“…We believe it was far from here, down at the mouth of the Great River, on the very shore of the sea.”
“Ugh!” said Caspian with a shudder. “Do you mean in the Black Woods? Where all the– the–you know, the ghosts live?”
“Your Highness speaks as you have been taught,” said the Doctor. “But it is all lies. There are no ghosts there. That is a story invented by the Telmarines. Your Kings are in deadly fear of the sea because they can never quite forget that in all the stories Aslan comes from over the sea. They don’t want to go near it and they don’t want anyone else to go near it…And the Kings and great men, hating both the sea and the wood, partly believe these stories, and partly encourage them. They feel safer if no one in Narnia dares to go down to the coast and look out to sea–towards Aslan’s land and the morning and the eastern end of the world.”
~From C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian
Prince Caspian heard the truth about Old Narnia and believed it with simple childlike faith, dreaming of the days when all was right, when animals spoke, and Aslan ruled.
Others learned or knew the truth and were terrified.
The Kings of Telmar had plenty of reason to fear the talking animals of Narnia, the dryads and the naiads. They had plenty of reason to fear Aslan.
They were cruel and heartless kings, kings who ruled with injustice and demanded what was not theirs. Old Narnia would have no reason to be kind to them should Old Narnia awake.
Frightened of the implications Aslan’s return might have for their future and power, these kings blocked off every route to Aslan. Using nature and superstition and tradition, they turned the people’s eyes away from the Eastern sea.
They suppressed the truth, claiming that stories of Old Narnia were mere fairy tales, spun by old wives without sense.
They traded their fear of Aslan for a new fear–fear of the ghosts they’d invented, the ghosts they claimed inhabited the woods beside the sea.
The funny thing is that even those who knew perfectly well that the woods surrounding the Sea weren’t haunted, even those who invented the stories of the woods being haunted, found themselves enslaved in the lie of their own making.
They started to half believe it, this tale that they’ve created. They transferred their terror of Aslan into terror of the woods.
By trading fear of something truly powerful with fear of something that didn’t really exist, they thought that they could somehow become secure in their wickedness. So long as they avoided the woods, they could do whatever they wanted, right?
But the kings underestimated their own power.
Aslan exists, whether anyone believes in him or not.
Their actions are deplorable and will be judged, whether they acknowledge the judge or not.
For now, Aslan has given them over to their lies, to the tales they have created to justify their lives, to obscure the truth.
But the lies will not remain forever, the truth will triumph at last–and their foolish dark hearts will be destroyed in the lies they have embraced.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
This post is another 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.