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Reflections from Archenland: Some Thoughts for Leaders

The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia series, tells of Prince Cor’s return to Archenland. The long lost prince began his nostos in Tashbaan, proceeded through the desert, and finally arrived in Anvard, the Archenland capital. But, much like Odysseus, the celebration of Cor’s return is delayed by fierce battle against enemies who threaten his home and kingdom.

When the dust of battle settles, Cor is more properly reunited with his father, King Lune, and hears the news that he will one day be king of Archenland. Cor’s reply is one of fear and even apology to his twin brother, Corin. “Oh dear,” said Cor. “I don’t want to at all. And Corin – I am most dreadfully sorry. I never dreamed my turning up was going to chisel you out of your kingdom.”

Corin, however, immediately rejoices, saying, “Hurrah! Hurrah! I shan’t have to be King. I shan’t have to be King. I’ll always be a prince. It’s princes have all the fun.”

King Lune, who is previously described as “the kindest-hearted of men” answers Prince Cor with both honesty and grace: “And that’s truer than thy brother knows, Cor. For this is what it means to be a king; to be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there’s hunger in the land (as must be now and then in bad years) to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in your land.”

Some long for leadership positions for what it can give them. Others understand leadership.

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