The Prophecy of the One Ring: Chapter 1 – Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe
Mrs. Macready brought them, and to listen to her one would have thought she had brought them up since infancy. In reality, she had picked them up at the train station in an old haying wagon and driven them the ten miles to the Professor’s house. She had complained the whole way about not being able to use the car because there was no gasoline or rubber for tires, thanks to the war, and about the dearth of belongings the Pevensies possessed, (they would be needing clothes and shoes and toys and extra allowance, no doubt), and about Edmund’s face being dirty, which was only because the road was dusty and he was sitting nearest one of the wheels.
When they arrived, evening was already settling in; a welcoming sight to the journey-tired children. They climbed off the wagon, stray pieces of hay sticking to their wrinkled clothes. They were barely presentable, and Susan was horrified that the master of the mansion, Professor Kirke, was waiting at the front door to greet them in their disheveled state.
He was a strange-looking fellow himself, with shaggy white hair that stuck out of his head in every direction, and was clad in a smoking robe – hardly the apparel of one who was receiving guests. He had a faraway look in his eyes, as if he were trying to recall something he had done or a place he had been long ago. (Peter later blamed the First World War, and reminded his siblings that Grandfather Pevensie had been like that.) Lucy was a little afraid of him, and Edmund wanted to laugh at the old man, but managed to smother his giggles in his handkerchief by pretending to blow his nose.
“Sir,” hissed Peter.
“Sir,” Edmund finished.
“Yes, yes, that’s good. Mrs. Macready will show you to your rooms. The maids will bring up your dinners. And Edmund, my boy, I hope you get over that nasty cold.”
Mrs. Macready led them up the stairs, intoning orders like a drill sergeant. “There will no runnin’, or shoutin’. NO TOUCHIN’ THE ARTIFACTS!” she shrilled as Susan extended her hand toward a statue. “Keep out of the way when I’m bringin’ a party through the house. And there is to be no disturbin’ of the Professor.”
The four children looked back down the stairs to where the old man was standing in front of the large fireplace. He acted very distant, as if he did not know where he was. The children resolved to never bother him.
On the next day, it was raining outside and the children were itching to do something other than sit around, listening to the wireless or reading Latin words that made no sense. At last, Peter stood up and snapped off the radio.
“If I hear ‘Oh Johnny’ one more time, I’ll go mad! Let’s explore the house.”
“Yes, let’s!” agreed Lucy, grabbing Edmund’s arm and trying to pull him off the floor.
Only Susan seemed unfavorable toward the idea, lest they break one of the housekeeper’s rules or run into the Professor; but she joined her siblings anyway. They went into many rooms, most of which contained nothing of interest. Some had old books stacked on floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcases, and some had paintings, and one had a suit of armor that Edmund knocked over.
“You idiot!” scolded Peter.
“I wouldn’t have bumped into it if you hadn’t been standing there!”
“Shut up.” Susan pushed her dark hair away from her ear, listening intently. “Footsteps. It’s either the Professor or the Macready.”
“Run!” And with that, Edmund took off down the hall.
Susan, Peter and Lucy shared an anxious glance before doing likewise with all three going in different directions. Susan concealed herself in a chest while Peter ducked down a stairwell. Lucy ran for a closet that had curtains draped over the front. Suddenly, she was pushed aside and the curtains were blown into her face. Next moment, Edmund’s face stuck out.
“I was here first.”
The little girl huffed in annoyance before turning and dashing up a flight of stairs. In the hall above were a number of doors: all locked except one. She let herself in and was thrilled to find a large object at the end of the room covered with a sheet. She quickly hid herself under the cloth, then attempted to catch her breath.
Just then she noticed someone standing beside her. Releasing a scream, Lucy fell backward, pulling the sheet off the object and down around her. She was almost a full minute disentangling herself from the fabric. What she saw when she was finally free was a big wardrobe with a looking-glass in the door, containing Lucy’s reflection. Getting up, the girl pulled open the door, dislodging some moth balls that fell to the floor, and looked inside at several long fur coats. Still in search of a place to hide, she scrambled inside, leaving the door partially open because she knew it was very foolish to shut oneself into a wardrobe.
