suppose we have only dreamed,

Literary Tattoos: The Silver Chair The Chronicles of Narnia C. S. Lewis

“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”

- From The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 6) by C.S. Lewis.

This is Xin’s tattoo:

The line is from C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair, which is the 6th book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. It is spoken by Puddleglum in defiant response to the Witch-queen as she tries to enchant and persuade the characters into believing that whatever they cannot perceive with their senses must be imaginary, and as such, that Narnia and Aslan cannot possibly exist.

As a literature student fresh out of her BA and about to begin her Masters, I do think that there is something to be said about stories being more true that real life. As an aspiring English teacher, I affirm that one must never limit oneself to an understanding of the world in purely scientific or economic terms. As a reader of books, I believe that a life utterly devoid of the rejuvenating power of imagination can only leave us so much the poorer for it. Yet as a Christian who has been called upon to defend her faith, I am constantly coming back to the fact that what I believe in is indeed considered foolishness by so many others.

I do not know if I would die for a story. But I do know that if there is indeed such a being as a God who loved us enough to die for us, then surely I can do no less in giving up everything that I have in this life to seek His face.

The ink was done by Carlos at Lotus Land Tattoo.


  1. Bruna says

    I loved the justification of your tattoo, Xin. I do believe that things can be real just as we want to. I think this magic that books provides us is what makes me love to read so much. Sometimes books gives me hope, and I need it too much, so I can go on following my dreams.

    Please, forgive my poor english, I swear my portuguese is much better than my english, but I'll learn, I promise…

  2. andrea says

    Wonderful tattoo! How wonderful to keep even the punctuation in the tattoo :)

    You seem to enjoy C.S. Lewis, i wonder if you have ever read G. K. Chesterton? He expresses these same sentiments wonderfully in his book Orthodoxy.

  3. Shelley says

    This is beautiful. Love the font and the placement, and I love the simplicity of the words that actually have so many layers.

  4. Molly says

    This is one of my favorite passages from the entire Narnia series (and i've read each book at least half a dozen times.) I love this line – I love the font – I love the line breaks you used. I can't even convey how happy I am to see someone who loves these books enough to put it on their body! As soon as I can persuade my parents, I will follow in your footsteps with a Narnia line of my own that I've wanted for years.

    Thank you for spreading the wonder that is CS Lewis :)

  5. Karlee says

    This is one of my favorite lines from the Narnia series. I'm planning a Narnia tattoo myself. "Courage, dear heart" from The Voyage of Dawn Treader. This is great.

  6. Daniel Louden says

    Nerds on the Internet are quick to point out that The Silver Chair is the 4th book in the series. Reading them in the order they were published is a much richer reading experience.

    This is a personal crusade.

    • Mercy says

      I totally agree! I ALWAYS encourage people to follow the books in the order in which they were published.

  7. Amanda S says

    It looks like the script and placement To Write Love On Her Arms uses. Was that done on purpose? or just coincidence??

  8. xin says

    @ Amanda S: I'd say coincidence, because I didn't know about To Write Love On Her Arms until I was done with the tattoo.

    @ Daniel: I agree about the reading experience order. But I got started on Narnia when I was grade 4, and began with The Horse and his Boy because I liked horses. I don't think I've done too badly, on the whole. ;)

  9. Hailey says

    Absolutely incredible. I'm a Narnia freak too, and I also love this quote. I love that it represents your faith as well as your love of the Narnia books.

  10. TS says

    I adore Narnia, and I think that's a beautiful tattoo – I love the comma. The comma is hot – and a wonderful sentiment.

    I wonder what you make of the bible prohibiting tattoos (Leviticus 19:28)?

  11. Jamie says

    I was researching literary tattoos and had picked this particular Puddleglum monologue as an idea for my first tattoo. I can't believe someone else loves it as much as I do and that they envisioned such an exquisite tattoo. Great job!! Where did you get it done?

  12. LiAna says

    This tatoo is so very inspirational! And it makes me happy (since The Silver Chair is one of my favorite books)

    I love the passage you took it from and I also love what you said about your faith!

    Simple beauty in these profound words is simply beautiful.

  13. HannahGrace says

    The passage that this comes from is my favourite from the entire series. It always brings a tear to my eye, it is so beautiful and means so much to me and my faith as well. I was amazed when I found your tattoo as I had spent a long time trying to work out how to fit the entire passage on myself, until I decided on these simple words too. I'm yet to have it done though, still trying to make it perfect. Your's is beautiful.


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