When I was in the 3rd grade, we were having one of those paperback book sales at our school library that now always makes me a little misty with nostalgia. At this particular sale, there was available a boxset of C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. I'm sure by this point I'd seen the animated (and by far much better) version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And I pined for the boxset. I pined and I protected. I allowed no other student near that collection, knowing full well that someone else, someone who wouldn't love the books as much as I would, would rip it away from me, and I'd never see these rare and precious books ever again.
I asked Ms. Dossett if I could call my Mom and begged Momma to come, to come quickly, because these had to be purchased - even if they were about $10 - which in my 3rd grade mind was more money than I had a right to ask from my parents.
Momma came, she bought, and just a few months shy of 40, I still have those same books.
Just recently I picked up The Horse and His Boy, book 5 in this version of the series (not in chronological order - which IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE READ - what do you have to be spoon-fed everything?). I've been kinda depressed and dealing with anxiety issues, so I've been reading kids books.
And "Horse" I remembered as my favorite of the books: a boy brought up by someone who didn't love him, escapes with a horse who is secretly a talking, Narnian horse and they escape through the hot desert make it to Narnia, avert an invasion, and lo and behold, the boy is discovered to be long lost royalty. It was everything I wish my life was.
Needless to say, the story has not survived well over the years. The racism is fairly blatant (just as in Lewis's buddy Tolkien's Lord of the Rings), but what can you do.
But I did read something that touched me in my current depressed, unhappy-with-everything state. In this scene, the talking horse Bree is feeling poorly because while he ran away from a lion (it ends up being the lion Aslan), Shasta (the boy/prince) stands his ground against the lion's attack, and the hermit, who is caring for the characters while Shasta is away averting an invasion, says the following:
My good Horse, you've lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don't put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense. You're not quite the great horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn't follow that you'll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you're nobody special, you'll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole, and taking one thing with another.