Narnian Secrets: Book 3: The Horse and His Boy

Example 1 — A talking horse who hides his talking ability from men.

“All these years I have been a slave to humans, hiding my true nature and pretending to be dumb
and witless like their horses.”

“Why didn’t you tell them who you were?”

“Not such a fool, that’s why.  If they’d once found out I could talk they would have made a show of me at fairs and guarded me more carefully than ever.  My last chance of escape would have been gone.”

Example 2 — A hidden valley:

<Chapter 5: Prince Corin>
“I know that desert well,”said the Raven.  “For I have flown above it far and wide in my younger days” (you may be sure that Shasta pricked up his ears at this point).  “And this is certain; that if the Tisroc goes by the great oasis he can never lead a great army across it into Archenland.  For though they could reach the oasis by the end of their first day’s march, yet the springs there would be too little for the thirst of all those soldiers and their beasts.  But there is another way.”
Shasta listened more attentively still.
“He that would find that way,” said the Raven, “must start from the Tombs of the Ancient Kings and ride northwest so that the double peak of Mount Pire is always straight ahead of him.  And so, in a day’s riding or a little more, he shall come to the head of a stony valley, which is so narrow that a man might be within a furlong of it a thousand times and never know that it was there.  And looking down this valley he will see neither grass nor water nor anything else good.  But if he rides on down it he will come to a river and can ride by the water all the way into Archenland.”

Example 3 — A way out of Tashbaan other than the city gates:

<Chapter 7: Aravis in Tashbaan>
When they had talked for a long time — and it was all the longer because Aravis found it hard to keep her friend to the point — at last Lasaraleen clapped her hands and said, “Oh, I have an idea.  There is oneway of getting out of the city without using the gates.  The Tisroc’s garden (may he live forever!) runs right down to the water and there is a little water-door.  Only for the palace people of course — but then you know dear” ( here she tittered a little) “we almost arepalace people.  I say, it is lucky for you that you came to me. The dear Tisroc (may he live forever!) is so kind.  We’re asked to the palace almost every day and it is like a second home.  I love all the dear princes and princesses and I positively adorePrince Rabadash.  I might run in and see any of the palace ladies at any hour of the day or night.  Why shouldn’t I slip in with you, after dark, and let you out by the water-door?  There are always a few punts and things tied up outside it.  And even if we were caught –“

Example 4 — A secret council

<Chapter 7: Aravis in Tashbaan>
First came the two slaves (deaf and dumb, as Aravis rightly guessed, and therefore used at the most secret councils) walking backwards and carrying the candles.  They took up their stand one at each end of the sofa.  This was a good thing, for of course it was now harder for anyone to see Aravis once a slave was in front of her and she was looking between his heels.  Then came an old man, very fat, wearing a curious pointed cap by which she immediately knew that he was the Tisroc…
… “How blessed is Calormen,”said the Vizier,  popping up his face again, “on whose ruler the gods have been pleased to bestow prudence and circumspection!  Yet as the irrefutable and sapient Tisroc has said it is very grievous to be constrained to keep our hands off such a dainty dish as Narnia.  Gifted was that poet who said–” but at this point Ahoshta noticed an impatient movement of the Prince’s toe and became suddenly silent.
“It is very grievous,” said the Tisroc in his deep, quiet voice. “Every morning the sun is darkened in my eyes, and every night my sleep is the less refreshing, because I remember that Narnia is still free.”
“Oh my father,” said Rabadash.  “How if I show you a way by which you can stretch out your arm to take Narnia and yet draw it back unharmed if the attempt prove unfortunate?”
“If you can show me that, O Rabadash,” said the Tisroc, “you will be the best of sons.”
“Hear then, O father.  This very night and in this hour I will take but two hundred horse and ride across the desert.  And it shall seem to all men that you know nothing of my going.  On the second morning I shall be at the gates of King Lune’s castle of Anvard in Archenland.  They are at peace with us and unprepared and I shall take Anvard before they have bestirred themselves.  Then I will ride through the pass above Anvard and down through Narnia to Cair Paravel…And what then remains but to sit there till the Splendor Hyaline puts in, with Queen Susan on board, catch my strayed bird as she sets foot ashore, swing her into the saddle, and then ride, ride, ride back to Anvard?
…”Oh Vizier,” said the Tisroc, “is it certain that no living soul knows of this council we three have held here tonight?”
“O my master,” said Ahoshta,”it is not possible that any should know.  For that very reason I proposed, and you in your infallible wisdom agreed, that we should meet here in the Old Palace where no council is ever held and none of the household has any occasion to come.”
“It is well,” said the Tisroc.  “If any man knew, I would see to it that he died before an hour had passed.  And do you also, O prudent Vizier, forget it.  I sponge away from my own heart and from yours all knowledge of the Prince’s plans. He is gone without my knowledge or my consent…



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