Title: Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle
Home: A wigwam in the Eastern Marshes, east of Lantern Waste and north of Cair Paravel. Marsh-wiggles like privacy, so their homes are a good distance from one another.
Physical Description: He has a long thin face with rather sunken cheeks, a sharp nose, and no beard. His fingers and hands are webbed like a frog's. He is taller than most men and skinny. He has very long legs and arms, but his body is not much bigger than that of a dwarf. His greeny-grey hair hangs over his large ears, and each lock is flat rather than round, so that they look like tiny reeds. He dresses in loose earth-colored clothes and wears a high, pointed hat with an enormously wide flat brim.
Tools: Pipe, tinder box, sword, bow
First Appearance: The Silver Chair, Ch. 5 (1953)
~ The Silver Chair ~ (1953)Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole arrive in Narnia and tell the Owls that they need to find the ruins of a giant city to start their search for Prince Rilian, the Owls decide to take them to the Marsh-wiggle Puddleglum. Puddleglum decides to accompany them on their quest because the other Marsh-wiggles claim that he is too flighty and needs to learn that there is more to life than "fricasseed frogs and eel pie." He provides weapons and gear for the children, and they set off the next day. On the road, they meet the Lady of the Green Kirtle, who advises them to go to Harfang, the home of the Gentle Giants. Puddleglum reluctantly agrees, but calls their going to Harfang "the silliest thing in the world." As they are struggling to reach Harfang in the middle of a snowstorm, Puddleglum notices something odd about the landscape, but Eustace and Jill pay no attention to him. They later discover that, had they looked closer, they might have seen the words "UNDER ME" cut into the hillside. When they finally see these words, Puddleglum deduces that they must search for the lost prince under the ruined city. In the darkness of Underworld, they meet a strange prince bound by an enchantment. When the prince asks them in the name of Aslan to free him from the Silver Chair, Puddleglum tells the children that they must follow Aslan's Sign and free the raving prince, whatever the consequences. They cut the prince's bonds and break the enchantment, and in so doing they discover that he is the long-lost Prince Rilian of Narnia. When the Lady of the Green Kirtle arrives, she tries to use her magic fire to make them forget about Narnia and Aslan. Just when they are about to succumb to her deceptive words, Puddleglum bravely stamps on the magic fire with his bare foot and breaks the enchantment. After the Witch transforms into a snake, Puddleglum helps hack off its head. As they make their way to Overland, Puddleglum catches the Gnome, Golg, and they learn from him that Underland is about to be destroyed. They escape to Narnia and bring Prince Rilian to his dying father, King Caspian.
~ The Last Battle ~ (1956)
Puddleglum’s loyalty to Aslan and knowledge of the outdoors make him a good companion to Jill and Eustace in their quest to find Prince Rilian. He is known for voicing the worst possible scenario and then trying to “put a bold face on it.” When the children first meet Puddleglum, he tells them he does not expect to catch any eels, but ends up catching a dozen or so. When the three of them come to a Giant bridge, he says it will turn into mist right when they are in the middle of it (it doesn't). But Puddleglum is also known for his optimism in the worst situations. Even in the darkness Underworld, he tells Jill not to let her spirits down. "We're back on the right lines," he says. "We were to go under the Ruined City, and we are under it." Perhaps Puddleglum’s most memorable moment of loyalty to Aslan is when he stamps out the Lady of the Green Kirtle's enchanted fire and tells her he’s going to live like a Narnian even if there isn’t any Narnia. At their parting, Jill apologizes to Puddleglum for calling him a wet blanket, and tells him that he is as brave as a lion.
C. S. Lewis' inspiration for Puddleglum came from Fred Paxford (1898 – 1979), who served as a handyman, gardener, and occasional cook for over 30 years at Lewis' home (the Kilns) in Oxford. He left the Kilns shortly after Lewis' death in 1963. Douglas Gresham described him as "a simple and earthy man who might be called a cheerful, eternal pessimist." If someone said "good morning" to Paxford, he might respond by saying "Ah, looks like rain before lunch though if it doesn't snow or hail that is." For further reading on Paxford, see Douglas Gresham's book Jack's Life.
- "Puddleglum's my name. But it doesn't matter if you forget it. I can always tell you again." (SC, Ch. 5)
- "Why, it's not in reason that you should like our sort of victuals, though I've no doubt you'll put a bold face on it. All the same, while I am a catching them, if you two could try to light the fire—no harm trying—! The wood's behind the wigwam. It may be wet. You could light it inside the wigwam, and then we'd get all the smoke in our eyes. Or you could light it outside, and then the rain would come and put it out. Here's my tinder-box. You wouldn't know how to use it, I expect." (SC, Ch. 5)
- "Those eels will take a mortal long time to cook, and either of you might faint with hunger before they're done. I knew a little girl—but I'd better not tell you that story. It might lower your spirits, and that's a thing I never do." (SC, Ch. 5)
- "Got to start by finding it [the ruined city], have we? Not allowed to start by looking for it, I suppose?" (SC, Ch. 5)
- "Nothing wrong with me. Not a frog. Nothing frog with me. I'm a respectabiggle." (SC, Ch. 7)
- "You see, Aslan didn't tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do." (SC, Ch. 11)
- "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." (SC, Ch. 12)
- "And you must always remember there's one good thing about being trapped down here: It'll save funeral expenses." (SC, Ch. 14)
- Ron Moody: Focus on the Family Radio Theater, 1999 – 2002
- Bernard Cribbins: BBC Radio Tales of Narnia