‘Mr Tumnus’ Leg’ is another children’s story written for Malvern City Council.
This one imagines C.S. Lewis as a child, getting inspiration for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
Mr Tumnus’ Leg
A young C.S. Lewis – or Clive, as his friends knew him – was sat alone in a dark and dreary room in Malvern, happy as could be.
Every second, another click! or clack! of his typewriter became another word on a page, as Clive wrote his story about a lion, a witch and a wardrobe.
Clive’s parents had left him alone, that night, as they went and enjoyed an evening meal.
But Clive was so happy writing his story that this did not bother him at all, for he had all the characters in his head for company.
First, there was the lion, Aslan, who Clive saw whenever he closed his eyes.
Aslan always stood tall and proud before him, with his golden fur the pride of his pride, before he would turn to Clive and roooooaaaarrrrrr!
Clive liked Aslan. Aslan was cool.
Then, there was the witch, evil and cruel, with her tempting treats of Turkish Delight.
And finally, there was a wardrobe. Clive had thought, of course, that a lion and a witch were little use without a wardrobe.
But, sadly, Clive now had more than just a lion, a witch and a wardrobe.
Clive had a problem.
For, when his four heroes, Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy, entered the magical and wonderful world of Narnia, they were met with a creature that was neither magical nor wonderful.
This creature, of course, was a man.
A man named Thomas.
Clive hated Thomas.
He shouldn’t have, for, after all, he had created him. And to hate anyone is an unpleasant feeling indeed.
But, whilst Thomas was there, no more words were coming to Clive, and the clicks! and the clacks! of his typewriter soon clicked! and clacked! no more.
Clive’s heroes should have been entering a world of pure magic. Instead, all they met was Thomas. Grumpy, frumpy, and everything in-between.
Because of Thomas, there was no more wonder in Narnia.
Without wonder, Narnia was nothing.
So Clive had to give up on writing for the time being, and instead looked out of his window.
Above him, he saw the starry night sky sprinkling down snow.
He saw Church Street, lit by gas lamps which burned bright with all the life of a family of fireflies.
And, as fireflies tend to do, one of these lamps seemed to call to Clive. It seemed to ignite a spark of creativity within him which Thomas had long since frozen still.
Now, were Clive’s parents to discover that he, being only twelve years old, had gone out on his own at night would have been disastrous.
That would have been something Clive definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely should not have done.
But… Clive’s parents had left him alone.
So Clive did the thing he definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely should not have done. Clive found the courage to go to that gas lamp and save his book.
With a ping! Clive reset his typewriter and looked in the wardrobe for something warm to wear.
Soon, he was dressed from head to toe and back again in a fuzzy, furry fleece, a shaggy scarf, a hairy hat, bushy boots, and had even been poked in the face by a coat hanger.
Now, Clive just had to sneak out of the hotel. So, he pocketed the spare room key, and descended the spiral staircase like a spider clinging to the walls.
The problem was, the hotel receptionist, Mr Nozee, a tall man with an exceptionally long nose.
Mr Nozee watched everyone who came in and everyone who went out, with all the authority his little hat and little bell afforded him.
Whenever he saw anyone: bing!
Whenever he didn’t see anyone: bing!
Even if he was just bored: bing! bing! bing!
Clive had to avoid a bing! at all costs.
But there was no way that Clive was going to be able to escape without a little bit of luck on his side.
Suddenly, just as luck would have it, a large, portly gentleman stood in front of Mr Nozee, blinding him to Clive’s smaller size.
Clive, seizing his opportunity, sprinted out of the lobby.
On the streets of Malvern, the air felt cold, despite Clive’s fuzzy, furry fleece, shaggy scarf, hairy hat and bushy boots. It was so cold, in fact, that Clive had to tuck his gloved hands under his arms to stop himself from shivering.
But, the gas lamp Clive wished for was a hundred feet ahead of him.
And Clive knew he was a quick young man. His one-hundred metre run certificate from school could prove that.
So Clive did what he knew he could do.
With all the speed he could muster, Clive ran, and felt the snow crunch beneath his boots: crunch! crunch! crunch!
One hundred feet later, Clive looked up and saw the gas lamp shining so brightly above him.
With his hand outstretched, Clive followed the gentle curve of the gas lamp as it arched itself over like a snake. Then, he looked at his own wrist and saw the fur of his coat.
Suddenly, he thought he knew a way to bring warmth back to the icy world of Narnia.
So, with a crunch! crunch! crunch! Clive sprinted back to the lobby.
With a bing! bing! bing! Clive raced past Mr Nozee and climbed up the staircase.
With a ping! he reset his typewriter.
And then with clicks! and clacks! Clive was writing once more.
Now, when Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy entered the wonder of Narnia, they saw a gas lamp shining as brightly as the one outside Clive’s window.
And they no longer met a man named Thomas, either.
They met a fawn named Mr Tumnus.
Whereas Thomas had been grumpy and frumpy, Mr Tumnus was warm and welcoming, with his legs all hairy and beary.
Now, Narnia seemed wonderful once more. And, just at that moment, the door to Clive’s room opened and in walked his parents to ask him how his book was coming along.
With a smile on his face, Clive answered: