31
Oct 04

A Final Fright

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A Final Fright

“In the shadow of the trees on the far side of the clearing something was moving. It was gliding very slowly Northward. At a first glance you might have mistaken it for smoke, for it was grey and you could see things through it. But the deathly smell was not the smell of smoke. Also, this thing kept its shape instead of billowing and curling as smoke would have done. It was roughly the shape of a man but it had the head of a bird: some bird of prey with a cruel, carved beak. It had four arms which it held high above its head, stretching them out Northward as if it wanted to snatch all Narnia in its grip; and its fingers – all twenty of them – were carved like its beak and had long, pointed, bird-like claws instead of nails. It floated on the grass instead of walking, and the grass seemed to wither beneath it.”

(Picture by Pauline Baynes, text by C S Lewis, from The Last Battle (1956). I first saw this picture at age 4 and on my many later re-readings I would generally pause and turn two pages over at once so as not to encounter it.)

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