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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Guest: Mrs Beaver


From: CS Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)

The quote: "So you've come at last!" she said, holding out both her wrinkled old paws. "At last! To think that ever I should live to see this day! The potatoes are boiling and the kettle's singing and I daresay, Mr Beaver, you'll get us some fish."

The precedents: Mrs Beaver's cry of joy because of the coming of the 'saviors sent by God' echoes the hymn Nunc Dimittis in Luke 2: 29-32, "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, / According to Your word; / For my eyes have seen Your salvation / Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, / A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, / And the glory of Your people Israel."
But this mix of theology, folk wisdom and very practical concerns also makes Mrs Beaver very similar to the priest's housekeeper Perpetua in Alessandro Manzoni's 19th century novel I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), the first novel in Italian literature, like Ivanhoe in English.