The rising of the sun had made everything look so different – all the colours and shadows were changed – that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.
“Oh, oh, oh!” cried the two girls rushing back to the Table.
“Oh, it’s too bad,” sobbed Lucy; “they might have left the body alone.”
“Whose done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“Yes!” said a great voice behind their backs. “It is more magic.” They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
“Oh, Aslan!” cried both children, staring up at him, almost as much frightened as they were glad.
“Aren’t you dead then, dear Aslan?” said Lucy.
“Not now,” said Aslan.
“You’re not a – not a -?” asked Susan in a shaky voice. She couldn’t bring herself to say the word ghost.
Aslan stooped his golden head and licked her forehead. The warmth of his breath and a rich sort of smell that seemed to hang about his hair came all over her.
“Do I look it?” he said.
“Oh, you’re real, you’re real! Oh, Aslan!” cried Lucy, and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.
“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have know that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards. And now – “
“Oh yes. Now?” said Lucy jumping up and clapping her hands.
“Oh, children,” said the Lion, “I feel my strength coming back to me. Oh, children, catch me if you can!” He stood for a second, his eyes very bright, his limbs quivering, lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a leap high over their heads and landed on the other side of the Table. Laughing, though she didn’t know why, Lucy scrambled over it to reach him. Aslan leaped again. A mad chase began. Round and round the hill-top he led them, now hopelessly out of their reach, now letting them almost catch his tail, now diving between them, now tossing them in the air with his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a romp as no one has ever had in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind. And the funny thing was then when all three finally lay together panting in the sun the girls no longer felt in the least tired or hungry or thirsty.
“And now,” said Aslan presently, “to business. I feel I am going to roar. You had better put your fingers in your ears.”
And they did. And Aslan stood up and when he opened his mouth to roar his face became so terrible that they did not dare look at it…
“We have a long journey to go. You must ride on me.”
Excerpted from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Macmillan Publishing, 1950, 131-134.
THANKS to C.S. Lewis for this Narnian window into the truth and joy of this day! I don’t know about you, but the romp and the excitement and the laughter and velveted paws and landing topsy turvy — these all seem SO fitting. I’d love such an Easter experience – and hope for one, one day! And I hope to see you there – with all of creation – in the celebrating, romping joy! Unending, including everyone and everything – amazing wondrous magical mysterious laughing rescued embraced love and delight! Blessed Easter, one and all!