The Horse and his Boy
by C.S. Lewis
The Horse and his Boy is book three in The Chronicles of Narnia. The most interesting thing about this Horse 'n Boy tale, is that the four kids from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe have only a supporting role. They aren't the main event. This Narnia detail has me me all excited to see where Mr. Lewis will take us next! The suspension just might kill me. Another interesting thing is The Horse and his Boy was not published third... it was published fifth of all seven of the Narnia Chronicles.
This is the story of Shasta, a mistreated orphan/slave living in a place called Calormen, who is about to be sold to another man as a slave. Out of nowhere, a talking horse approaches this Shasta to inform the poor boy that the man who's about to take ownership of him is a very bad man. This horse, who calls himself "Bree," manages to talk Shasta into escaping to Narnia with him. See Bree is a Narnian horse. In Calormen, horses can't just run about without a rider, they'll be captured for sure. Bree needs a rider to escape.
So Shasta and Bree begin the trek to Narnia. In the process, they are "forced" to discover a girl named Aravis and a horse named Hwin. These two are escaping to Narnia too. Aravis is an extremely young daughter of an aristocrat who's been promised in marriage to a dirty old man they call the Grand Vizier. And Hwin? He is another one of those freaky talking horses from Narnia.
Before we go any further, you need to know that a "Tisroc" is king of sorts, (may he live forever.)
The four travel. And they have many adventures. On the way, they are all split apart. Shasta is mistaken as a prince called "Corin" and is taken in for some fancy treatment from the four Wardrobe kids who were vacationing in Calormen's capital Tashbaan. See, this Shasta kid looks exactly like this Prince Corin. Weird! The real Prince Corin appears and Shasta jets. But not before learning that that the Tisroc (may he live forever) wants Susan to marry his son Rabadesh. Susan is sooooo not into that.
This is a complicated story, isn't it? Sure is! Just you wait!
On another adventure, Aravis is hiding, and who should stumble into the room in which she's hiding? The Tisroc, Rabadesh, and the Grand Vizier. She discovers that the three plan to invade a place called Archenland.
The four travelers are united again, and they all spew the details of their individual adventures.
The travelers make it to Archenland where Shasta is able to warn King Lune, king of Archenland, that the Tisroc and company plan to attack. The advance notice saves the day... but not really. For a Lion had a hand in all of the happenings. The Lion was always in the background providing some sort of push here and there. A push to ensure things happened or didn't happen. Sound like Someone you know?
Turns out this Lion is Aslan. "I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that i cam to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight to receive you."
Also turns out that Sashta is the lost twin of Prince Corin. His real name is "Cor." At the birth of these twins, it was prophesied that Cor would one day save the kingdom. The bad guys did not want this happening, so they kidnapped Cor, put him in a boat and sent him away. Little did the bad guys know, that this was all part of Prince Cor's plan, his story.
We all have our plan, don't we? Our story?
Speaking of stories... I'd like to end with this passage. It's an aside narrative from Mr. Lewis himself: "For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you are taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read essays."