Chapter 11 - The Knowledge of April: The Journal
"What is that?" Peter asked, seeing the letter on the blanket.
"It is a letter from my grandmother," she said tucking it back into the envelope. "I will read it to you later. Would you like to look at the journal?"
"As if you have to ask!"
She opened the book that looked to be at least fifty years old. She was surprised to see the date on the first entry and the childish handwriting.
Date: September 2, 1896
Happy 14th Birthday to me! This wonderful book and fountain pen were birthday gifts from my Grandmother Josephine. She is my favorite grandmother and I think I am her favorite grandchild, not that she would ever admit it. She told me write down stuff about myself and my family, but I know she also means for me to write down some of the stories she has told me. Everyone knows I am good at writing. I am also good at dancing, but no one knows and that makes me happy. My name is Margaret Ann Fisher, folks call me Peg though. My older sister Evangeline is the beauty and popular one, she is 17. Vange always despairs because of the constant ink stains on my fingers, but she is so busy with her many suitors she has little time to torture me about it. My younger sister Angelica is the baby of the family and incredibly spoiled if you ask me. She is 10. I tend to stay off by myself and so I get left alone a lot.
Date: October 10, 1896
Grandmother Jo came and brought me to her house today. She is going to start doing that regularly, I think. Today she shared with me another one of her wonderful stories about our family. She said these stories have been passed down from grandmother to granddaughter for generations. But, not everyone gets to hear them. You have to be special, I think. I love stories and hers are the best. I told her I would write this one down.
Once upon a time there was a magical land by the name of Narnia, it was a special place with talking animals, singing rivers and dancing trees. The King of the world's name was Aslan. He was a great lion that is terrifying, magnificent and beautiful all at once. (I must tell more about him, because I am most intrigued by him. I asked Grandmother Jo questions about him until she almost despaired and then told me all she knew. I will get to the actual story in a moment.) He appears in different sizes to different people, although he never truly changes. But, as people grow smarter and better, they can see more of his greatness. Aslan is very wise, and a powerful force for good, but Narnians say that he is not a tame lion. He is dangerous, and cannot be conquered, but he is always good. Aslan is the one true king of Narnia; all of its inhabitants have faith in him, and obey him absolutely. He comes to Narnia to aid its leaders on missions for Narnia's and that person's peace, and to protect it from all sort of evils. He watches over Narnia constantly, although he does not solve all of its problems. Aslan every now and then will bring humans from this world even 2 kings and 2 queens both to help Narnia, and to teach them important lessons. Aslan is also divine. He is very powerful, all knowing, and he can show himself in different shapes. His breath has power, it can heal those who have been petrified in stone and boost the spirits of those who doubt...
April skimmed through a couple of pages amazed. "It looks she like she details the story of your helping Prince Caspian help defeat the Telmarines. Oh, here is the end. Didn't you say that you and the others were the first ones through the portal back to this world?" At Peter's nod, she continued, "It looks like the story continues, listen to this."
Peter sat up straighter in anticipation. Here was something he didn't know!
...There were a lot of Telmarines that went through the portal. After the line had dwindled to almost nothing Caspian called out to see if there were any others who wished to leave. One young man came forward. In a very humble stance he knelt before Prince Caspian and Aslan. Caspian told him to rise and recognized him as his friend from a very long time ago when they both were tutored by Doctor Cornelius.
"What is it friend?" said Caspian.
"Please, your Highness and my Lord, I have a most unusual request. I too wish to go to the new land, the island that has no inhabitants and make a new life there. But, I wish to take my love and I am afraid she cannot go."
"Where is your love?" asked Aslan, "Let her come to us."
There was a rush of a spring breeze then a beautiful dryad, a tree nymph, formed before their eyes. She said, "I am not sure how it happened sirs, but I love this man and long to be with him. He helped the Narnians in their struggle with the Telmarines, he is good and deserving."
Caspian nodded, "Joseph was always good to me, and he loved the Narnian tales as much as I did, if not more. He was always wandering in the woods looking for the legends to be true"
"And, found them he did," said Aslan. Turning to the dryad, "Daughter is this what you wish, to live among men and have a solid form? You will be bound by love to this man for the rest of your life."
"Oh, yes sir, more than anything."
Aslan nodded, "I will grant your request, on one condition, that you keep the secret well. Pass it on to only the offspring of yours that will guard it, who are sensitive, and who seem to possess the traits of the dryad, for your essence will continue through generations to come."
She promised, then an amazing thing happened. Aslan breathed a mighty breath on the dryad, it would have blown a human away, but it caused the petals on the dryad to turn inward and soft flesh formed around them. She dropped gently to the ground fully in human form. Doctor Cornelius was waiting close by with a robe just in case the plea was heard and rushed over to put it over her kneeling form. She rose up fully covered and went straight into Joseph's arms. They both knelt before Aslan and thanked him over and over.
Aslan said, "Let us make this official. I have already heard from her, now Joseph, do you love this woman and promise to keep her secrets and cherish her all the days of your life?"
Joseph said, "Yes, my Lord." Aslan continued, "Then I consider you bound and married by Narnian tradition and law. Now… for a gift."
Aslan nodded to Doctor Cornelius who brought over a large book. Aslan said, "You will have many secrets to keep. I leave in your care a great treasure, the book that chronicles The Golden Age of Narnia. It will be good for a record of this place to be in your world. But, guard it as if it were the most valuable treasure on earth. For, one day the Kings and Queens may have need of this.”
Aslan nodded again, Cornelius started to flip through the pages as Aslan breathed on them.
At Caspian's questioning look, Cornelius whispered, "To keep the book from decaying any further."
As the last page felt Aslan's breath two paintings fell out. Aslan said, "Take those as well. For they can hang on any wall and perhaps people will gain encouragement from them."
After breathing on the paintings, Joseph took the book, the paintings, and his tree spirit bride and went through the portal to settle in a dense forest not far from the cave near the sea. There they kept the secret and developed the traditions that only certain members of our family enjoy and celebrate today.
Peter and April sat in stunned silence. What an honor it was to be who she was. No wondered she longed for Aslan, how could she not when the very spirit inside of her had been breathed upon. She guessed that when Aslan breathed on someone, it was not forgotten over time. Peter grabbed her hand shaking her out of her reverie.
"Oh Peter," she breathed. "I now have a name to call the spirit inside me... dryad. Did you know the name?"
He nodded, "I meant to tell you that earlier when we talked about it. This is so wonderful April. I'm happy for you and excited to know the rest of the story. It is amazing to think that this Country was settled by Telmarines who lived in Narnia! It makes me feel like Narnia is not so far away after all."