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There Is No Other Stream by C. S. Lewis

“Although the sight of water made her feel ten times thirstier than before, she didn’t rush forward and drink. She stood as still as if she had been turned into stone, with her mouth wide open. And she had a very good reason; just on this side of the stream lay the lion.

It lay with its head raised and its two fore-paws out in front of it, like the lions in Trafalgar Square. She knew at once that it had seen her, for it eyes looked straight into hers for a moment and then turned away– as if it knew her quite well and didn’t think much of her.

‘If I run away, it’ll be after me in a moment,’ thought Jill. ‘And if I go on, I shall run straight into its mouth.’ Anyway, she couldn’t have moved if she had tried, and she couldn’t take her eyes off it.

How long this lasted, she could not be sure; it seemed like hours. And the thirst became so bad that she almost felt she would not mind being eaten by the lion if only she could be sure of getting a mouthful of water first.

‘If you’re thirsty, you may drink.’

They were the first words she had heard since Scrubb had spoken to her on the edge of the cliff. For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken.

Then the voice said again, ‘If you are thirsty, come and drink,’ and of course she remembered what Scrubb had said about animals talking in that other world, and realized that it was the lion speaking.

Anyway, she had seen its lips move this time, and the voice was not like a man’s. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in a rather different way.

‘Are you not thirsty?’ said the Lion.

‘I’m dying of thirst,’ said Jill

‘Then drink,’ said the Lion.

‘May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?’ said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.

‘Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if I do come?’ said Jill.

‘I make no promise,’ said the Lion.

‘Do you eat girls?’ she said.

‘I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,’ said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

‘I daren’t come and drink,’ said Jill.

‘Then you will die of thirst,’ said the Lion.

‘Oh dear!’ said Jill, coming another step nearer. ‘I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.’

‘There is no other stream,’ said the Lion.”

–C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. . . . 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. –John 4:10,14

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  • pbird August 28, 2022, 7:44 AM

    Can’t even begin to express how good this whole series of his stories are. He was right, writing good stuff for kids is hard and very very important.

  • Mike Austin August 28, 2022, 7:56 AM

    There is no other stream. There is no other Truth. Truth is a Person. He is the stream. The Lie is also a person. Every man follows one or the other. There are no other choices.

    Choose wisely.

  • Denny August 28, 2022, 10:16 AM

    Many inquire, not to know the truth but to get answers to their liking. And our Lord, in order to punish their hypocrasy, lets them find what they are seeking. – John Calvin

  • Casey Klahn August 28, 2022, 12:32 PM

    Brits get their lions in with their kings, and their kings in with God. But, lions and kings are a very good literary devices and also are used in the Bible. God and Jesus as a Lion. Large lions are majestic and the Lion God simile (iirc my word there) bespeaks a God who is feral. Fearing God is a special thing, and it differs between the believer and the non believer. A non believer fears God with a sort of mortal panic and an existential dread. The believer fears God in a respectful manner, within a hierarchical relationship and yet in a centered and empowering way. It is the beginning point of wisdom, and although logic may somehow find you, if you do not believe you won’t have wisdom. It’s endemic because it’s also reality and that on the universal level.

    • Shawn August 28, 2022, 5:47 PM

      Very well said Casey

  • Snakepit Kansas August 28, 2022, 3:49 PM

    Back in the (early) Big 80s, my drafting teacher wrote to me in my yearbook “Follow the King and you cannot go wrong”. Wisdom that took years for me to fully understand and embrace.

  • Gagdad Bob August 28, 2022, 4:14 PM

    Speaking of lions, Christians, children, wild things, and Bee Gees, they have a song called Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Should Know .

  • Mary Ann August 28, 2022, 5:43 PM

    Bagdad Bob, YES!

  • Foo August 28, 2022, 9:57 PM

    I love this

  • jiminalaska August 29, 2022, 10:42 AM

    An Eskimo buddy told me about once he was out ptarmigan hunting near Anaktuvuk Pass in the Brooks Range. As he headed back to the village he found a grisly bear sitting some ten feet aside the only trail. He stopped, not wanting to pass. He, the bear, looked at each other for a while and the bear made a kind of, walk on by move with his head. My buddy wasn’t sure that was a good idea so he stood there, not sure if backing away was a good idea either. Finely the grisly kind of sighed, got up, moved some fifty or so feet up the scree, plopped back down as if saying, “There, you feel safe and happy now?” Keeping a close eye on the animal, my buddy walked on past, he and the bear sharing a moment of mutual respect.

    Whenever I read Lewis, Jill & the lion, I remember my buddy and similar situations I shared with animals in the forest, on the tundra and in the sea.

    • Casey Klahn August 30, 2022, 4:18 AM

      Some days the bear yields to you. Other days you yield to the bear.

      • jiminalaska August 30, 2022, 9:45 AM

        Yep Casey, a good way to put it. I’d add, & moose always have the right of way.

        • Roadie August 31, 2022, 3:02 PM

          The Bee Gees!?! Mind officially blown.

      • FREDERICK BAUMANN August 30, 2022, 10:17 AM

        “Some days the bear yields to you. Other days you yield to the bear.”
        On still other days, neither the bear nor the man yields. No one is available to record what happens on those occasions, but all wise creatures know enough to regret such a day.