Misunderstandings

I read a lot as a kid. I mean a LOT. I don’t have any memory of being pre-literate. As far back as my memories go, that’s how long I’ve been reading.

One of my favorite series as a kid was The Chronicles of Narnia. My father read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to us kids, then we read the rest on our own. (And in publication order, not in chronological order, thankyouverymuch. Can you imagine how confusing it would be to read The Magician’s Nephew, first thing, without knowing anything about Narnia and Aslan? Yeesh.)

So I would read the series over and over again. I would finish up The Last Battle, and start right over the next night with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. And I say “the next night” because I did a lot of reading in bed. I had the top bunk, and my sister had the bottom. I don’t know what she got up to down there, but I would read by the light that spilled in from the hallway, until my eyes got sandy and I fell asleep. And sometimes that dim light would play tricks on me.

I was in (probably) my first reading of The Silver Chair. Jill and Eustace had just tumbled into Narnia, Eustace going first, and Jill following. Jill got to this unknown place alone, landing in the edge of a cliff, and the first thing she saw was an enormous creature. This beast was rescuing Eustace from a fall off of the cliff by blowing him out to sea, to safety on the mainland, but Jill didn’t know any of that at the time. All she saw was this great creature.

“So she turned and looked at the creature. It was a lion.”

But in the dim light from the hallway, I didn’t read “lion”.

I read, “So she turned and looked at the creature. It was a hen.”

The impact of the moment was … somewhat diminished.

I turned the page, and the hen had disappeared, to be replaced by a lion, which clearly was Aslan. Now I was even MORE confused. Where did the hen go? And what was a hen doing there in the first damn place?

This once-in-a-while dyslexia has plagued me to this day. Just last month, I read a book in which a badass female character was wearing wombat boots.

How about you? Have you ever misread something, with hilarious (or tragic, or underwhelming) results? Let me know in the comments!

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