Aslan sets Narnia on the right path and reveals a few of his purposes.

But first, Uncle Andrew reappears:

[The Beasts] were really getting quite fond of their strange pet and hoped that Aslan would allow them to keep it. […] They christened him Brandy because he made that noise so often.

In an amusing twist of fate, “poor old Brandy” has become a pet to animals who are actually better pet owners than Uncle Andrew ever was – but of course he can’t stay there.  Interestingly, Polly is the one who speaks up on his behalf, asking Aslan to do something to help him and/or keep him out of trouble.  It actually makes a lot of sense that she would be the one to speak up instead of Digory; after all, she hasn’t been hurt nearly as badly by him as Digory was, and she didn’t know him that well to begin with, so all she sees is a terrified, miserable old man.

“He thinks great folly, child,” said Aslan. “This world is bursting with life for these few days because the song with which I called it into life still hangs in the air and rumbles in the ground. It will not be so for long. But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good! But I will give him the only gift he is still able to receive.”

He bowed his great head rather sadly, and breathed into the Magician’s terrified face. “Sleep,” he said. “Sleep and be separated for some few hours from the torments you have devised for yourself.”

Uncle Andrew suffers from what’s commonly known as a “hardened heart”; fortunately, it’s not a terminal condition – sometimes it only lasts for a season.  There’s still hope for that old sinner, in spite of himself.

Then Aslan starts explaining about the fruit and the Tree.

“Things always work according to their nature. She has won her heart’s desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.”

He also addresses something that I had actually been wondering after the last chapter: Why Digory? Why did a Son of Adam from a different world with no significant investment in Narnia have to plant the Tree? It turns out it’s because Digory really wanted something else. It was a totally selfless act, and what’s more, he toiled over the fruit in a way that no other person in Narnia could have. Aslan says that if a native Narnian had taken an apple to protect the land, it would only have worked by turning Narnia into a cruel empire like Charn.  And then Aslan displays generosity in his own turn, allowing Digory to take an apple from the new tree in Narnia.

Next time: The end of this story and the beginning of all the others…

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