryear.

Finally, the usurper’s edict comes down. Those were mere fairy tales and Caspian was not to talk–nor even think about such things again.

Fairy tales.

Curious things these.

Lewis recognized their power, their ability to go beyond morals to convey truth.

While scheming parents (or modern ones, as we see in Caspian‘s sequel) quell the fairy tales in favor of cold, hard fact; Lewis gives fairy tales prime time.

To Lewis, fairy tales aren’t wishful thinking–they’re whispers of lost reality. They’re echoes in the heart that hearken to a word once spoken but now lost.

The young Lewis felt a thrill as he read Norse fairy tales. He felt the power of those stories, even when he did not understand it.

The adult Lewis came to believe that those stories were true. Not factually accurate, but true portrayals of reality. True tales of spiritual realms, of hearts’ longings, of epic bravery.

Is it surprising that the tales Miraz derides as “nonsense”, a “pack of lies”, and “silly stories” turn out to be true in fact?

Of course not.

For Lewis, fairy tales were the truth, veiled.

The childish wonder at a fairy tale is only one step away from fully mature faith.

Even if Caspian no longer believed those fairy tales to be true, he dreamt that they were. He longed for a reality beyond himself.

It was this longing that made Caspian into the man he became. It was this longing, rooted in his childhood faith, that made him the King he became.

Longing for the fairy tales, once he discovered that they were true, made him into a man worthy of tales.

Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge


This post is one part of my investigation of how different characters in Prince Caspian relate to the truth. I am reading Prince Caspian as part of Carrie’s Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge. Follow the link to see who else is participating in the challenge–and to read some of their posts.

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Reader Comments (3):

  1. Loved this fairy tale assessment. “Not factually accurate, but true portrayals of reality. True tales of spiritual realms, of hearts’ longings, of epic bravery.” Great summary!

  2. Barbara H. says:

    I love this assessment, too. Nonfiction has its place, but there is something about fairy tales that does touch one’s heart’s longings.

  3. “The childish wonder at a fairy tale is only one step away from fully mature faith.”

    I LOVE that!

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