Slowly, she shoved her way back through the rows of coats, keeping her hands ahead of her so as not to bump into the back wall. All at once, she tripped and fell face first into a snow drift. A nighttime forest surrounded her as she got to her feet, and snowflakes fell gently onto her face. She stared back to make certain that the fur coats and the slightly ajar door were still there before she started to move deeper into the wood, toward a golden glow that was being emitted by a lamppost that only had one arm sticking out at the top.
“This is…queer,” she whispered to herself just as she became aware of a pitter-patter of feet behind her. Wheeling around, she was met by the strangest thing she had ever seen, carrying an umbrella. “Ahhh!” they both screamed, diving for cover. Lucy ducked around the lamppost, then gathered her wits about her. If whatever-it-was had been going to harm her, he would not have been frightened by her, thus she cautiously crept forward to the tree the creature had hidden behind. “Good evening,” she said cheerfully.
“Goodness gracious me!” exclaimed the thing.
Lucy bent and started to retrieve the parcels the thing had dropped, but was stopped by the creature, who hastily came forward, mumbling as he did so.
“If you don’t mind my asking,” she said, ending the creature’s prattle, “what are you?”
“Well, I…well, I’m…a Faun. And…and what are you? You must be some kind of beardless Dwarf?”
“I’m not a Dwarf; I’m a girl. And actually I’m tallest in my class.”
“Then you mean to say that you are a Daughter of Eve?”
“My Mum’s name is Helen –”
“But you are, in fact, Human?”
“Yes, of course.”
“What are you doing here?”
Lucy took no notice of how anxious the Faun instantly became. “Well, I was hiding in the wardrobe in the spare room –”
“Spare Oom? Is that in Middle-Earth? Oh, if only I had worked harder at geography when I was a little Faun, I should no doubt know all about those strange countries. It is too late now. My father would not be pleased that I learned so little.”
“Middle-Earth? What’s that?”
“Why, you’re in it. Though this is Narnia – everything from the Lamppost to the great castle, Cair Paravel, on the Eastern Sea; every stick and stone you see, every icicle, is Narnia. And to the north…well, oh dear, I’ve quite forgotten the name; is it the Enttenmores or the Ettinsmoor? I get them confused, you see. And to the south is Archenland, and in the west is Erebor, and I’ve a friend in the Iron Hills, though I have never been there, mind you. And I have heard of a Shire, but couldn’t tell you where that is.”
“It’s so beautiful,” the girl breathed, mesmerized by the pristine white landscapes and the enchanting names the Faun listed off. “It’s summer back there…on the other side of the wardrobe.”
“Meanwhile, it is winter here, and has been for ever so long,” the creature sighed. “Now, where are my manners? Forgive me, I am Tumnus.”
“I’m Lucy Pevensie.” She grinned, extending her hand. “Oh, you shake it.”
“I-I don’t know. People do it when they meet each other.”
“Well, in that case.” Mr. Tumnus pressed his fingers into Lucy’s palm and shook it back and forth. “Lucy Pevensie from the shining city of War Drobe in the far land of Spare Oom, where eternal summer reigns, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”
“Thank you very much, but I probably should be getting back.”
“It’s only just around the corner, and there will be a roaring fire, and toast, and cakes, and maybe – just maybe – we’ll break into the sardines.”
“Well,” the girl gave in with a smile, “if it’s just around the corner, and…if there are sardines.”
“By the bucket loads.”
It was not a long hike to the abode of the Faun, located in a steep slab of grey rock. Lucy felt at home the minute she walked through the door, as though she had been there a thousand times before, but was only just coming back after a long holiday. As Mr. Tumnus stomped the snow from his hooves, Lucy scanned the cavernous room with her eyes falling onto a painting of a Faun in chainmail and leather jerkin.
