Read an Excerpt
The Last Battle
What Happened That Night
The King was so dizzy from being knocked down that he hardly knew what was happening until the Calormenes untied his wrists and put his arms straight down by his sides and set him with his back against an ash tree. Then they bound ropes round his ankles and his knees and his waist and his chest and left him there. What worried him worst at the moment -- for it is often little things that are hardest to stand -- was that his lip was bleeding where they had hit him and he couldn't wipe the little trickle of blood away although it tickled him.
From where he was he could still see the little Stable on the top of the hill and the Ape sitting in front of it. He could just hear the Ape's voice still going on and, every now and then, some answer from the crowd, but he could not make out the words.
"I wonder what they've done to Jewel," thought the King.
Presently the crowd of Beasts broke up and began going away in different directions. Some passed close to Tirian. They looked at him as if they were both frightened and sorry to see him tied up but none of them spoke. Soon they had all gone and there was silence in the wood. Then hours and hours went past and Tirian became first very thirsty and then very hungry; and as the afternoon dragged on and turned into evening, he became cold too. His back was very sore. The sun went down and it began to be twilight.
When it was almost dark Tirian heard a light pitter-patter of feet and saw some small creatures coming towards him. The three on the left were Mice, and there was a Rabbit in the middle: on the right were two Moles. Both these werecarrying little bags on their backs which gave them a curious look in the dark so that at first he wondered what kind of beasts they were. Then, in a moment, they were all standing up on their hind legs, laying their cool paws on his knees and giving his knees snuffly animal kisses. (They could reach hisknees because Narnian Talking Beasts of that sort are bigger than the dumb beasts of the same kind in England.)
"Lord King! Dear Lord King," said their shrill voices, "we are so sorry for you. We daren't untie you because Aslan might be angry with us. But we've brought you your supper."
At once the first Mouse climbed nimbly up till he was perched on the rope that bound Tirian's chest and was wrinkling his blunt nose just in front of Tirian's face. Then the second Mouse climbed up and hung on just below the first Mouse. The other beasts stood on the ground and began handing things up.
"Drink, Sire, and then you'll find you are able to eat," said the topmost Mouse, and Tirian found that a little wooden cup was being held to his lips. It was only the size of an egg cup so that he had hardly tasted the wine in it before it was empty. But then the Mouse passed it down and the others refilled it and it was passed up again and Tirian emptied it a second time. In this way they went on till he had quite a good drink, which was all the better for coming in little doses, for that is more thirst-quenching than one long draught.
"Here is cheese, Sire," said the first Mouse, "but not very much, for fear it would make you too thirsty." And after the cheese they fed him with oatcakes and fresh butter, and then with some more wine.
"Now hand up the water," said the first Mouse, "and I'll wash the King's face. There is blood onit."
Then Tirian felt something like a tiny sponge dabbing his face, and it was most refreshing.
"Little friends," said Tirian, "how can I thank you for all this?"
"You needn't, you needn't," said the little voices. "What else could we do? We don't want any other King. We're your people. If it was only the Ape and the Calormenes who were against you we would have fought till we were cut into pieces before we'd have let them tie you up. We would, we would indeed. But we can't go against Aslan."
"Do you think it really is Aslan?" asked the King.
"Oh yes, yes," said the Rabbit. "He came out of the Stable last night. We all saw him."
"What was he like?" said the King.
"Like a terrible, great Lion, to be sure," said one of the Mice.
"And you think it is really Aslan who is killing the Wood Nymphs and making you all slaves to the King of Calormen?"
"Ah, that's bad, isn't it?" said the second Mouse. "It would have been better if we'd died before all this began. But there's no doubt about it. Everyone says it is Aslan's orders. And we've seen him. We didn't think Aslan would be like that. Why, we -- we wanted him to come back to Narnia."
"He seems to have come back very angry this time," said the first Mouse. "We must all have done something dreadfully wrong without knowing it. He must be punishing us for something. But I do think we might be told what it was!"
"I suppose what we're doing now may be wrong," said the Rabbit.
"I don't care if it is," said one of the Moles. "I'd do it again."
But the others said, "Oh hush," and "Do be careful," and then they all said, "We're sorry, dear King, but we must go back now. It would never do for us to be caught here."
"Leave me at once, dear Beasts," said Tirian. "I would not for all Narnia bring any of you into danger." The Last Battle
. Copyright © by C. Lewis. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.