While the last book I read closely followed Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter on their path to their thrones at Cair Paravel, The Horse and His Boy follows another youngster’s path to his rightful place on the throne in Archenland. Shasta, through a lengthy escape to Narnia with two talking horses and a young Calormene princess, learns what it means to be a man and a leader, with him becoming King Cor on the final page of the story.
Rather than fuss through the plot, I’ll just comment quickly on a particular lesson that struck me towards the end of the book.
“Worry about yourself.”
This is a phrase I heard a lot growing up. If my brothers or I sensed punishment was on the horizon, we were quick to direct our parents’ attention to the injustices of each others behavior. In response, they would tell us to worry about ourselves and to take what comes to us without trying to distract or shift blame. Twice, Aslan gives characters insight into his dealings with them and brings clarification to past events. When Shasta and Aravis each begin questioning how others fit into their stories, Aslan replies,
“Child, I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”
This is a good reminder to me that if I am running my race as to receive my prize (1 Cor 9:24), then I have to keep my eyes on the finish line. If I look to my right or to my left to see how the other runners are faring, I lose my speed and my focus is shot. Comparing is a no-no, and rather than trying to distract myself from my own sin by focusing on the sin of others, I need to walk as though I have blinders on, keeping the critical focus inward when I feel tempted to lift myself up by looking down on those around me.
It’s amazing the conviction God can bring through a children’s story