Man, I forgot how brilliant this book is.

“Excuse me – I don’t want to be inquisitive – but should I be right in thinking that you are a Daughter of Eve?”

“My name’s Lucy,” said she, not quite understanding him.

“But you are – forgive me – you are what they call a girl?” said the Faun.

“Of course I’m a girl,” said Lucy.

“You are in fact Human?”

“Of course I’m human,” said Lucy, still a little puzzled.

I love how Lewis establishes right off the bat that humans are, at the very least, a minority in this world.  Then when Tumnus the Faun invites her to tea, Lucy notices the titles of some books in his cave which indicate that this is a world where the myths and legends of our world are very real (with more historical or scientific titles about Nymphs and Silenus), while humans are the “myths”.  The implication seems to be that Narnia is (or at least might be) the source of the alleged myths in “our world”.

Also, I just realized that there’s actually a reason why human girls are referred to as “Daughters of Eve” in Narnia (as opposed to “Daughter of Adam”): Because in this world, there are technically some non-human Daughters of Adam (I’ll point it out when we get there).

Anyhow, Mr. Tumnus regales Lucy with tales of Narnia in summertime, then he starts playing on some sort of reed flute:

And the tune he played made Lucy want to cry and laugh and dance and go to sleep all at the same time.  It must have been hours later when she shook herself and said:

“Oh, Mr. Tumnus – I’m so sorry to stop you, and I do love that tune – but really, I must go home.  I only meant to stay for a few minutes.”

“It’s no good now, you know,” said the Faun, laying down its flute and shaking its head very sorrowfully.

“No good?” said Lucy, jumping up and feeling rather frightened.  “What do you mean?  I’ve got to go home at once.  The others will be wondering what has happened to me.”

Tumnus breaks down sobbing at that, and admits that he’s been hired by the White Witch to kidnap any humans he might run into.  Somehow I missed the whole “taking service under the White Witch” thing (possibly due in part to the way they made it sound in the 2005 movie that anyone who finds a human is expected to hand them over).  It probably would have seemed a bit like being paid to keep an eye out for Leprechauns, though: You wouldn’t really think twice about a Leprechaun’s feelings when you’ve never met one before, and they’re such legendary figures that you’d never really imagine you’d run into one, anyway.  But of course, the point is that he’s being paid by the White Witch

At this point, we learn that the White Witch cursed Narnia so that it’s always winter and never Christmas (add in “no snow days” and you’ve got your bases covered for pretty much anyone’s worst nightmare).  Tumnus lists all the horrible things that the Witch might do to him if she finds out he’d let Lucy go, but of course he does the right thing in the end, helping her back to the lamp-post from which she can find her way back to the wardrobe.

“We must go as quietly as we can,” said Mr. Tumnus.  “The whole wood is full of her spies.  Even some of the trees are on her side.”

They part amiably at the lamp-post, and Lucy lets Tumnus keep the handkerchief she gave him when he was bawling earlier, and then she gets out through the wardrobe and runs off to find her siblings and let them know she’s alright.  End chapter.

Well, that chapter is actually way scarier to me as an adult than it ever was as a kid.  Don’t have tea with strangers, kids!

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