A couple of weeks ago, Twitter lit up with one of its countless Right Wing Panics du Jour

MAGA Dufflepuds were simultaneously sure The Conspiracy was so diabolically and ingeniously concealed in layer upon layer of lies and deceit that they and they alone could trace it out–and that the Master of Deceit just blurted everything out because he is too dumb to breathe.

It all reminded me, as the QANON cult of antichristian gnostics has ever reminded me, of this:

“When will the spell work?” asked Lucy. “Will the Duffers be visible again at once?”

“Oh yes, they’re visible now. But they’re probably all asleep still; they always take a rest in the middle of the day.”

“And now that they’re visible, are you going to let them off being ugly? Will you make them as they were before?”

“Well, that’s rather a delicate question,” said the Magician. “You see, it’s only they who think they were so nice to look at before. They say they’ve been uglified, but that isn’t what I called it. Many people might say the change was for the better.”

“Are they awfully conceited?”

“They are. Or at least the Chief Duffer is, and he’s taught all the rest to be. They always believe every word he says.”

“We’d noticed that,” said Lucy.

“Yes – we’d get on better without him, in a way. Of course I could turn him into something else, or even put a spell on him which would make them not believe a word he said. But I don’t like to do that. It’s better for them to admire him than to admire nobody.”

“Don’t they admire you?” asked Lucy.

“Oh, not me,” said the Magician. “They wouldn’t admire me.”

“What was it you uglified them for – I mean, what they call uglified?”

“Well, they wouldn’t do what they were told. Their work is to mind the garden and raise food – not for me, as they imagine, but for themselves. They wouldn’t do it at all if I didn’t make them. And of course for a garden you want water. There is a beautiful spring about half a mile away up the hill. And from that spring there flows a stream which comes right past the garden. All I asked them to do was to take their water from the stream instead of trudging up to the spring with their buckets two or three times a day and tiring themselves out besides spilling half of it on the way back. But they wouldn’t see it. In the end they refused point blank.”

“Are they as stupid as all that?” asked Lucy.

The Magician sighed. “You wouldn’t believe the troubles I’ve had with them. A few months ago they were all for washing up the plates and knives before dinner: they said it saved time afterwards. I’ve caught them planting boiled potatoes to save cooking them when they were dug up. One day the cat got into the dairy and twenty of them were at work moving all the milk out; no one thought of moving the cat. But I see you’ve finished. Let’s go and look at the Duffers now they can be looked at.”

They went into another room which was full of polished instruments hard to understand – such as Astrolabes, Orreries, Chronoscopes, Poesimeters, Choriambuses and Theodolinds – and here, when they had come to the window, the Magician said, “There. There are your Duffers.”

“I don’t see anybody,” said Lucy. “And what are those mushroom things?”

The things she pointed at were dotted all over the level grass. They were certainly very like mushrooms, but far too big – the stalks about three feet high and the umbrellas about the same length from edge to edge. When she looked carefully she noticed too that the stalks joined the umbrellas not in the middle but at one side which gave an unbalanced look to them. And there was something – a sort of little bundle – lying on the grass at the foot of each stalk. In fact the longer she gazed at them the less like mushrooms they appeared. The umbrella part was not really round as she had thought at first. It was longer than it was broad, and it widened at one end. There were a great many of them, fifty or more.

The clock struck three.

Instantly a most extraordinary thing happened. Each of the “mushrooms” suddenly turned upside-down. The little bundles which had lain at the bottom of the stalks were heads and bodies. The stalks themselves were legs. But not two legs to each body. Each body had a single thick leg right under it (not to one side like the leg of a one-legged man) and at the end of it, a single enormous foot-a broadtoed foot with the toes curling up a little so that it looked rather like a small canoe. She saw in a moment why they had looked like mushrooms. They had been lying flat on their backs each with its single leg straight up in the air and its enormous foot spread out above it. She learned afterwards that this was their ordinary way of resting; for the foot kept off both rain and sun and for a Monopod to lie under its own foot is almost as good as being in a tent.

