By Duncan Rize
The young faun Mr. Tumnus is the first Narnian creature that Lucy (and the reader) meets. Although he has the lower body of a goat and the upper body of a man, he is quite civilized. He lives in a very cozy cave and offers Lucy tea and dinner while he talks to her. He has never heard of the world of man but he is quite fascinated by Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve. His bookshelf is, in fact, lined with many books on humans,
with titles such as Is Man a Myth?
He lulls the trusting Lucy almost to sleep with beautiful flute music, before he confesses that he is working for the White Witch. He is filled with regret for his actions and he sobs so profusely that Lucy gives him her handkerchief and consoles him. Mr. Tumnus could not remember there ever having been a human in Narnia before (and he didn’t think they existed in reality) so, when the Witch, asked him to turn over any human he met to her, he agreed.
Once he met Lucy and found out how nice she was, Tumnus realized he could do no such thing. Because he has struck a deal with the Witch he is in grave danger. As we know from the Bible “deals with the devil” always exact a high price on those who enter into them. Lucy appeals to the Faun’s sense of goodness and he escorts her to safety. The faun is later arrested by Maugrim and turned to stone.
Lucy’s meeting with Mr. Tumnus closely parallels Edmund’s meeting with the White Witch. Both Lucy and Edmund meet the Narnians accidentally with no prior knowledge of Narnia and both of them are lulled into trusting their new acquaintances by food and drink. The difference between these encounters is that Lucy believed that the Faun was very good, and he turned out to be, while Edmund mistrusted the Witch until his greed overwhelmed his instincts.
Mr. Tumnus is profoundly sorry for the terrible thing he planned to do to Lucy and he makes certain arrangements to ensure Lucy’s future safety. In case the Witch punishes him, Mr. Tumnus asks Mr. Beaver to look after the children. This act not only does much to absolve him of his evil agreement it also ends up saving the children’s lives.
There a many lessons to be learned from these encounters. Mr. Tumnus symbolizes how easily even caring, but naïve, people can be lead along the path of the devil. Mr. Tumnus overcomes his initial mistake and bravely returns Lucy home. Unfortunately for the Faun, a pact with the evil Witch is not easily broken and she has him made into stone and added to her collection. Edmund is also naïve when he first enters Narnia; however he rejects the truth and blindly continues down the path of Satan. The Faun represents the possibility of salvation even after sin. He is literally a lost sheep who must return to God’s the flock to be forgiven after he has sinned.
Duncan Rize loves the writings of C.S. Lewis and works with the marketing group at www.LearningByGrace.org. Learning by Grace manages of a number of internationally known online K-12 academies including www.TheGraceAcademy.org, www.TheJubileeAcademy.org, www.TheMorningStarAcademy.org and www.TheNarniaAcademy.org . This article is © 2005 ELRN, Inc. and may be quoted in whole or part as long as the author (Duncan Rize) and source (www.TheNarniaAcademy.org) are credited.