Aslan confronts Digory with the evil he’s caused, while Uncle Andrew is left in the hands of the Narnians.
But the beasts could not understand [Uncle Andrew] any more than he could understand them. They didn’t hear any words: only a vague sizzling noise.
Then there’s a lengthy debate as to what kind of creature he is (mostly vacillating between Tree and Animal), in the midst of which we get this odd guess:
“I tell you what!” said the Donkey brightly, “perhaps it’s an animal that can’t talk but thinks it can.”
I actually think the Donkey’s right – Uncle Andrew certainly believes he can talk, but at the very least, he can’t communicate with the Narnians. Even if it’s “all in his head”, it still directs how he interacts with the world.
“Son of Adam,” said the Lion. “There is an evil Witch abroad in my new land of Narnia. Tell these good beasts how she came here.”
Poor Digory! Pinned with a question almost as bad as “Who told you that you were naked?”
“I think I was a bit enchanted by the writing under the bell.”
“Do you?” asked Aslan; still speaking very low and deep.
“No,” said Digory. “I see now I wasn’t. I was only pretending.”
A true Son of Adam, unfortunately – he had clearly tried to convince himself that it was all because of the enchantment, placing the blame on something else. And it’s heartbreaking to see him realize that this could ruin his chance of finding a cure for his mother.
Then Aslan turns to the Cabby.
“Son,” said Aslan to the Cabby, “I have known you long. Do you know me?”
“Well, no, sir” said the Cabby. “Leastways, not in an ordinary manner of speaking. Yet I feel somehow, if I may make so free, as ‘ow we’ve met before.”
“It is well,” said the Lion. “You know better than you think you know, and you shall live to know me better yet.”
Somehow, Aslan’s “long-distance” relationship with the Cabby makes me happy to think about Lucy and all the rest.
Aslan threw up his shaggy head, opened his mouth, and uttered a long, single note; not very loud, but full of power. Polly’s heart jumped in her body when she heard it. She felt sure that it was a call, and that anyone who heard that call would want to obey it and (what’s more) would be able to obey it, however many worlds or ages lay between. And so, though she was filled with wonder, she was not really astonished or shocked when all of a sudden a young woman, with a kind, honest face stepped out of nowhere and stood beside her. Polly knew at once that it was the Cabby’s wife, fetched out of our world not by any tiresome magic rings, but quickly, simply and sweetly as a bird flies to its nest.
Aslan makes the Cabby and his wife King and Queen of Narnia, showing how very different Aslan means to make this world from Charn. These are ordinary humans with nothing more to recommend them than honesty and hard work and humility. It’s rather comforting that even if Digory did bring danger into Narnia, that won’t be his entire legacy.
Until next time…