Friday, July 23, 2010

"We all mean the same thing"

Anticipating the new film of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader I was discussing the book with a friend of mine a little over a week ago and discovered that I had misremembered quite a few details so I decided to re-read the book. When I finished, I proceeded to read the rest in the series [I belong to the "in the order written" school]. I had just begun reading the third chapter of The Last Battle when I came upon this passage:
"Please, please," said the high voice of a woolly lamb, who was so young that everyone was surprised he dared to speak at all.

"What is it now?" said the Ape. "Be quick."

"Please," said the Lamb, "I can't understand. What have we to do with the Calormenes? We belong to Aslan. They belong to Tash. They have a god called Tash. They say he has four arms and the head of a vulture. They kill Men on his altar. I don't believe there's any such person as Tash. But if there was, how could Aslan be friends with him?"

All the animals cocked their heads sideways and all their bright eyes flashed toward the Ape. They knew it was the best question anyone had asked yet.

The Ape jumped up and spat at the Lamb.

"Baby!" he hissed. "Silly little bleater! Go home to your mother and drink milk. What do you understand of such things? But the others, listen. Tash is only another name for Aslan. All that old idea of us being right and the Calormenes wrong is silly. We know better now. The Calormenes use different words but we all mean the same thing. Tash and Aslan are only two different names for you know Who. That's why there can never be any quarrel between them. Get that into your heads, you stupid brutes. Tash is Asian: Asian is Tash."
The Chronicles of Narnia are pretty good at reminding us of ancient errors always present.

Addendum: A reader seemed to think I posted this because I agree with the Ape! Quite the reverse.