by Scott Dodge
Flying on the back of Fledge (formerly known as Strawberry, the used up cab-pulling horse), on assignment from Aslan, over the newly-created land of Narnia, Digory said to Polly, “I wish we had someone to tell us what all those places are.” Polly responded, “I don’t suppose they’re anywhere yet.” She continued, “I mean, there’s no one there, and nothing happening. This world only began today.” To which Digory replied, “No, but people will get there… And then they’ll have histories, you know.” Speaking in what I can only imagine a bit sharply, Polly said, “Well, it’s a jolly good thing they haven’t now… Because nobody can be made to learn it. Battles and dates and all that rot.”
As with so much of his writing, C.S. Lewis here says a lot by writing very little. In this brief passage from the first of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician’s Nephew, Digory and Polly expound two very different ideas of education.
One arising from experience and the other from imagination, prompting me to call to mind Mark Twain’s timeless quip that he never let his schooling interfere with his education.
Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.
He writes at Καθολικός διάκονος, where this post was first published.