As a World War I veteran, Oxford don C.S. Lewis was accustomed to nightmares about bloody trenches, bayonets, poison gas and the bite of shrapnel in his chest.
But the dreams that began in the late 1940s were different. Some were frightening and some were beautiful and, as he described them to family and friends, they involved lions, especially a giant lion that had a regal, yet wild personality.
Soon, Lewis began weaving these images into a story that also included a strange dream that he had at age 16. In it, he saw a faun holding an umbrella and some packages, standing in a snowy wood near a lamppost.
"He told people, 'I'd like to make a story out of that image because it has been in my head all of my life,' " said Douglas Gresham, the author's stepson. As Lewis would say, the great lion "Aslan simply leapt into the story and dragged all the rest of the Narnian Chronicles along with him...I believe that all of this was a gift from God, of course."
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