“Oh, the funnies, the funnies,” cried Lucy, bursting into laughter. “Did you make them like that?”

“Yes, yes. I made the Duffers into Monopods,” said the Magician. He too was laughing till the tears ran down his cheeks. “But watch,” he added.

It was worth watching. Of course these little one-footed men couldn’t walk or run as we do. They got about by jumping, like fleas or frogs. And what jumps they made! as if each big foot were a mass of springs. And with what a bounce they came down; that was what made the thumping noise which had so puzzled Lucy yesterday. For now they were jumping in all directions and calling out to one another, “Hey, lads! We’re visible again.”

“Visible we are,” said one in a tasselled red cap who was obviously the Chief Monopod. “And what I say is, when chaps are visible, why, they can see one another.”

“Ah, there it is, there it is, Chief,” cried all the others. “There’s the point. No one’s got a clearer head than you. You couldn’t have made it plainer.”

“She caught the old man napping, that little girl did,” said the Chief Monopod. “We’ve beaten him this time.”

“Just what we were, going to say ourselves,” chimed the chorus. “You’re going stronger than ever today, Chief. Keep it up, keep it up.”

“But do they dare to talk about you like that?” said Lucy. “They seemed to be so afraid of you yesterday. Don’t they know you might be listening?”

“That’s one of the funny things about the Duffers,” said the Magician. “One minute they talk as if I ran everything and overheard everything and was extremely dangerous. The next moment they think they can take me in by tricks that a baby would see through – bless them!”

I appreciate Lewis’ ability to not only have patience with, but even to enjoy the silliness of such folk. He seemed to have a large capacity to enjoy the absurdity of human beings, much like Dickens. There is a wonderful story about Lewis and his gardener, who was the model for Puddleglum. He was endlessly full of gloom and doom about everything, which just cracked Lewis up. On the day Lewis was leaving with his new bride for his honeymoon (they were to fly to Greece), the gardener flagged down his car as they were pulling out of The Kilns (his home), stuck his head in the window and said, “Mr. Lewis, did you hear about that plane that crashed? Everyone aboard was burnt beyond recognition. Think of that! BEYOND RECOGNITION!” His new wife, Joy, was horrified, but Lewis just dissolved in laughter as the car pulled away.

It reminds me of a priest I once knew, a dear, sweet old thing and (I am certain) a saint, who once said that when he met somebody he had trouble liking, he just pretended they were a character from Dickens, and that made it alright.

I want to be more like that. Holy Week is a good time for me to contemplate ways to try to look with more love, enjoyment, and pity on awful, fearful, broken and silly people since I am awful, fearful, broken, and silly myself.


2 Responses

  1. I stopped being mad at the MAGAs I am familiar with when I realized that they all seem a little bit bored and sad. It’s hard to be mad at someone that is clinically depressed.

    Whenever we travel to the little casita that we keep on my mother’s property, I have to mentally gird my loins. The crazy is astounding. Some might marvel and say that it nearly looks like a paradise there, but upon closer inspection, yes, the characters and scenery are right out of something C.S. Lewis might have written about.

    In February, when we travelled there for the four day president’s weekend, there was a very pungent, gray water/septic tank break down. It was past sunset when my husband waded into the problem. There he was, standing ankle deep in a fetid, foul smelling puddle, while my 86-year-old mother held a flashlight in the dark, about twenty feet from a lit pathway. A male family member (MAGAt) that has lived there for decades (without working most of the time) hurried past them quickly saying, “it looks like the two of you have a good handle on that!”

    And yes, he thinks this country has a Mezzzican problem.

    He’s sad because he’s bored, and bored, sad people invent all kinds of drama as if there aren’t enough real people going through real trauma to think about.

    When we moved away for my husband’s new job, we thought we’d be back far more often for little breaks, but now that we’re out of the crazy going back to it shocks us even more. You get used to it when you’re immersed in it.

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