“That was my father,” Tumnus explained as he stoked the fire and lit a lamp.
“My father’s off fighting in a war.”
“My father went away to war too. The Last Alliance of Men and Elves, when Sauron was defeated in Mordor.”
Despite the warm fire, Lucy thought the room went cold and dark when the Faun spoke those words, but it vanished within a moment.
“Now then, we shan’t be long,” he added, putting the kettle on.
As he set out the tea things, Lucy examined the books on a shelf on the far side of the room. They had strange titles like The Silmarillion; Nymphs and Their Ways; Men, Elves, and Dwarves: a Study of the Races; Are Hobbits Real?; and The Last Alliance of Men and Elves. Now very curious, Lucy pulled down the last volume and fanned the pages, scanning the strange runes for something she could understand.
“What have we here?”
Lucy dropped the book and whirled around to face Tumnus who had silently come up behind her. “I – I…” she stammered as the Faun retrieved the book.
“Why are you so interested?”
Lucy gulped, unable to tell just how cross he was with her. “I don’t know anything about your world. It’s an awfully big wardrobe.” She silently added the latter part to herself.
“Well, if you want to know about this land, there are other stories. Better stories.” The Faun put the book back, then directed Lucy to a chair. “Now, Daughter of Eve, allow me to tell you some good tales of Old.”
And he did so as they munched on lightly boiled eggs, sardines on toast, buttered toast, toast with honey, and a sugar-topped cake. He told of the Nymphs and the Dryads who would come out to dance with the Fauns at midnight, and of feasting and treasure-seeking with the wild Red Dwarves. “There are Red Dwarves in Narnia, but nothing like those in the Iron Hills; those are truly the wildest of them,” he explained.
“Why did your father join in the war?” Lucy asked at one point, catching Mr. Tumnus off guard as he detailed a hunting trip for the legendary White Stag. “He wasn’t Man nor Elf.”
“Because it was against Sauron. And, anyway, if you catch the White Stag –”
“Who was Sauron?”
“The Dark Lord.”
Lucy felt the chill again, and rubbed her arms profusely. Tumnus gazed into the fire.
“He was Evil, but my father dealt with more harm from his own comrades, from Man. When he came back, he hated the outside world. You know, I always said to myself, I would have made him proud had I learned geography, now I think I stopped learning because of him. That was four hundred years ago…” he trailed off and gave Lucy a sidelong glance. “Well, that was none too cheery. Have you ever heard a Narnian Lullaby?” He reached up and brought down a forked flute from the mantle.
“No.” Lucy was sorry she had pestered the Faun about the war and was glad for a change in subject.
“Good, because this probably sounds nothing like one.” And he began to play.
Lucy took another sip of tea, and was startled to see from over the rim of her cup that the flames in the fireplace were taking shape into dancing Fauns. As she watched, she witnessed the Stag, galloping about, and a line of Dwarves marching off with one tall fellow in the lead and one shorter fellow lagging behind. Then a Dragon formed, splaying fire on what appeared to be houses. Lucy’s eyes widened, then, all at once, she found that she could no longer keep them open. Thus, she fell asleep, head drooped to one side, teacup balanced precariously on her knee. The Dragon turned into a Lion who roared loudly. Tumnus ceased his tune just as the lights went out.
A.N.: The introductions the Pevensies make to the Professor are the exact lines from the BBC version of LWW. In both the book and BBC version, the Pevensies come across the wardrobe while searching the mansion. For my story, I combined both the search, the armor being knocked over, and the hide-and-seek game. Furthermore, in the book, the wardrobe is described as having a looking-glass on the front, which is absent in both the BBC and Walden Media adaptions.
Also, at the time of The Hobbit, it had been closer to 2,000 years since the Last Alliance of Men and Elves, not 400. I chose 400 because in TH:AUJ, Elrond says that Middle-Earth has had 400 years of hard-won peace.
(Read more from WriterfromWarDrobe at her Fanfiction.net Account)