Two vital additions to Apuleius’ plot, in Lewis, are Orual’s two mentors and “father-figures,” Bardia and the Fox. The latter is introduced first. He is a Greek slave, bought by the King of Glome to tutor his daughters (and, he vainly hopes, his son). The Fox is characteristically Greek, a philosopher, a rationalist, devoid of the aggression shown by all the barbarians around him, preaching only self-mastery and the power of human potential. His blind spot is that he cannot understand anything religious at all. When the Priest of Ungit comes with the proposal to sacrifice Psyche as the Accursed (who has sinned against the gods by accepting divine honors) and as the country’s best and noblest (to avert the drought and plague), he says it is flat nonsense. How can Psyche be the worst and the best? he demands. There is no logic in it. Divine matters do not turn on logic, the Priest replies. Divine knowledge is not clear, like water, but thick, like blood. In mysteries many contradictions are reconciled. Orual, and through her the reader, is brought painfully to see that there is a kind of wisdom which the Fox, good man that he is, totally lacks.
Some of this is lent to Orual by her other counselor, Bardia, captain of the guards, who is soldierly, barbarous, practical, and superstitious where the Fox is philosophical, Greek, logical, and powerless. Whereas the Fox thinks that Psyche has been taken from her stake by a bandit, Bardia thinks that she...
(The entire section is 490 words.)