The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis (2024)


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Title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.A Story for Children.
Author: Lewis, C. S. [Clive Staples] (1898-1963)
Date of first publication: 1950
Edition used as base for this ebook:New York: Macmillan, undated[twenty-first printing]
Date first posted: 26 January 2014
Date last updated: 26 January 2014
Project Gutenberg Canada ebook #1152

This ebook was produced by Al Haines

[Transcriber's note: Because of copyright considerations,the illustrations by Pauline Baynes (1922-2008)have been omitted from this etext.]

A Story for Children

BY C. S. LEWIS

To Lucy Barfield

My dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had notrealized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result youare already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it isprinted and bound you will be older still. But some day youwill be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. Youcan then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, andtell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf tohear, and too old to understand a word you say, but Ishall still be

your affectionate Godfather,
C. S. Lewis

CONTENTS

I. Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe
II. What Lucy Found There
III. Edmund and the Wardrobe
IV. Turkish Delight
V. Back on This Side of the Door
VI. Into the Forest
VII. A Day with the Beavers
VIII. What Happened after Dinner
IX. In the Witch's House
X. The Spell Begins to Break
XI. Aslan Is Nearer
XII. Peter's First Battle
XIII. Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time
XIV. The Triumph of the Witch
XV. Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time
XVI. What Happened about the Statues
XVII. The Hunting of the White Stag

CHAPTER I

Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe

Once there were four children whose names werePeter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story isabout something that happened to them whenthey were sent away from London during the war becauseof the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an oldProfessor who lived in the heart of the country, ten milesfrom the nearest railway station and two miles from thenearest post office. He had no wife and he lived in a verylarge house with a housekeeper called Mrs. Macready andthree servants. (Their names were Ivy, Margaret andBetty, but they do not come into the story much.) Hehimself was a very old man with shaggy white hair, whichgrew over most of his face as well as on his head, and theyliked him almost at once; but on the first evening when hecame out to meet them at the front door he was soodd-looking that Lucy (who was the youngest) was a littleafraid of him, and Edmund (who was the next youngest)wanted to laugh and had to keep on pretending he wasblowing his nose to hide it.

As soon as they had said good night to the Professor andgone upstairs on the first night, the boys came into thegirls' room and they all talked it over.

"We've fallen on our feet and no mistake," said Peter."This is going to be perfectly splendid. That old chap willlet us do anything we like."

"I think he's an old dear," said Susan.

"Oh, come off it!" said Edmund, who was tired andpretending not to be tired, which always made himbad-tempered. "Don't go on talking like that."

"Like what?" said Susan; "and anyway, it's time youwere in bed."

"Trying to talk like Mother," said Edmund. "And whoare you to say when I'm to go to bed? Go to bed yourself."

"Hadn't we all better go to bed?" said Lucy. "There'ssure to be a row if we're heard talking here."

"No there won't," said Peter. "I tell you this is the sortof house where no one's going to mind what we do. Anyway,they won't hear us. It's about ten minutes' walk fromhere down to that dining room, and any amount of stairsand passages in between."

"What's that noise?" said Lucy suddenly. It was a farlarger house than she had ever been in before and thethought of all those long passages and rows of doorsleading into empty rooms was beginning to make her feel alittle creepy.

"It's only a bird, silly," said Edmund.

"It's an owl," said Peter. "This is going to be a wonderfulplace for birds. I shall go to bed now. I say, let's go andexplore to-morrow. You might find anything in a placelike this. Did you see those mountains as we came along?And the woods? There might be eagles. There might bestags. There'll be hawks."

"Badgers!" said Lucy.

"Snakes!" said Edmund.

"Foxes!" said Susan.

But when next morning came, there was a steady rainfalling, so thick that when you looked out of the windowyou could see neither the mountains nor the woods noreven the stream in the garden.

"Of course it would be raining!" said Edmund. Theyhad just finished breakfast with the Professor and wereupstairs in the room he had set apart for them—a long,low room with two windows looking out in one directionand two in another.

"Do stop grumbling, Ed," said Susan. "Ten to one it'llclear up in an hour or so. And in the meantime we'repretty well off. There's a wireless and lots of books."

"Not for me," said Peter, "I'm going to explore in thehouse."

Everyone agreed to this and that was how the adventuresbegan. It was the sort of house that you never seemto come to the end of, and it was full of unexpected places.The first few doors they tried led only into sparebedrooms, as everyone had expected that they would; butsoon they came to a very long room full of pictures andthere they found a suit of armour; and after that was aroom all hung with green, with a harp in one corner; andthen came three steps down and five steps up, and then akind of little upstairs hall and a door that led out onto abalcony, and then a whole series of rooms that led intoeach other and were lined with books—most of them veryold books and some bigger than a Bible in a church. Andshortly after that they looked into a room that was quiteempty except for one big wardrobe; the sort that has alooking-glass in the door. There was nothing else in theroom at all except a dead blue-bottle on the window-sill.

"Nothing there!" said Peter, and they all trooped outagain—all except Lucy. She stayed behind because shethought it would be worth while trying the door of thewardrobe, even though she felt almost sure that it wouldbe locked. To her surprise it opened quite easily, and twomoth-balls dropped out.

Looking into the inside, she saw several coats hangingup—mostly long fur coats. There was nothing Lucy likedso much as the smell and feel of fur. She immediatelystepped into the wardrobe and got in among the coats andrubbed her face against them, leaving the door open, ofcourse, because she knew that it is very foolish to shutoneself into any wardrobe. Soon she went further in and foundthat there was a second row of coats hanging up behindthe first one. It was almost quite dark in there and shekept her arms stretched out in front of her so as not tobump her face into the back of the wardrobe. She took astep further in—then two or three steps—always expectingto feel woodwork against the tips of her fingers. But shecould not feel it.

"This must be a simply enormous wardrobe!" thoughtLucy, going still further in and pushing the soft folds ofthe coats aside to make room for her. Then she noticedthat there was something crunching under her feet. "Iwonder is that more moth-balls?" she thought, stoopingdown to feel it with her hands. But instead of feeling thehard, smooth wood of the floor of the wardrobe, she feltsomething soft and powdery and extremely cold, "Thisis very queer," she said, and went on a step or two further.

Next moment she found that what was rubbing againsther face and hands was no longer soft fur but somethinghard and rough and even prickly. "Why, it is just likebranches of trees!" exclaimed Lucy. And then she saw thatthere was a light ahead of her; not a few inches awaywhere the back of the wardrobe ought to have been, buta long way off. Something cold and soft was falling on her.A moment later she found that she was standing in themiddle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feetand snowflakes falling through the air.

Lucy felt a little frightened, but she felt very inquisitiveand excited as well. She looked back over her shoulder andthere, between the dark tree-trunks, she could still see theopen doorway of the wardrobe and even catch a glimpseof the empty room from which she had set out. (She had,of course, left the door open, for she knew that it is a verysilly thing to shut oneself into a wardrobe.) It seemed tobe still daylight there. "I can always get back if anythinggoes wrong," thought Lucy. She began to walk forward,crunch-crunch, over the snow and through the woodtowards the other light.

In about ten minutes she reached it and found that itwas a lamp-post. As she stood looking at it, wonderingwhy there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood andwondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter offeet coming towards her. And soon after that a very strangeperson stepped out from among the trees into the light ofthe lamp-post.

He was only a little taller than Lucy herself and hecarried over his head an umbrella, white with snow. From thewaist upwards he was like a man, but his legs were shapedlike a goat's (the hair on them was glossy black) andinstead of feet he had goat's hoofs. He also had a tail, butLucy did not notice this at first because it was neatlycaught up over the arm that held the umbrella so as tokeep it from trailing in the snow. He had a red woollenmuffler round his neck and his skin was rather reddish too.He had a strange, but pleasant little face with a shortpointed beard and curly hair, and out of the hair therestuck two horns, one on each side of his forehead. One ofhis hands, as I have said, held the umbrella: in the otherarm he carried several brown paper parcels. What withthe parcels and the snow it looked just as if he had beendoing his Christmas shopping. He was a Faun. And whenhe saw Lucy he gave such a start of surprise that hedropped all his parcels.

"Goodness gracious me!" exclaimed the Faun.

CHAPTER II

What Lucy Found There

"Good evening," said Lucy. But the Faun was sobusy picking up his parcels that at first he did notreply. When he had finished he made her a little bow.

"Good evening, good evening," said the Faun. "Excuseme—I don't want to be inquisitive—but should I be rightin thinking that you are a Daughter of Eve?"

"My name's Lucy," said she, not quite understanding him.

"But you are—forgive me—you are what they call agirl?" asked the Faun.

"Of course I'm a girl," said Lucy.

"You are in fact Human?"

"Of course I'm human," said Lucy, still a little puzzled.

"To be sure, to be sure," said the Faun. "How stupid ofme! But I've never seen a Son of Adam or a Daughter ofEve before. I am delighted. That is to say—" and then hestopped as if he had been going to say something he hadnot intended but had remembered in time. "Delighted,delighted," he went on. "Allow me to introduce myself.My name is Tumnus."

"I am very pleased to meet you, Mr. Tumnus," said Lucy.

"And may I ask, O Lucy, Daughter of Eve," saidMr. Tumnus, "how you have come into Narnia?"

"Narnia? What's that?" said Lucy.

"This is the land of Narnia," said the Faun, "where weare now; all that lies between the lamp-post and thegreat castle of Cair Paravel on the eastern sea. Andyou—you have come from the wild woods of the west?"

"I—I got in through the wardrobe in the spare room,"said Lucy.

"Ah!" said Mr. Tumnus in a rather melancholy voice,"if only I had worked harder at geography when I was alittle Faun, I should no doubt know all about those strangecountries. It is too late now."

"But they aren't countries at all," said Lucy, almostlaughing. "It's only just back there—at least—I'm notsure. It is summer there."

"Meanwhile," said Mr. Tumnus, "it is winter in Narnia,and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch coldif we stand here talking in the snow. Daughter of Evefrom the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summerreigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would itbe if you came and had tea with me?"

"Thank you very much, Mr. Tumnus," said Lucy. "ButI was wondering whether I ought to be getting back."

"It's only just round the corner," said the Faun, "andthere'll be a roaring fire—and toast—and sardines—andcake."

"Well, it's very kind of you," said Lucy. "But I shan't beable to stay long."

"If you will take my arm, Daughter of Eve," said Mr. Tumnus,"I shall be able to hold the umbrella over bothof us. That's the way. Now—off we go."

And so Lucy found herself walking through the woodarm in arm with this strange creature as if they had knownone another all their lives.

They had not gone far before they came to a placewhere the ground became rough and there were rocks allabout and little hills up and little hills down. At the bottomof one small valley Mr. Tumnus turned suddenly aside asif he were going to walk straight into an unusually largerock, but at the last moment Lucy found he was leadingher into the entrance of a cave. As soon as they were insideshe found herself blinking in the light of a wood fire. ThenMr. Tumnus stooped and took a flaming piece of woodout of the fire with a neat little pair of tongs, and lit alamp. "Now we shan't be long," he said, and immediatelyput a kettle on.

Lucy thought she had never been in a nicer place. It wasa little, dry, clean cave of reddish stone with a carpet onthe floor and two little chairs ("one for me and one for afriend," said Mr. Tumnus) and a table and a dresser anda mantelpiece over the fire and above that a picture of anold Faun with a grey beard. In one corner there was adoor which Lucy thought must lead to Mr. Tumnus'bedroom, and on one wall was a shelf full of books. Lucylooked at these while he was setting out the tea things.They had titles like The Life and Letters of Silenus orNymphs and Their Ways or Men, Monks and Gamekeepers;a Study in Popular Legend or Is Man a Myth?

"Now, Daughter of Eve!" said the Faun.

And really it was a wonderful tea. There was a nicebrown egg, lightly boiled, for each of them, and thensardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toastwith honey, and then a sugar-topped cake. And whenLucy was tired of eating the Faun began to talk. He hadwonderful tales to tell of life in the forest. He told aboutthe midnight dances and how the Nymphs who lived in thewells and the Dryads who lived in the trees came out todance with the Fauns; about long hunting parties afterthe milk-white Stag who could give you wishes if youcaught him; about feasting and treasure-seeking with thewild Red Dwarfs in deep mines and caverns far beneaththe forest floor; and then about summer when the woodswere green and old Silenus on his fat donkey would cometo visit them, and sometimes Bacchus himself, and thenthe streams would run with wine instead of water and thewhole forest would give itself up to jollification for weekson end. "Not that it isn't always winter now," he addedgloomily. Then to cheer himself up he took out from itscase on the dresser a strange little flute that looked as if itwere made of straw and began to play. And the tune heplayed made Lucy want to cry and laugh and dance andgo to sleep all at the same time. It must have been hourslater when she shook herself and said,

"Oh Mr. Tumnus—I'm so sorry to stop you, and I dolove that tune—but really, I must go home. I only meantto stay for a few minutes."

"It's no good now, you know," said the Faun, layingdown his flute and shaking his head at her very sorrowfully.

"No good?" said Lucy, jumping up and feeling ratherfrightened. "What do you mean? I've got to go home atonce. The others will be wondering what has happened tome." But a moment later she asked, "Mr. Tumnus! Whateveris the matter?" for the Faun's brown eyes had filledwith tears and then the tears began trickling down hischeeks, and soon they were running off the end of his nose;and at last he covered his face with his hands and began tohowl.

"Mr. Tumnus! Mr. Tumnus!" said Lucy in great distress."Don't! Don't! What is the matter? Aren't youwell? Dear Mr. Tumnus, do tell me what is wrong." Butthe Faun continued sobbing as if his heart would break.And even when Lucy went over and put her arms roundhim and lent him her handkerchief, he did not stop. Hemerely took the handkerchief and kept on using it,wringing it out with both hands whenever it got too wet to beany more use, so that presently Lucy was standing in adamp patch.

"Mr. Tumnus!" bawled Lucy in his ear, shaking him."Do stop. Stop it at once! You ought to be ashamed ofyourself, a great big Faun like you. What on earth are youcrying about?"

"Oh—oh—oh!" sobbed Mr. Tumnus, "I'm cryingbecause I'm such a bad Faun."

"I don't think you're a bad Faun at all," said Lucy. "Ithink you are a very good Faun. You are the nicest FaunI've ever met."

"Oh—oh—you wouldn't say that if you knew," repliedMr. Tumnus between his sobs. "No, I'm a bad Faun. Idon't suppose there ever was a worse Faun since thebeginning of the world."

"But what have you done?" asked Lucy.

"My old father, now," said Mr. Tumnus, "that's hispicture over the mantelpiece. He would never have donea thing like this."

"A thing like what?" said Lucy.

"Like what I've done," said the Faun. "Taken serviceunder the White Witch. That's what I am. I'm in the payof the White Witch."

"The White Witch? Who is she?"

"Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb.It's she that makes it always winter. Always winter andnever Christmas; think of that!"

"How awful!" said Lucy. "But what does she pay you for?"

"That's the worst of it," said Mr. Tumnus with a deepgroan. "I'm a kidnapper for her, that's what I am. Lookat me, Daughter of Eve. Would you believe that I'm thesort of Faun to meet a poor innocent child in the wood,one that had never done me any harm, and pretend to befriendly with it, and invite it home to my cave, all for thesake of lulling it asleep and then handing it over to theWhite Witch?"

"No," said Lucy. "I'm sure you wouldn't do anything ofthe sort."

"But I have," said the Faun.

"Well," said Lucy rather slowly (for she wanted to betruthful and yet not to be too hard on him), "well, thatwas pretty bad. But you're so sorry for it that I'm sure youwill never do it again."

"Daughter of Eve, don't you understand?" said theFaun. "It isn't something I have done. I'm doing it now,this very moment."

"What do you mean?" cried Lucy, turning very white.

"You are the child," said Mr. Tumnus. "I had ordersfrom the White Witch that if ever I saw a Son of Adam ora Daughter of Eve in the wood, I was to catch them andhand them over to her. And you are the first I ever met.And I've pretended to be your friend and asked you totea, and all the time I've been meaning to wait till youwere asleep and then go and tell her."

"Oh but you won't, Mr. Tumnus," said Lucy. "Youwon't, will you? Indeed, indeed you really mustn't."

"And if I don't," said he, beginning to cry again, "she'ssure to find out. And she'll have my tail cut off, and myhorns sawn off, and my beard plucked out, and she'll waveher wand over my beautiful cloven hoofs and turn theminto horrid solid hoofs like a wretched horse's. And if sheis extra and specially angry she'll turn me into stone and Ishall be only a statue of a Faun in her horrible house untilthe four thrones at Cair Paravel are filled—and goodnessknows when that will happen, or whether it will everhappen at all."

"I'm very sorry, Mr. Tumnus," said Lucy. "But pleaselet me go home."

"Of course I will," said the Faun. "Of course I've got to.I see that now. I hadn't known what Humans were likebefore I met you. Of course I can't give you up to theWitch; not now that I know you. But we must be off atonce. I'll see you back to the lamp-post. I suppose you canfind your own way from there back to Spare Oom andWar Drobe?"

"I'm sure I can," said Lucy.

"We must go as quietly as we can," said Mr. Tumnus."The whole wood is full of her spies. Even some of thetrees are on her side."

They both got up and left the tea things on the table,and Mr. Tumnus once more put up his umbrella and gaveLucy his arm, and they went out into the snow. Thejourney back was not at all like the journey to the Faun'scave; they stole along as quickly as they could, withoutspeaking a word, and Mr. Tumnus kept to the darkestplaces. Lucy was relieved when they reached thelamp-post again.

"Do you know your way from here, Daughter of Eve?"said Tumnus.

Lucy looked very hard between the trees and could justsee in the distance a patch of light that looked likedaylight. "Yes," she said, "I can see the wardrobe door."

"Then be off home as quick as you can," said the Faun,"and—c-can you ever forgive me for what I meant to do?"

"Why, of course I can," said Lucy, shaking him heartilyby the hand. "And I do hope you won't get into dreadfultrouble on my account."

"Farewell, Daughter of Eve," said he. "Perhaps I maykeep the handkerchief?"

"Rather!" said Lucy, and then ran towards the far-offpatch of daylight as quickly as her legs would carry her.And presently instead of rough branches brushing past hershe felt coats, and instead of crunching snow under herfeet she felt wooden boards, and all at once she foundherself jumping out of the wardrobe into the same empty roomfrom which the whole adventure had started. She shut thewardrobe door tightly behind her and looked around,panting for breath. It was still raining and she could hearthe voices of the others in the passage.

"I'm here," she shouted. "I'm here. I've come back, I'mall right."

CHAPTER III

Edmund and the Wardrobe

Lucy ran out of the empty room into the passage andfound the other three.

"It's all right," she repeated, "I've come back."

"What on earth are you talking about, Lucy?" askedSusan.

"Why?" said Lucy in amazement, "haven't you all beenwondering where I was?"

"So you've been hiding, have you?" said Peter. "Poorold Lu, hiding and nobody noticed! You'll have to hidelonger than that if you want people to start looking foryou."

"But I've been away for hours and hours," said Lucy.

The others all stared at one another.

"Batty!" said Edmund tapping his head. "Quite batty."

"What do you mean, Lu?" asked Peter.

"What I said," answered Lucy. "It was just afterbreakfast when I went into the wardrobe, and I've been awayfor hours and hours, and had tea, and all sorts of thingshave happened."

"Don't be silly, Lucy," said Susan. "We've only justcome out of that room a moment ago, and you were there then."

"She's not being silly at all," said Peter, "she's justmaking up a story for fun, aren't you, Lu? And why shouldn'tshe?"

"No, Peter, I'm not," she said. "It's—it's a magic wardrobe.There's a wood inside it, and it's snowing, and there'sa Faun and a witch and it's called Narnia; come and see."

The others did not know what to think, but Lucy wasso excited that they all went back with her into the room.She rushed ahead of them, flung open the door of thewardrobe and cried, "Now! go in and see for yourselves."

"Why, you goose," said Susan, putting her head insideand pulling the fur coats apart, "it's just an ordinarywardrobe, look! there's the back of it."

Then everyone looked in and pulled the coats apart; andthey all saw—Lucy herself saw—a perfectly ordinarywardrobe. There was no wood and no snow, only the backof the wardrobe, with hooks on it. Peter went in andrapped his knuckles on it to make sure that it wassolid.

"A jolly good hoax, Lu," he said as he came out again,"you have really taken us in, I must admit. We halfbelieved you."

"But it wasn't a hoax at all," said Lucy, "really andtruly. It was all different a moment ago. Honestly it was.I promise."

"Come, Lu," said Peter, "that's going a bit far. You'vehad your joke. Hadn't you better drop it now?"

Lucy grew very red in the face and tried to say something,though she hardly knew what she was trying to say,and burst into tears.

For the next few days she was very miserable. She couldhave made it up with the others quite easily at any momentif she could have brought herself to say that the wholething was only a story made up for fun. But Lucy was avery truthful girl and she knew that she was really in theright; and she could not bring herself to say this. Theothers who thought she was telling a lie, and a silly lie too,made her very unhappy. The two elder ones did thiswithout meaning to do it, but Edmund could be spiteful, and onthis occasion he was spiteful. He sneered and jeered atLucy and kept on asking her if she'd found any other newcountries in other cupboards all over the house. Whatmade it worse was that these days ought to have beendelightful. The weather was fine and they were out of doorsfrom morning to night, bathing, fishing, climbing trees,birds' nesting, and lying in the heather. But Lucy couldnot properly enjoy any of it. And so things went on untilthe next wet day.

That day, when it came to the afternoon and there wasstill no sign of a break in the weather, they decided to playhide-and-seek. Susan was "It" and as soon as the othersscattered to hide, Lucy went to the room where thewardrobe was. She did not mean to hide in the wardrobe,because she knew that would only set the others talking againabout the whole wretched business. But she did want tohave one more look inside it; for by this time she wasbeginning to wonder herself whether Narnia and the Faunhad not been a dream. The house was so large andcomplicated and full of hiding places that she thought shewould have time to have one look into the wardrobe andthen hide somewhere else. But as soon as she reached it sheheard steps in the passage outside, and then there wasnothing for it but to jump into the wardrobe and hold thedoor closed behind her. She did not shut it properlybecause she knew that it is very silly to shut oneself into awardrobe, even if it is not a magic one.

Now the steps she had heard were those of Edmund;and he came into the room just in time to see Lucy vanishinginto the wardrobe. He at once decided to get into ithimself—not because he thought it a particularly goodplace to hide but because he wanted to go on teasing herabout her imaginary country. He opened the door. Therewere the coats hanging up as usual, and a smell ofmothballs, and darkness and silence, and no sign of Lucy. "Shethinks I'm Susan come to catch her," said Edmund tohimself, "and so she's keeping very quiet in at the back." Hejumped in and shut the door, forgetting what a very foolishthing this is to do. Then he began feeling about for Lucyin the dark. He had expected to find her in a few secondsand was very surprised when he did not. He decided toopen the door again and let in some light. But he could notfind the door either. He didn't like this at all and begangroping wildly in every direction; he even shouted out."Lucy! Lu! Where are you? I know you're here."

There was no answer and Edmund noticed that his ownvoice had a curious sound—not the sound you expect in acupboard but a kind of open-air sound. He alsonoticed that he was unexpectedly cold; and then he saw alight.

"Thank goodness," said Edmund, "the door must haveswung open of its own accord." He forgot all about Lucyand went towards the light which he thought was the opendoor of the wardrobe. But instead of finding himselfstepping out into the spare room he found himself stepping outfrom the shadow of some thick dark fir trees into an openplace in the middle of a wood.

There was crisp, dry snow under his feet and more snowlying on the branches of the trees. Overhead there was apale blue sky, the sort of sky one sees on a fine winter dayin the morning. Straight ahead of him he saw between thetree trunks the sun, just rising, very red and clear.Everything was perfectly still, as if he were the only livingcreature in that country. There was not even a robin or asquirrel among the trees, and the wood stretched as faras he could see in every direction. He shivered.

He now remembered that he had been looking forLucy; and also how unpleasant he had been to her abouther "imaginary country" which now turned out not tohave been imaginary at all. He thought that she must besomewhere quite close and so he shouted, "Lucy! Lucy!I'm here too—Edmund."

There was no answer.

"She's angry about all the things I've been sayinglately," thought Edmund. And though he did not like toadmit that he had been wrong, he also did not much likebeing alone in this strange, cold, quiet place; so he shoutedagain.

"I say, Lu! I'm sorry I didn't believe you. I see now youwere right all along. Do come out. Make it Pax."

Still there was no answer.

"Just like a girl," said Edmund to himself, "sulkingsomewhere, and won't accept an apology." He lookedround him again and decided he did not much like thisplace, and had almost made up his mind to go home, whenhe heard, very far off in the wood, a sound of bells. Helistened and the sound came nearer and nearer and at lastthere swept into sight a sledge drawn by two reindeer.

The reindeer were about the size of Shetland ponies andtheir hair was so white that even the snow hardly lookedwhite compared with them; their branching horns weregilded and shone like something on fire when the sunrisecaught them. Their harness was of scarlet leather andcovered with bells. On the sledge, driving the reindeer, sata fat dwarf who would have been about three feet high ifhe had been standing. He was dressed in polar bear's furand on his head he wore a red hood with a long gold tasselhanging down from its point; his huge beard covered hisknees and served him instead of a rug. But behind him, ona much higher seat in the middle of the sledge sat a verydifferent person—a great lady, taller than any woman thatEdmund had ever seen. She also was covered in white furup to her throat and held a long straight golden wand inher right hand and wore a golden crown on her head. Herface was white—not merely pale, but white like snow orpaper or icing sugar, except for her very red mouth. It wasa beautiful face in other respects, but proud and cold andstern.

The sledge was a fine sight as it came sweeping towardsEdmund with the bells jingling and the Dwarf cracking hiswhip and the snow flying up on each side of it.

"Stop!" said the Lady, and the Dwarf pulled thereindeer up so sharp that they almost sat down. Then theyrecovered themselves and stood champing their bits andblowing. In the frosty air the breath coming out of theirnostrils looked like smoke.

"And what, pray, are you?" said the Lady, looking hardat Edmund.

"I'm—I'm—my name's Edmund," said Edmund ratherawkwardly. He did not like the way she looked at him.

The Lady frowned. "Is that how you address a Queen?"she asked, looking sterner than ever.

"I beg your pardon, your Majesty, I didn't know," saidEdmund.

"Not know the Queen of Narnia?" cried she. "Ha! Youshall know us better hereafter. But I repeat—what areyou?"

"Please, your Majesty," said Edmund, "I don't knowwhat you mean. I'm at school—at least I was—it's theholidays now."

CHAPTER IV

Turkish Delight

"But what are you?" said the Queen again. "Are youa great overgrown dwarf that has cut off its beard."

"No, your Majesty," said Edmund, "I never had abeard, I'm a boy."

"A boy!" said she. "Do you mean you are a Son of Adam?"

Edmund stood still, saying nothing. He was too confusedby this time to understand what the question meant.

"I see you are an idiot, whatever else you may be," saidthe Queen. "Answer me, once and for all, or I shall losemy patience. Are you human?"

"Yes, your Majesty," said Edmund.

"And how, pray, did you come to enter my dominions?"

"Please, your Majesty, I came in through a wardrobe."

"A wardrobe? What do you mean?"

"I—I opened a door and just found myself here, yourMajesty," said Edmund.

"Ha!" said the Queen, speaking more to herself than tohim. "A door. A door from the world of men! I have heardof such things. This may wreck all. But he is only one, andhe is easily dealt with." As she spoke these words she rosefrom her seat and looked Edmund full in the face, her eyesflaming; at the same moment she raised her wand. Edmundfelt sure that she was going to do something dreadfulbut he seemed unable to move. Then, just as he gavehimself up for lost, she appeared to change her mind.

"My poor child," she said in quite a different voice,"how cold you look! Come and sit with me here on thesledge and I will put my mantle around you and we willtalk."

Edmund did not like this arrangement at all but hedared not disobey; he stepped on to the sledge and sat ather feet, and she put a fold of her fur mantle around himand tucked it well in.

"Perhaps something hot to drink?" said the Queen."Should you like that?"

"Yes please, your Majesty," said Edmund, whose teethwere chattering.

The Queen took from somewhere among her wrappingsa very small bottle which looked as if it were made ofcopper. Then, holding out her arm, she let one drop fallfrom it on to the snow beside the sledge. Edmund saw thedrop for a second in mid-air, shining like a diamond. Butthe moment it touched the snow there was a hissing soundand there stood a jewelled cup full of something thatsteamed. The Dwarf immediately took this and handed itto Edmund with a bow and a smile; not a very nice smile.Edmund felt much better as he began to sip the hot drink.It was something he had never tasted before, very sweetand foamy and creamy, and it warmed him right down tohis toes.

"It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating," saidthe Queen presently. "What would you like best to eat?"

"Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty," said Edmund.

The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on tothe snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tiedwith green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out tocontain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Eachpiece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmundhad never tasted anything more delicious. He was quitewarm now, and very comfortable.

While he was eating the Queen kept asking him questions.At first Edmund tried to remember that it is rudeto speak with one's mouth full, but soon he forgot aboutthis and thought only of trying to shovel down as muchTurkish Delight as he could, and the more he ate the morehe wanted to eat, and he never asked himself why theQueen should be so inquisitive. She got him to tell her thathe had one brother and two sisters, and that one of hissisters had already been in Narnia and had met a Faunthere, and that no one except himself and his brother andhis sisters knew anything about Narnia. She seemedespecially interested in the fact that there were four of them,and kept on coming back to it. "You are sure there arejust four of you?" she asked. "Two Sons of Adam and twoDaughters of Eve, neither more nor less?" and Edmund,with his mouth full of Turkish Delight, kept on saying,"Yes, I told you that before," and forgetting to call her"Your Majesty" but she didn't seem to mind now.

At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmundwas looking very hard at the empty box and wishing thatshe would ask him whether he would like some more.Probably the Queen knew quite well what he was thinking;for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this wasenchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had oncetasted it would want more and more of it, and would even,if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killedthemselves. But she did not offer him any more. Instead, shesaid to him,

"Son of Adam, I should so much like to see your brotherand your two sisters. Will you bring them to see me?"

"I'll try," said Edmund, still looking at the empty box.

"Because, if you did come again—bringing them withyou of course—I'd be able to give you some more TurkishDelight. I can't do it now, the magic will only work once.In my own house it would be another matter."

"Why can't we go to your house now?" said Edmund.When he had first got on to the sledge he had been afraidthat she might drive away with him to some unknownplace from which he would not be able to get back, buthe had forgotten about that fear now.

"It is a lovely place, my house," said the Queen. "I amsure you would like it. There are whole rooms full ofTurkish Delight, and what's more, I have no children ofmy own. I want a nice boy whom I could bring up as aPrince and who would be King of Narnia when I am gone.While he was Prince he would wear a gold crown and eatTurkish Delight all day long; and you are much thecleverest and handsomest young man I've ever met. I think Iwould like to make you the Prince—some day, when youbring the others to visit me."

"Why not now?" said Edmund. His face had becomevery red and his mouth and fingers were sticky. He did notlook either clever or handsome whatever the Queen mightsay.

"Oh, but if I took you there now," said she, "I shouldn'tsee your brother and your sisters. I very much want toknow your charming relations. You are to be the Princeand—later on—the King; that is understood. But youmust have courtiers and nobles. I will make your brothera Duke and your sisters duch*esses."

"There's nothing special about them," said Edmund,"and, anyway, I could always bring them some other time."

"Ah, but once you were in my house," said the Queen,"you might forget all about them. You would be enjoyingyourself so much that you wouldn't want the bother ofgoing to fetch them. No. You must go back to your owncountry now and come to me another day, with them, youunderstand. It is no good coming without them."

"But I don't even know the way back to my owncountry," pleaded Edmund.

"That's easy," answered the Queen. "Do you see thatlamp?" She pointed with her wand and Edmund turnedand saw the same lamp-post under which Lucy had met theFaun. "Straight on, beyond that, is the way to the Worldof Men. And now look the other way"—here she pointedin the opposite direction—"and tell me if you can see twolittle hills rising above the trees."

"I think I can," said Edmund.

"Well my house is between those two hills. So next timeyou come you have only to find the lamp-post and lookfor those two hills and walk through the wood till you reachmy house. You had better keep the river on your rightwhen you get to it. But remember—you must bring theothers with you. I might have to be very angry with youif you came alone."

"I'll do my best," said Edmund.

"And, by the way," said the Queen, "you needn't tellthem about me. It would be fun to keep it a secret betweenus two, wouldn't it? Make it a surprise for them. Justbring them along to the two hills—a clever boy like youwill easily think of some excuse for doing that—and whenyou come to my house you could just say 'Let's see wholives here' or something like that. I am sure that would bebest. If your sister has met one of the Fauns, she may haveheard strange stories about me—nasty stories that mightmake her afraid to come to me. Fauns will say anything,you know, and now—"

"Please, please," said Edmund suddenly, "pleasecouldn't I have just one piece of Turkish Delight to eat onthe way home?"

"No, no," said the Queen with a laugh, "you must waittill next time." While she spoke, she signalled to the Dwarfto drive on, but as the sledge swept away out of sight, theQueen waved to Edmund calling out, "Next time! Nexttime! Don't forget. Come soon."

Edmund was still staring after the sledge when heheard someone calling his own name, and looking roundhe saw Lucy coming towards him from another part of thewood.

"Oh, Edmund!" she cried. "So you've got in too! Isn'tit wonderful, and now—"

"All right," said Edmund, "I see you were right and itis a magic wardrobe after all. I'll say I'm sorry if youlike. But where on earth have you been all this time? I'vebeen looking for you everywhere."

"If I'd known you had got in I'd have waited for you,"said Lucy who was too happy and excited to notice howsnappishly Edmund spoke or how flushed and strange hisface was. "I've been having lunch with dear Mr. Tumnus,the Faun, and he's very well and the White Witch has donenothing to him for letting me go, so he thinks she can'thave found out and perhaps everything is going to be allright after all."

"The White Witch?" said Edmund, "who's she?"

"She is a perfectly terrible person," said Lucy. "Shecalls herself the Queen of Narnia though she has no rightto be queen at all, and all the Fauns and Dryads andNaiads and dwarfs and animals—at least all the goodones—simply hate her. And she can turn people into stoneand do all kinds of horrible things. And she has made amagic so that it is always winter in Narnia—always winter,but it never gets to Christmas. And she drives about on asledge, drawn by a reindeer, with her wand in her handand a crown on her head."

Edmund was already feeling uncomfortable from havingeaten too many sweets, and when he heard that theLady he had made friends with was a dangerous witch hefelt even more uncomfortable. But he still wanted to tastethat Turkish Delight again more than he wanted anythingelse.

"Who told you all that stuff about the White Witch?"he asked.

"Mr. Tumnus, the Faun," said Lucy.

"You can't always believe what Fauns say," saidEdmund, trying to sound as if he knew far more about themthan Lucy.

"Who said so?" asked Lucy.

"Everyone knows it," said Edmund, "ask anybody youlike. But it's pretty poor sport standing here in the snow.Let's go home."

"Yes, let's," said Lucy. "Oh Edmund, I am glad you'vegot in too. The others will have to believe in Narnia nowthat both of us have been there. What fun it will be."

But Edmund secretly thought that it would not be asgood fun for him as for her. He would have to admit thatLucy had been right, before all the others, and he felt surethe others would all be on the side of the Fauns and theanimals; but he was already more than half on the side ofthe Witch. He did not know what he would say, or howhe would keep his secret once they were all talking aboutNarnia.

By this time they had walked a good way. Then suddenlythey felt coats around them instead of branches and nextmoment they were both standing outside the wardrobe inthe empty room.

"I say," said Lucy, "you do look awful, Edmund. Don'tyou feel well?"

"I'm all right," said Edmund, but this was not true. Hewas feeling very sick.

"Come on then," said Lucy, "let's find the others. Whata lot we shall have to tell them! And what wonderfuladventures we shall have now that we're all in it together."

CHAPTER V

Back on This Side of the Door

Because the game of hide-and-seek was still goingon, it took Edmund and Lucy some time to find theothers. But when at last they were all together(which happened in the long room, where the suit ofarmour was) Lucy burst out,

"Peter! Susan! It's all true. Edmund has seen it too.There is a country you can get to through the wardrobe.Edmund and I both got in. We met one another in there,in the wood. Go on, Edmund; tell them all about it."

"What's all this about, Ed?" said Peter.

And now we come to one of the nastiest things in thisstory. Up to that moment Edmund had been feeling sick,and sulky, and annoyed with Lucy for being right, but hehadn't made up his mind what to do. When Peter suddenlyasked him the question he decided all at once to do themeanest and most spiteful thing he could think of. Hedecided to let Lucy down.

"Tell us, Ed," said Susan.

And Edmund gave a very superior look as if he werefar older than Lucy (there was really only a year'sdifference) and then a little snigg*r and said, "Oh, yes, Lucyand I have been playing—pretending that all her storyabout a country in the wardrobe is true. Just for fun, ofcourse. There's nothing there really."

Poor Lucy gave Edmund one look and rushed out of the room.

Edmund, who was becoming a nastier person everyminute, thought that he had scored a great success, andwent on at once to say, "There she goes again. What's thematter with her? That's the worst of young kids, theyalways—"

"Look here," said Peter turning on him savagely, "shutup! You've been perfectly beastly to Lu ever since shestarted this nonsense about the wardrobe and now you goplaying games with her about it and setting her off again.I believe you did it simply out of spite."

"But it's all nonsense," said Edmund, very taken aback.

"Of course it's all nonsense," said Peter, "that's just thepoint. Lu was perfectly all right when we left home, butsince we've been down here she seems to be either goingqueer in the head or else turning into a most frightful liar.But whichever it is, what good do you think you'll do byjeering and nagging at her one day and encouraging herthe next?"

"I thought—I thought," said Edmund; but he couldn'tthink of anything to say.

"You didn't think anything at all," said Peter, "it's justspite. You've always liked being beastly to anyone smallerthan yourself; we've seen that at school before now."

"Do stop it," said Susan; "it won't make things anybetter having a row between you two. Let's go and find Lucy."

It was not surprising that when they found Lucy, a gooddeal later, everyone could see that she had been crying.Nothing they could say to her made any difference. Shestuck to her story and said:

"I don't care what you think, and I don't care what yousay. You can tell the Professor or you can write to Motheror you can do anything you like. I know I've met a Faunin there and—I wish I'd stayed there and you are allbeasts, beasts."

It was an unpleasant evening. Lucy was miserable andEdmund was beginning to feel that his plan wasn't workingas well as he had expected. The two older ones were reallybeginning to think that Lucy was out of her mind. Theystood in the passage talking about it in whispers longafter she had gone to bed.

The result was that next morning they decided that theyreally would go and tell the whole thing to the Professor."He'll write to Father if he thinks there is really somethingwrong with Lu," said Peter; "it's getting beyond us." Sothey went and knocked at the study door, and theProfessor said "Come in," and got up and found chairs forthem and said he was quite at their disposal. Then he satlistening to them with the tips of his fingers pressedtogether and never interrupting, till they had finished thewhole story. After that he said nothing for quite a longtime. Then he cleared his throat and said the last thingeither of them expected.

"How do you know?" he asked, "that your sister's storyis not true?"

"Oh, but—" began Susan, and then stopped. Anyonecould see from the old man's face that he was perfectlyserious. Then Susan pulled herself together and said, "ButEdmund said they had only been pretending."

"That is a point," said the Professor, "which certainlydeserves consideration; very careful consideration. Forinstance—if you will excuse me for asking the question—doesyour experience lead you to regard your brother oryour sister as the more reliable? I mean, which is the moretruthful?"

"That's just the funny thing about it, Sir," said Peter."Up till now, I'd have said Lucy every time."

"And what do you think, my dear?" said the Professor,turning to Susan.

"Well," said Susan, "in general, I'd say the same asPeter, but this couldn't be true—all this about the woodand the Faun."

"That is more than I know," said the Professor, "and acharge of lying against someone whom you have alwaysfound truthful is a very serious thing; a very serious thingindeed."

"We were afraid it mightn't even be lying," said Susan."We thought there might be something wrong with Lucy."

"Madness, you mean?" said the Professor quite coolly."Oh, you can make your minds easy about that. One hasonly to look at her and talk to her to see that she is notmad."

"But then," said Susan and stopped. She had neverdreamed that a grown-up would talk like the Professorand didn't know what to think.

"Logic!" said the Professor half to himself. "Why don'tthey teach logic at these schools? There are only threepossibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, orshe is telling the truth. You know she doesn't tell lies and itis obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then andunless any further evidence turns up, we must assume thatshe is telling the truth."

Susan looked at him very hard and was quite sure fromthe expression on his face that he was not making fun of them.

"But how could it be true, Sir?" said Peter.

"Why do you say that?" asked the Professor.

"Well, for one thing," said Peter, "if it was real whydoesn't everyone find this country every time they go to thewardrobe? I mean, there was nothing there when welooked; even Lucy didn't pretend there was."

"What has that to do with it?" said the Professor.

"Well, Sir, if things are real, they're there all the time."

"Are they?" said the Professor; and Peter did not knowquite what to say.

"But there was no time," said Susan, "Lucy had had notime to have gone anywhere, even if there was such aplace. She came running after us the very moment we wereout of the room. It was less than a minute, and shepretended to have been away for hours."

"That is the very thing that makes her story so likely tobe true," said the Professor. "If there really is a door inthis house that leads to some other world (and I shouldwarn you that this is a very strange house, and even I knowvery little about it)—if, I say, she had got into anotherworld, I should not be at all surprised to find that thatother world had a separate time of its own; so thathowever long you stayed there it would never take up any ofour time. On the other hand, I don't think many girls ofher age would invent that idea for themselves. If she hadbeen pretending, she would have hidden for a reasonabletime before coming out and telling her story."

"But do you really mean, Sir," said Peter, "that therecould be other worlds—all over the place, just round thecorner—like that?"

"Nothing is more probable," said the Professor, takingoff his spectacles and beginning to polish them, while hemuttered to himself, "I wonder what they do teach them atthese schools."

"But what are we to do?" said Susan. She felt that theconversation was beginning to get off the point.

"My dear young lady," said the Professor, suddenlylooking up with a very sharp expression at both of them,"there is one plan which no one has yet suggested andwhich is well worth trying."

"What's that?" said Susan.

"We might all try minding our own business," said he.And that was the end of that conversation.

After this things were a good deal better for Lucy. Petersaw to it that Edmund stopped jeering at her, and neithershe nor anyone else felt inclined to talk about the wardrobeat all. It had become a rather alarming subject. Andso for a time it looked as if all the adventures were comingto an end; but that was not to be.

This house of the Professor's—which even he knew solittle about—was so old and famous that people from allover England used to come and ask permission to see overit. It was the sort of house that is mentioned in guide booksand even in histories; and well it might be, for all mannerof stories were told about it, some of them even strangerthan the one I am telling you now. And when parties ofsight-seers arrived and asked to see the house, the Professoralways gave them permission, and Mrs. Macready, thehousekeeper, showed them round, telling them about thepictures and the armour, and the rare books in the library.Mrs. Macready was not fond of children, and did not liketo be interrupted when she was telling visitors all the thingsshe knew. She had said to Susan and Peter almost on thefirst morning (along with a good many other instructions)"And please remember you're to keep out of the waywhenever I'm taking a party over the house."

"Just as if any of us would want to waste half themorning trailing round with a crowd of strange grown-ups!"said Edmund, and the other three thought the same. Thatwas how the adventures began for the second time.

A few mornings later Peter and Edmund were lookingat the suit of armour and wondering if they could take it tobits when the two girls rushed into the room and said,"Look out! Here comes the Macready and a whole gangwith her."

"Sharp's the word," said Peter, and all four made offthrough the door at the far end of the room. But whenthey had got out into the Green Room and beyond it, intothe library, they suddenly heard voices ahead of them, andrealised that Mrs. Macready must be bringing her partyof sight-seers up the back stairs—instead of up the frontstairs as they had expected. And after that—whether itwas that they lost their heads, or that Mrs. Macready wastrying to catch them, or that some magic in the house hadcome to life and was chasing them into Narnia—theyseemed to find themselves being followed everywhere,until at last Susan said, "Oh bother those trippers!Here—let's get into the Wardrobe Room till they've passed. Noone will follow us in there." But the moment they wereinside they heard voices in the passage—and thensomeone fumbling at the door—and then they saw the handleturning.

"Quick!" said Peter, "there's nowhere else," and flungopen the wardrobe. All four of them bundled inside it andsat there, panting, in the dark. Peter held the door closedbut did not shut it; for, of course, he remembered, as everysensible person does, that you should never never shutyourself up in a wardrobe.

CHAPTER VI

Into the Forest

"I wish the Macready would hurry up and take allthese people away," said Susan presently, "I'mgetting horribly cramped."

"And what a filthy smell of camphor!" said Edmund.

"I expect the pockets of these coats are full of it," saidSusan, "to keep away moths."

"There's something sticking into my back," said Peter.

"And isn't it cold?" said Susan.

"Now that you mention it, it is cold," said Peter, "andhang it all, it's wet too. What's the matter with this place?I'm sitting on something wet. It's getting wetter everyminute." He struggled to his feet.

"Let's get out," said Edmund, "they've gone."

"O-o-oh!" said Susan suddenly. And everyone asked herwhat was the matter.

"I'm sitting against a tree," said Susan, "and look! It'sgetting lighter—over there."

"By jove, you're right," said Peter, "and look there—andthere. It's trees all round. And this wet stuff is snow.Why, I do believe we've got into Lucy's wood after all."

And now there was no mistaking it and all four childrenstood blinking in the daylight of a winter day. Behind themwere coats hanging on pegs, in front of them weresnow-covered trees.

Peter turned at once to Lucy.

"I apologise for not believing you," he said, "I'm sorry.Will you shake hands?"

"Of course," said Lucy, and did.

"And now," said Susan, "what do we do next?"

"Do?" said Peter, "why, go and explore the wood, ofcourse."

"Ugh!" said Susan, stamping her feet, "it's pretty cold.What about putting on some of these coats?"

"They're not ours," said Peter doubtfully.

"I am sure nobody would mind," said Susan. "It isn't asif we wanted to take them out of the house; we shan't takethem even out of the wardrobe."

"I never thought of that, Su," said Peter. "Of course,now you put it that way, I see. No one could say you hadbagged a coat as long as you leave it in the wardrobe whereyou found it. And I suppose this whole country is in thewardrobe."

They immediately carried out Susan's very sensibleplan. The coats were rather too big for them so that theycame down to their heels and looked more like royal robesthan coats when they had put them on. But they all felt agood deal warmer and each thought the others looked betterin their new get-up and more suitable to the landscape.

"We can pretend we are Arctic explorers," said Lucy.

"This is going to be exciting enough without anypretending," said Peter, as he began leading the way forwardinto the forest. There were heavy darkish clouds overheadand it looked as if there might be more snow beforenight.

"I say," began Edmund presently, "oughtn't we to bebearing a bit more to the left, that is, if we are aiming forthe lamp-post." He had forgotten for the moment that hemust pretend never to have been in the wood before. Themoment the words were out of his mouth he realised thathe had given himself away. Everyone stopped; everyonestared at him. Peter whistled.

"So you really were here," he said, "that time Lu saidshe'd met you in here—and you made out she was tellinglies."

There was a dead silence. "Well, of all the poisonouslittle beasts—" said Peter and shrugged his shoulders andsaid no more. There seemed, indeed, no more to say andpresently the four resumed their journey; but Edmundwas saying to himself, "I'll pay you all out for this, youpack of stuck-up, self-satisfied prigs."

"Where are we going anyway?" said Susan, chiefly forthe sake of changing the subject.

"I think Lu ought to be the leader," said Peter, "goodnessknows she deserves it. Where will you take us, Lu?"

"What about going to see Mr. Tumnus?" said Lucy."He's the nice Faun I told you about."

Everyone agreed to this and off they went, walkingbriskly and stamping their feet. Lucy proved a good leader.At first she wondered whether she would be able to findthe way, but she recognised an odd-looking tree in oneplace and a stump in another and brought them on towhere the ground became uneven and into the little valleyand at last to the very door of Mr. Tumnus' cave. Butthere a terrible surprise awaited them.

The door had been wrenched off its hinges and brokento bits. Inside, the cave was dark and cold and had thedamp feel and smell of a place that had not been lived infor several days. Snow had drifted in from the doorwayand was heaped on the floor, mixed with something black,which turned out to be the charred sticks and ashes fromthe fire. Someone had apparently flung it about the roomand then stamped it out. The crockery lay smashed on thefloor and the picture of the Faun's father had been slashedinto shreds with a knife.

"This is a pretty good wash-out," said Edmund, "notmuch good coming here."

"What's this?" said Peter, stooping down. He had justnoticed a piece of paper which had been nailed throughthe carpet to the floor.

"Is there anything written on it?" asked Susan.

"Yes, I think there is," answered Peter, "but I can'tread it in this light. Let's get out into the open air."

They all went out in the daylight and crowded roundPeter as he read out the following words:—

"The former occupant of these premises, the FaunTumnus, is under arrest and awaiting his trial on acharge of High Treason against her Imperial MajestyJadis, Queen of Narnia, Chatelaine of Cair Paravel,Empress of the Lone Islands, etc., also of comfortingher said Majesty's enemies, harbouring spies andfraternising with Humans.

Signed FENRIS ULF,
Captain of the Secret Police,

LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!"

The children stared at each other.

"I don't know that I'm going to like this place afterall," said Susan.

"Who is this Queen, Lu?" said Peter. "Do you knowanything about her?"

"She isn't a real queen at all," answered Lucy, "she's ahorrible witch, the White Witch. Everyone—all the woodpeople—hate her. She has made an enchantment over thewhole country so that it is always winter here and neverChristmas."

"I—I wonder if there's any point in going on," saidSusan. "I mean, it doesn't seem particularly safe here andit looks as if it won't be much fun either. And it's gettingcolder every minute, and we've brought nothing to eat.What about just going home?"

"Oh, but we can't, we can't," said Lucy suddenly. "Don'tyou see? We can't just go home, not after this. It is all onmy account that the poor Faun has got into this trouble. Hehid me from the Witch and showed me the way back.That's what it means by comforting the Queen's enemiesand fraternising with Humans. We simply must try torescue him."

"A lot we could do!" said Edmund, "when we haven'teven got anything to eat!"

"Shut up—you!" said Peter, who was still very angrywith Edmund. "What do you think, Susan?"

"I've a horrid feeling that Lu is right," said Susan. "Idon't want to go a step further and I wish we'd nevercome. But I think we must try to do something forMr. Whatever-his-name is—I mean the Faun."

"That's what I feel too," said Peter. "I'm worriedabout having no food with us. I'd vote for going back andgetting something from the larder, only there doesn't seemto be any certainty of getting into this country again whenonce you've got out of it. I think we'll have to go on."

"So do I," said both the girls.

"If only we knew where the poor chap was imprisoned!"said Peter.

They were all still, wondering what to do next, whenLucy said, "Look! There's a robin, with such a redbreast. It's the first bird I've seen here. I say!—I wondercan birds talk in Narnia? It almost looks as if it wanted tosay something to us." Then she turned to the Robin andsaid, "Please, can you tell us where Tumnus the Faun hasbeen taken to?" As she said this she took a step towards thebird. It at once hopped away but only as far as to the nexttree. There it perched and looked at them very hard as ifit understood all they had been saying. Almost withoutnoticing that they had done so, the four children went astep or two nearer to it. At this the Robin flew away againto the next tree and once more looked at them very hard.(You couldn't have found a robin with a redder chest ora brighter eye.)

"Do you know," said Lucy, "I really believe he meansus to follow him."

"I've an idea he does," said Susan, "what do you think,Peter?"

"Well, we might as well try it," answered Peter.

The Robin appeared to understand the matter thoroughly.It kept going from tree to tree, always a fewyards ahead of them but always so near that they couldeasily follow it. In this way it led them on, slightly downhill. Wherever the Robin alighted a little shower of snowwould fall off the branch. Presently the clouds partedoverhead and the winter sun came out and the snow allaround them grew dazzlingly bright. They had been travellingin this way for about half an hour, with the two girlsin front, when Edmund said to Peter, "If you're not stilltoo high and mighty to talk to me, I've something to saywhich you'd better listen to."

"What is it?" asked Peter.

"Hush! Not so loud," said Edmund, "there's no goodfrightening the girls. But have you realised what we'redoing?"

"What?" said Peter, lowering his voice to a whisper.

"We're following a guide we know nothing about. Howdo we know which side that bird is on? Why shouldn't itbe leading us into a trap?"

"That's a nasty idea. Still—a robin you know. They'regood birds in all the stories I've ever read. I'm sure a robinwouldn't be on the wrong side."

"If it comes to that, which is the right side? How do weknow that the fauns are in the right and the Queen (yes,I know we've been told she's a witch) is in the wrong? Wedon't really know anything about either."

"The Faun saved Lucy."

"He said he did. But how do we know? And there'sanother thing too. Has anyone the least idea of the wayhome from here?"

"Great Scott!" said Peter, "I hadn't thought of that."

"And no chance of dinner either," said Edmund.

CHAPTER VII

A Day with the Beavers

While the two boys were whispering behind,both the girls suddenly cried "Oh!" and stopped."The robin!" cried Lucy, "the robin. It's flownaway." And so it had—right out of sight.

"And now what are we to do?" said Edmund, givingPeter a look which was as much as to say "What did Itell you?"

"Sh! Look!" said Susan.

"What?" said Peter.

"There's something moving among the trees—over thereto the left."

They all stared as hard as they could, and no one feltvery comfortable.

"There it goes again," said Susan presently.

"I saw it that time too," said Peter. "It's still there. It'sjust gone behind that big tree."

"What is it?" asked Lucy, trying very hard not to soundnervous.

"Whatever it is," said Peter, "it's dodging us. It'ssomething that doesn't want to be seen."

"Let's go home," said Susan. And then, though nobodysaid it out loud, everyone suddenly realised the same factthat Edmund had whispered to Peter at the end of the lastchapter. They were lost.

"What's it like?" said Lucy.

"It's—it's a kind of animal," said Susan; and then,"Look! Look! Quick! There it is."

They all saw it this time, a whiskered furry face whichhad looked out at them from behind a tree. But this timeit didn't immediately draw back. Instead, the animal putit* paw against its mouth just as humans put their fingeron their lips when they are signalling to you to be quiet.Then it disappeared again. The children all stood holdingtheir breaths.

A moment later the stranger came out from behind thetree, glanced all round as if it were afraid someone waswatching, said "Hush," made signs to them to join it inthe thicker bit of wood where it was standing, and thenonce more disappeared.

"I know what it is," said Peter, "it's a beaver. I saw thetail."

"It wants us to go to it," said Susan, "and it is warningus not to make a noise."

"I know," said Peter. "The question is are we to go to itor not? What do you think, Lu?"

"I think it's a nice beaver," said Lucy.

"Yes, but how do we know?" said Edmund.

"Shan't we have to risk it?" said Susan. "I mean, it'sno good just standing here and I feel I want some dinner."

At this moment the Beaver again popped its head outfrom behind the tree and beckoned earnestly to them.

"Come on," said Peter, "let's give it a try. All keep closetogether. We ought to be a match for one beaver if it turnsout to be an enemy."

So the children all got close together and walked up tothe tree and in behind it, and there, sure enough, theyfound the Beaver; but it still drew back, saying to them ina hoarse throaty whisper, "Further in, come further in.Right in here. We're not safe in the open!" Only when ithad led them into a dark spot where four trees grew soclose together that their boughs met and the brown earthand pine needles could be seen underfoot because no snowhad been able to fall there, did it begin to talk to them.

"Are you the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve?"it said.

"We're some of them," said Peter.

"S-s-s-sh!" said the Beaver, "not so loud please. We'renot safe even here."

"Why, who are you afraid of?" said Peter. "There's noone here but ourselves."

"There are the trees," said the Beaver. "They're alwayslistening. Most of them are on our side, but there are treesthat would betray us to her; you know who I mean," andit nodded its head several times.

"If it comes to talking about sides," said Edmund, "howdo we know you're a friend?"

"Not meaning to be rude, Mr. Beaver," added Peter,"but you see, we're strangers."

"Quite right, quite right," said the Beaver. "Here is mytoken." With these words it held up to them a little whiteobject. They all looked at it in surprise, till suddenly Lucysaid, "Oh, of course. It's my handkerchief—the one I gaveto poor Mr. Tumnus."

"That's right," said the Beaver. "Poor fellow, he gotwind of the arrest before it actually happened and handedthis over to me. He said that if anything happened to himI must meet you here and take you on to—" Here theBeaver's voice sank into silence and it gave one or two verymysterious nods. Then signalling to the children to standas close around it as they possibly could, so that their faceswere actually tickled by its whiskers, it added in a lowwhisper—

"They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps has already landed."

And now a very curious thing happened. None of thechildren knew who Aslan was any more than you do; butthe moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyonefelt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened toyou in a dream that someone says something which youdon't understand but in the dream it feels as if it had someenormous meaning—either a terrifying one which turnsthe whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaningtoo lovely to put into words, which makes the dream sobeautiful that you remember it all your life and are alwayswishing you could get into that dream again. It was likethat now. At the name of Aslan each one of the childrenfelt something jump in his inside. Edmund felt a sensationof mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous.Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightfulstrain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy gotthe feeling you have when you wake up in the morning andrealise that it is the beginning of the holidays or thebeginning of summer.

"And what about Mr. Tumnus," said Lucy; "where is he?"

"S-s-s-sh," said the Beaver, "not here. I must bring youwhere we can have a real talk and also dinner."

No one except Edmund felt any difficulty about trustingthe Beaver now and everyone, including Edmund, was veryglad to hear the word "dinner." They therefore all hurriedalong behind their new friend who led them at a surprisinglyquick pace, and always in the thickest parts of theforest, for over an hour. Everyone was feeling very tiredand very hungry when suddenly the trees began to getthinner in front of them and the ground to fall steeplydown hill. A minute later they came out under the opensky (the sun was still shining) and found themselveslooking down on a fine sight.

They were standing on the edge of a steep, narrow valleyat the bottom of which ran—at least it would have beenrunning if it hadn't been frozen—a fairly large river. Justbelow them a dam had been built across this river; andwhen they saw it everyone suddenly remembered that ofcourse beavers are always making dams and felt quite surethat Mr. Beaver had made this one. They also noticed thathe now had a sort of modest expression on his face—thesort of look people have when you are visiting a gardenthey've made or reading a story they've written. So it wasonly common politeness when Susan said, "What a lovelydam!" And Mr. Beaver didn't say "Hush" this time but"Merely a trifle! Merely a trifle! And it isn't reallyfinished!"

Above the dam there was what ought to have been adeep pool but was now of course a level floor of dark greenice. And below the dam, much lower down, was more ice,but instead of being smooth this was all frozen into thefoamy and wavy shapes in which the water had beenrushing along at the very moment when the frost came. Andwhere the water had been trickling over and spurtingthrough the dam there was now a glittering wall of icicles,as if the side of the dam had been covered all over withflowers and wreaths and festoons of the purest sugar. Andout in the middle, and partly on the top of the dam, was afunny little house shaped rather like an enormous bee-hiveand from a hole in the roof smoke was going up, so thatwhen you saw it (especially if you were hungry) you atonce thought of cooking and became hungrier than youwere before.

That was what the others chiefly noticed, but Edmundnoticed something else. A little lower down the river therewas another small river which came down another smallvalley to join it. And looking up that valley, Edmund couldsee two small hills, and he was almost sure they were thetwo hills which the White Witch had pointed out to himwhen he parted from her at the lamp-post that other day.And then between them, he thought, must be her palace,only a mile off or less. And he thought about TurkishDelight and about being a King ("And I wonder how Peterwill like that?" he asked himself) and horrible ideas cameinto his head.

"Here we are," said Mr. Beaver, "and it looks as if Mrs. Beaveris expecting us. I'll lead the way. But be careful anddon't slip."

The top of the dam was wide enough to walk on, thoughnot (for humans) a very nice place to walk because it wascovered with ice, and though the frozen pool was levelwith it on one side, there was a nasty drop to the lowerriver on the other. Along this route Mr. Beaver led themin single file right out to the middle where they could looka long way up the river and a long way down it. And whenthey had reached the middle they were at the door of thehouse.

"Here we are, Mrs. Beaver," said Mr. Beaver, "I'vefound them. Here are the Sons and Daughters of Adamand Eve"—and they all went in.

The first thing Lucy noticed as she went in was a burringsound, and the first thing she saw was a kind-looking oldshe-beaver sitting in the corner with a thread in her mouthworking busily at her sewing machine and it was from itthat the sound came. She stopped her work and got up assoon as the children came in.

"So you've come at last!" she said, holding out both herwrinkled old paws. "At last! To think that ever I shouldlive to see this day! The potatoes are on boiling and thekettle's singing and I daresay, Mr. Beaver, you'll get ussome fish."

"That I will," said Mr. Beaver and he went out of thehouse (Peter went with him) and across the ice of thedeep pool to where he had a little hole in the ice which hekept open every day with his hatchet. They took a pailwith them, Mr. Beaver sat down quietly at the edge of thehole (he didn't seem to mind it's being so chilly) lookedhard into it, then suddenly shot in his paw, and beforeyou could say Jack Robinson had whisked out a beautifultrout. Then he did it all over again until they had a finecatch of fish.

Meanwhile the girls were helping Mrs. Beaver to fill thethe kettle and lay the table and cut the bread and put theplates in the oven to heat and draw a huge jug of beerfor Mr. Beaver from a barrel which stood in one cornerof the house, and to put on the frying pan and get thedripping hot. Lucy thought the Beavers had a very snuglittle home though it was not at all like Mr. Tumnus'scave. There were no books or pictures and instead of bedsthere were bunks, like on board ship, built into the wall.And there were hams and strings of onions hanging fromthe roof and against the walls were gum boots and oilskinsand hatchets and pairs of shears and spades and trowelsand things for carrying mortar in and fishing rods andfishing nets and sacks. And the cloth on the table tho'very clean was very rough.

Just as the frying pan was nicely hissing Peter andMr. Beaver came in with the fish which Mr. Beaver hadalready opened with his knife and cleaned out in the openair. You can think how good the new-caught fish smelledwhile they were frying and how the hungry children longedfor them to be done and how very much hungrier still theyhad become before Mrs. Beaver said, "Now we're nearlyready." Susan drained the potatoes and then put them allback in the empty pot to dry on the side of the range whileLucy was helping Mrs. Beaver to dish up the trout, so thatin a very few minutes everyone was drawing up stools(it was all three-legged stools in the Beavers' house exceptfor Mrs. Beaver's own special rocking chair beside the fire)and preparing to enjoy themselves. There was a jug ofcreamy milk for the children (Mr. Beaver stuck to beer)and a great big lump of deep yellow butter in the middleof the table from which everyone took as much as hewanted to go with his potatoes and all the childrenthought—and I agree with them—that there's nothing tobeat good freshwater fish if you eat it when it has beenalive half an hour ago and has come out of the pan half aminute ago. And when they had finished the fishMrs. Beaver brought unexpectedly out of the oven a great andgloriously sticky marmalade roll, steaming hot, and at thesame time moved the kettle on to the fire, so that when theyhad finished the marmalade roll the tea was made andready to be poured out. And when each person had got his(or her) cup of tea, each person shoved back his (or her)stool so as to be able to lean against the wall and gave along sigh of contentment.

"And now," said Mr. Beaver pushing away his emptybeer mug and pulling his cup of tea towards him, "if you'lljust wait till I've got my pipe lit up and going nicely—why,now we can get to business. It's snowing again," headded, co*cking his eye at the window. "That's all thebetter, because it means we shan't have any visitors; and ifanyone should have been trying to follow you, why he won'tfind any tracks."

CHAPTER VIII

What Happened after Dinner

"And now," said Lucy, "do please tell us what'shappened to Mr. Tumnus."

"Ah, that's bad," said Mr. Beaver shaking hishead. "That's a very, very bad business. There's no doubthe was taken off by the police. I got that from a bird whosaw it done."

"But where's he been taken to?" asked Lucy.

"Well, they were heading northwards when they werelast seen and we all know what that means."

"No, we don't," said Susan. But Mr. Beaver shook hishead in a very gloomy fashion.

"I'm afraid it means they were taking him to herhouse," said Mr. Beaver.

"But what'll they do to him, Mr. Beaver?" gasped Lucy.

"Well," said Mr. Beaver, "you can't exactly say forsure. But there's not many taken in there that ever comesout again. Statues. All full of statues they say it is—in thecourtyard and up the stairs and in the hall. People she'sturned—" (he paused and shuddered) "turned into stone."

"But, Mr. Beaver," said Lucy, "can't we—I mean wemust do something to save him. It's too dreadful and it'sall on my account."

"I don't doubt you'd save him if you could, dearie,"said Mrs. Beaver, "but you've no chance of getting intothat House against her will and ever coming out alive."

"Couldn't we have some stratagem?" said Peter. "Imean couldn't we dress up as something, or pretend tobe—oh, pedlars or anything—or watch till she was goneout—or—oh, hang it all, there must be some way. This Faunsaved my sister at his own risk, Mr. Beaver. We can't justleave him to be—to be—to have that done to him."

"It's no good, Son of Adam," said Mr. Beaver, "nogood your trying, of all people. But now that Aslan is onthe move—"

"Oh, yes! Tell us about Aslan!" said several voices atonce; for once again that strange feeling—like the firstsigns of spring, like good news, had come over them.

"Who is Aslan?" asked Susan.

"Aslan?" said Mr. Beaver, "Why don't you know? He'sthe King. He's the Lord of the whole wood, but not oftenhere, you understand. Never in my time or my father'stime. But the word has reached us that he has come back.He is in Narnia at this moment. He'll settle the WhiteQueen all right. It is he, not you, that will saveMr. Tumnus."

"She won't turn him into stone too?" said Edmund.

"Lord love you, Son of Adam, what a simple thing tosay!" answered Mr. Beaver with a great laugh. "Turnhim into stone? If she can stand on her two feet and lookhim in the face it'll be the most she can do and more thanI expect of her. No, no. He'll put all to rights as it says inan old rhyme in these parts:—

Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.

You'll understand when you see him."

"But shall we see him?" asked Susan.

"Why, Daughter of Eve, that's what I brought you herefor. I'm to lead you where you shall meet him," saidMr. Beaver.

"Is—is he a man?" asked Lucy.

"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not.I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of thegreat Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is theKing of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion."

"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he—quitesafe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," saidMrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslanwithout their knees knocking, they're either braver thanmost or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beavertells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Coursehe isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

"I'm longing to see him," said Peter, "even if I do feelfrightened when it comes to the point."

"That's right, Son of Adam," said Mr. Beaver bringinghis paw down on the table with a crash that made all thecups and saucers rattle. "And so you shall. Word has beensent that you are to meet him, to-morrow if you can, atthe Stone Table."

"Where's that?" said Lucy.

"I'll show you," said Mr. Beaver. "It's down the river,a good step from here. I'll take you to it!"

"But meanwhile what about poor Mr. Tumnus?" said Lucy.

"The quickest way you can help him is by going to meetAslan," said Mr. Beaver, "once he's with us, then we canbegin doing things. Not that we don't need you too. Forthat's another of the old rhymes:—

When Adam's flesh and Adam's bone
Sits at Cair Paravel in throne,
The evil time will be over and done.

So things must be drawing near their end now he's comeand you've come. We've heard of Aslan coming into theseparts before—long ago, nobody can say when. But there'snever been any of your race here before."

"That's what I don't understand, Mr. Beaver," saidPeter, "I mean isn't the Witch herself human?"

"She'd like us to believe it," said Mr. Beaver, "and it'son that that she bases her claim to be Queen. But she's noDaughter of Eve. She comes of your father Adam's—"(here Mr. Beaver bowed) "your father Adam's firstwife, her they called Lilith. And she was one of the Jinn.That's what she comes from on one side. And on the othershe comes of the giants. No, no, there isn't a drop of realHuman blood in the Witch."

"That's why she's bad all through, Mr. Beaver," saidMrs. Beaver.

"True enough, Mrs. Beaver," replied he, "there may betwo views about Humans (meaning no offence to thepresent company). But there's no two views about thingsthat look like Humans and aren't."

"I've known good dwarfs," said Mrs. Beaver.

"So've I, now you come to speak of it," said herhusband, "but precious few, and they were the ones least likemen. But in general, take my advice, when you meetanything that's going to be Human and isn't yet, or used to beHuman once and isn't now, or ought to be Human andisn't, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet.And that's why the Witch is always on the lookout for anyHumans in Narnia. She's been watching for you this manya year, and if she knew there were four of you she'd bemore dangerous still."

"What's that to do with it?" asked Peter.

"Because of another prophecy," said Mr. Beaver. "Downat Cair Paravel—that's the castle on the sea coast downat the mouth of this river which ought to be the capital ofthe whole country if all was as it should be—down at CairParavel there are four thrones and it's a saying in Narniatime out of mind that when two Sons of Adam and twoDaughters of Eve sit in those four thrones, then it will bethe end not only of the White Witch's reign but of her life,and that is why we had to be so cautious as we came along,for if she knew about you four, your lives wouldn't beworth a shake of my whiskers!"

All the children had been attending so hard to whatMr. Beaver was telling them that they had noticed nothing elsefor a long time. Then during the moment of silence thatfollowed his last remark, Lucy suddenly said:

"I say—where's Edmund?"

There was a dreadful pause, and then everyone beganasking "Who saw him last? How long has he been missing?Is he outside?" And then all rushed to the door and lookedout. The snow was falling thickly and steadily, the greenice of the pool had vanished under a thick white blanket,and from where the little house stood in the centre of thedam you could hardly see either bank. Out they went,plunging well over their ankles into the soft new snow, andwent round the house in every direction. "Edmund!Edmund!" they called till they were hoarse. But thesilently falling snow seemed to muffle their voices and therewas not even an echo in answer.

"How perfectly dreadful!" said Susan as they at lastcame back in despair. "Oh, how I wish we'd never come."

"What on earth are we to do, Mr. Beaver?" said Peter.

"Do?" said Mr. Beaver who was already putting on hissnow boots, "do? We must be off at once. We haven't amoment to spare!"

"We'd better divide into four search parties," said Peter,"and all go in different directions. Whoever finds him mustcome back here at once and—"

"Search parties, Son of Adam?" said Mr. Beaver; "what for?"

"Why, to look for Edmund of course!"

"There's no point in looking for him," said Mr. Beaver.

"What do you mean?" said Susan, "he can't be far awayyet. And we've got to find him. What do you mean whenyou say there's no use looking for him?"

"The reason there's no use looking," said Mr. Beaver,"is that we know already where he's gone!" Everyonestared in amazement. "Don't you understand?" said Mr. Beaver."He's gone to her, to the White Witch. He has betrayed us all."

"Oh surely—oh really!" said Susan, "he can't have donethat."

"Can't he?" said Mr. Beaver looking very hard at thethree children, and everything they wanted to say died ontheir lips for each felt suddenly quite certain inside thatthis was exactly what Edmund had done.

"But will he know the way?" said Peter.

"Has he been in this country before?" asked Mr. Beaver,"has he ever been here alone?"

"Yes," said Lucy almost in a whisper, "I'm afraid he has."

"And did he tell you what he'd done or who he'd met?"

"Well, no, he didn't," said Peter.

"Then mark my words," said Mr. Beaver, "he has alreadymet the White Witch and joined her side, and beentold where she lives. I didn't like to mention it before (hebeing your brother and all) but the moment I set eyes onthat brother of yours I said to myself 'Treacherous.' Hehad the look of one who has been with the Witch and eatenher food. You can always tell them if you've lived long inNarnia, something about their eyes."

"All the same," said Peter in a rather choking sort ofvoice, "we'll still have to go and look for him. He is ourbrother after all, even if he is rather a little beast, and he'sonly a kid."

"Go to the Witch's house?" said Mrs. Beaver. "Don'tyou see that the only chance of saving either him oryourselves is to keep away from her?"

"How do you mean?" said Lucy.

"Why all she wants is to get all four of you (she'sthinking all the time of those four thrones at Cair Paravel).Once you were all four inside her house her job would bedone—and there'd be four new statues in her collectionbefore you'd had time to speak. But she'll keep him aliveas long as he's the only one she's got, because she'll wantto use him as a decoy; as bait to catch the rest of youwith."

"Oh, can no one help us?" wailed Lucy.

"Only Aslan," said Mr. Beaver, "we must go on andmeet him. That's our only chance now."

"It seems to me, my dears," said Mrs. Beaver, "that it isvery important to know just when he slipped away. Howmuch he can tell her depends on how much he heard. Forinstance, had we started talking of Aslan before he left? Ifnot, then we may do very well, for she won't know thatAslan has come to Narnia, or that we are meeting him andwill be quite off her guard as far as that is concerned."

"I don't remember his being here when we were talkingabout Aslan—" began Peter, but Lucy interrupted him.

"Oh yes, he was," she said miserably; "don't you remember,it was he who asked whether the Witch couldn't turnAslan into stone too?"

"So he did, by Jove," said Peter, "just the sort of thinghe would say, too!"

"Worse and worse," said Mr. Beaver, "and the nextthing is this. Was he still here when I told you that theplace for meeting Aslan was the Stone Table?"

And of course no one knew the answer to this question.

"Because, if he was," continued Mr. Beaver, "then she'llsimply sledge down in that direction and get between usand the Stone Table and catch us on our way down. In factwe shall be cut off from Aslan."

"But that isn't what she'll do first," said Mrs. Beaver,"not if I know her. The moment that Edmund tells herthat we're all here she'll set out to catch us this very night,and if he's been gone about half an hour, she'll be here inabout another twenty minutes."

"You're right, Mrs. Beaver," said her husband, "wemust all get away from here. There's not a moment to lose."

CHAPTER IX

In the Witch's House

And now of course you want to know what hadhappened to Edmund. He had eaten his share of thedinner, but he hadn't really enjoyed it because hewas thinking all the time about Turkish Delight—andthere's nothing that spoils the taste of good ordinary foodhalf so much as the memory of bad magic food. And hehad heard the conversation and hadn't enjoyed it mucheither, because he kept on thinking that the others weretaking no notice of him and trying to give him the coldshoulder. They weren't, but he imagined it. And then hehad listened until Mr. Beaver told them about Aslan anduntil he had heard the whole arrangement for meetingAslan at the Stone Table. It was then that he began veryquietly to edge himself under the curtain which hung overthe door. For the mention of Aslan gave him a mysteriousand horrible feeling just as it gave the others a mysteriousand lovely feeling.

Just as Mr. Beaver had been repeating the rhyme aboutAdam's flesh and Adam's bone Edmund had been veryquietly turning the door handle; and just beforeMr. Beaver had begun telling them that the White Witchwasn't really human at all but half a Jinn and half agiantess, Edmund had got outside into the snow andcautiously closed the door behind him.

You mustn't think that even now Edmund was quite sobad that he actually wanted his brother and sisters to beturned into stone. He did want Turkish Delight and to bea Prince (and later a King) and to pay Peter out forcalling him a beast. As for what the Witch would do with theothers, he didn't want her to be particularly nice tothem—certainly not to put them on the same level ashimself—but he managed to believe, or to pretend he believed, thatshe wouldn't do anything very bad to them, "Because," hesaid to himself, "all these people who say nasty things abouther are her enemies and probably half of it isn't true. Shewas jolly nice to me, anyway, much nicer than they are. Iexpect she is the rightful Queen really. Anyway, she'll bebetter than that awful Aslan!" At least, that was theexcuse he made in his own mind for what he was doing. Itwasn't a very good excuse, however, for deep down insidehim he really knew that the White Witch was bad and cruel.

The first thing he realised when he got outside andfound the snow falling all around him, was that he hadleft his coat behind in the Beavers' house. And of coursethere was no chance of going back to get it now. The nextthing he realised was that the daylight was almost gone,for it had been nearly three o'clock when they sat down todinner and the winter days were short. He hadn't reckonedon this; but he had to make the best of it. So he turned uphis collar and shuffled across the top of the dam (luckilyit wasn't so slippery since the snow had fallen) to the farside of the river.

It was pretty bad when he reached the far side. It wasgrowing darker every minute and what with that and thesnowflakes swirling all round him he could hardly see threefeet ahead. And then too there was no road. He keptslipping into deep drifts of snow, and skidding on frozenpuddles, and tripping over fallen tree-trunks, and slidingdown steep banks, and barking his shins against rocks, tillhe was wet and cold and bruised all over. The silence andthe loneliness were dreadful. In fact I really think he mighthave given up the whole plan and gone back and ownedup and made friends with the others, if he hadn'thappened to say to himself, "When I'm King of Narnia thefirst thing I shall do will be to make some decent roads." Andof course that set him off thinking about being a Kingand all the other things he would do and this cheered himup a good deal. He had just settled in his mind what sortof palace he would have and how many cars and all abouthis private cinema and where the principal railways wouldrun and what laws he would make against beavers anddams and was putting the finishing touches to someschemes for keeping Peter in his place, when the weatherchanged. First the snow stopped. Then a wind sprang upand it became freezing cold. Finally, the clouds rolledaway and the moon came out. It was a full moon and,shining on all that snow, it made everything almost asbright as day—only the shadows were rather confusing.

He would never have found his way if the moon hadn'tcome out by the time he got to the other river—youremember he had seen (when they first arrived at theBeavers') a smaller river flowing into the great one lowerdown. He now reached this and turned to follow it up. Butthe little valley down which it came was much steeper androckier than the one he had just left and much overgrownwith bushes, so that he could not have managed it at allin the dark. Even as it was, he got wet through for he hadto stoop to go under branches and great loads of snow camesliding off on to his back. And every time this happened hethought more and more how he hated Peter—just as if allthis had been Peter's fault.

But at last he came to a part where it was more leveland the valley opened out. And there, on the other side ofthe river, quite close to him, in the middle of a little plainbetween two hills, he saw what must be the White Witch'shouse. And the moon was shining brighter than ever. Thehouse was really a small castle. It seemed to be all towers;little towers with long pointed spires on them, sharp asneedles. They looked like huge dunce's caps or sorcerer'scaps. And they shone in the moonlight and their longshadows looked strange on the snow! Edmund began to beafraid of the house.

But it was too late to think of turning back now. Hecrossed the river on the ice and walked up to the house.There was nothing stirring; not the slightest soundanywhere. Even his own feet made no noise on the deepnewly fallen snow. He walked on and on, past corner aftercorner of the house, and past turret after turret to findthe door. He had to go right round to the far side before hefound it. It was a huge arch but the great iron gates stoodwide open.

Edmund crept up to the arch and looked inside into thecourtyard, and there he saw a sight that nearly made hisheart stop beating. Just inside the gate, with themoonlight shining on it, stood an enormous lion crouched as ifit was ready to spring. And Edmund stood in the shadowof the arch, afraid to go on and afraid to go back, with hisknees knocking together. He stood there so long that histeeth would have been chattering with cold even if theyhad not been chattering with fear. How long this reallylasted I don't know, but it seemed to Edmund to last forhours.

Then at last he began to wonder why the lion was standingso still—for it hadn't moved one inch since he first seteyes on it. Edmund now ventured a little nearer, stillkeeping in the shadow of the arch as much as he could. He nowsaw from the way the lion was standing that it couldn'thave been looking at him at all. ("But supposing it turnsits head?" thought Edmund.) In fact it was staring atsomething else—namely a little dwarf who stood with hisback to it about four feet away. "Aha!" thoughtEdmund. "When it springs at the dwarf then will be mychance to escape." But still the lion never moved, nor didthe dwarf. And now at last Edmund remembered what theothers had said about the White Witch turning people intostone. Perhaps this was only a stone lion. And as soon ashe had thought of that he noticed that the lion's back andthe top of its head were covered with snow. Of course itmust be only a statue! No living animal would have letit*elf get covered with snow. Then very slowly and withhis heart beating as if it would burst, Edmund venturedto go up to the lion. Even now he hardly dared to touch it,but at last he put out his hand, very quickly, and did. Itwas cold stone. He had been frightened of a mere statue!

The relief which Edmund felt was so great that in spiteof the cold he suddenly got warm all over right down tohis toes, and at the same time there came into his headwhat seemed a perfectly lovely idea. "Probably," hethought, "this is the great Lion Aslan that they were alltalking about. She's caught him already and turned himinto stone. So that's the end of all their fine ideas abouthim! Pooh! Who's afraid of Aslan?"

And he stood there gloating over the stone lion, andpresently he did something very silly and childish. Hetook a stump of lead pencil out of his pocket and scribbleda moustache on the lion's upper lip and then a pair ofspectacles on its eyes. Then he said, "Yah! Silly old Aslan!How do you like being a stone? You thought yourselfmighty fine, didn't you?" But in spite of the scribbles on itthe face of the great stone beast still looked so terrible, andsad, and noble, staring up in the moonlight that Edmunddidn't really get any fun out of jeering at it. He turnedaway and began to cross the courtyard.

As he got into the middle of it he saw that there weredozens of statues all about—standing here and there ratheras the pieces stand on a chess board when it is half waythrough the game. There were stone satyrs, and stonewolves, and bears and foxes and cat-a-mountains of stone.There were lovely stone shapes that looked like women butwho were really the spirits of trees. There was the greatshape of a centaur and a winged horse and a long lithecreature that Edmund took to be a dragon. They all lookedso strange standing there perfectly lifelike and alsoperfectly still, in the bright cold moonlight, that it was eeriework crossing the courtyard. Right in the very middlestood a huge shape like a man, but as tall as a tree, with afierce face and a shaggy beard and a great club in its righthand. Even though he knew that it was only a stone giantand not a live one, Edmund did not like going past it.

He now saw that there was a dim light showing from adoorway on the far side of the courtyard. He went to it,there was a flight of stone steps going up to an open door.Edmund went up them. Across the threshold lay a great wolf:

"It's all right, it's all right," he kept saying to himself,"it's only a stone wolf. It can't hurt me," and he raised hisleg to step over it. Instantly the huge creature rose, withall the hair bristling along its back, opened a great, redmouth and said in a growling voice,

"Who's there? Who's there? Stand still, stranger, andtell me who you are."

"If you please, Sir," said Edmund, trembling so that hecould hardly speak, "my name is Edmund, and I'm theSon of Adam that Her Majesty met in the wood the otherday and I've come to bring her the news that my brotherand sisters are now in Narnia—quite close, in the Beavers'house. She—she wanted to see them."

"I will tell Her Majesty," said the Wolf. "Meanwhile,stand still on the threshold, as you value your life." Thenit vanished into the house.

Edmund stood and waited, his fingers aching with coldand his heart pounding in his chest, and presently the greyWolf, Fenris Ulf, the Chief of the Witch's Secret Police,came bounding back and said, "Come in! Come in! Fortunatefavourite of the Queen—or else not so fortunate."

And Edmund went in, taking great care not to tread onthe Wolf's paws.

He found himself in a long gloomy hall with manypillars, full, as the courtyard had been, of statues. The onenearest the door was a little Faun with a very sadexpression on its face, and Edmund couldn't help wonderingif this might be Lucy's friend. The only light came froma single lamp and close behind this sat the White Witch.

"I'm come, your Majesty," said Edmund rushing eagerlyforward.

"How dare you come alone?" said the Witch in a terriblevoice. "Did I not tell you to bring the others withyou?"

"Please, your Majesty," said Edmund, "I've done thebest I can. I've brought them quite close. They're in thelittle house on top of the dam just up the river—withMr. and Mrs. Beaver."

A slow cruel smile came over the Witch's face.

"Is this all your news?" she asked.

"No, your Majesty," said Edmund, and proceeded totell her all he had heard before leaving the Beavers' house.

"What! Aslan?" cried the Queen, "Aslan! Is this true?If I find you have lied to me—"

"Please, I'm only repeating what they said," stammeredEdmund.

But the Queen, who was no longer attending to him,clapped her hands. Instantly the same dwarf whomEdmund had seen with her before appeared.

"Make ready our sledge," ordered the Witch, "and usethe harness without bells."

CHAPTER X

The Spell Begins to Break

Now we must go back to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver andthe three other children. As soon as Mr. Beaver said"There's no time to lose" everyone began bundlingthemselves into coats, except Mrs. Beaver who startedpicking up sacks and laying them on the table and said: "Now,Mr. Beaver, just reach down that ham. And here's a packetof tea, and there's sugar, and some matches. And if someonewill get two or three loaves out of the crock over therein the corner."

"What are you doing, Mrs. Beaver?" exclaimed Susan.

"Packing a load for each of us, dearie," said Mrs. Beaververy coolly. "You didn't think we'd set out on ajourney with nothing to eat, did you?"

"But we haven't time!" said Susan, buttoning the collarof her coat. "She may be here any minute."

"That's what I say," chimed in Mr. Beaver.

"Get along with you all," said his wife. "Think it over,Mr. Beaver. She can't be here for a quarter of an hour atleast."

"But don't we want as big a start as we can possiblyget," said Peter, "if we're to reach the Stone Table beforeher?"

"You've got to remember that, Mrs. Beaver," saidSusan. "As soon as she has looked in here and finds we'regone she'll be off at top speed."

"That she will," said Mrs. Beaver. "But we can't getthere before her whatever we do, for she'll be on a sledgeand we'll be walking."

"Then—have we no hope?" said Susan.

"Now don't you get fussing, there's a dear," saidMrs. Beaver, "but just get half a dozen clean handkerchiefs outof that drawer. 'Course we've got a hope. We can't getthere before her but we can keep under cover and go byways she won't expect and perhaps we'll get through."

"That's true enough, Mrs. Beaver," said her husband."But it's time we were out of this."

"And don't you start fussing either, Mr. Beaver," saidhis wife. "There. That's better. There's four loads and thesmallest for the smallest of us: that's you, my dear," sheadded looking at Lucy.

"Oh, do please come on," said Lucy.

"Well, I'm nearly ready now," answered Mrs. Beaverat last allowing her husband to help her into her snowboots. "I suppose the sewing machine's too heavy tobring?"

"Yes. It is," said Mr. Beaver. "A great deal too heavy.And you don't think you'll be able to use it while we're onthe run, I suppose?"

"I can't abide the thought of that Witch fiddling withit," said Mrs. Beaver, "and breaking it or stealing it, aslikely as not."

"Oh, please, please, please, do hurry!" said the threechildren. And so at last they all got outside andMr. Beaver locked the door ("It'll delay her a bit," he said)and they set off, all carrying their loads over theirshoulders.

The snow had stopped and the moon had come out whenthey began their journey. They went in single file—firstMr. Beaver, then Lucy, then Peter, then Susan, andMrs. Beaver last of all. Mr. Beaver led them across the dam andonto the right bank of the river and then along a veryrough sort of path among the trees right down by theriver-bank. The sides of the valley, shining in themoonlight, towered up far above them on either hand. "Bestkeep down here as much as possible," he said. "She'll haveto keep to the top, for you couldn't bring a sledge downhere."

It would have been a pretty enough scene to look at itthrough a window from a comfortable armchair; and evenas things were, Lucy enjoyed it at first. But as they wenton walking and walking—and walking—and as the sackshe was carrying felt heavier and heavier, she began towonder how she was going to keep up at all. And shestopped looking at the dazzling brightness of the frozenriver with all its waterfalls of ice and at the white massesof the tree-tops and the great glaring moon and the countlessstars and could only watch the little short legs ofMr. Beaver going pad-pad-pad-pad through the snow infront of her as if they were never going to stop. Then themoon disappeared and the snow began to fall once more.And at last Lucy was so tired that she was almost asleepand walking at the same time when suddenly she foundthat Mr. Beaver had turned away from the river bank tothe right and was leading them steeply uphill into thevery thickest bushes. And then as she came fully awakeshe found that Mr. Beaver was just vanishing into a littlehole in the bank which had been almost hidden underthe bushes until you were quite on top of it. In fact, bythe time she realised what was happening, only his shortflat tail was showing.

Lucy immediately stooped down and crawled in afterhim. Then she heard noises of scrambling and puffing andpanting behind her and in a moment all five of them wereinside.

"Wherever is this?" said Peter's voice, sounding tiredand pale in the darkness. (I hope you know what I meanby a voice sounding pale.)

"It's an old hiding-place for beavers in bad times," saidMr. Beaver, "and a great secret. It's not much of a placebut we must get a few hours' sleep."

"If you hadn't all been in such a plaguey fuss when wewere starting, I'd have brought some pillows," said Mrs. Beaver.

It wasn't nearly such a nice cave as Mr. Tumnus's, Lucythought—just a hole in the ground but dry and earthy. Itwas very small so that when they all lay down they wereall a bundle of fur and clothes together, and what with thatand being warmed up by their long walk they were reallyrather snug. If only the floor of the cave had been a littlesmoother! Then Mrs. Beaver handed round in the darka little flask out of which everyone drank something—itmade one cough and splutter a little and stung the throatbut it also made you feel deliciously warm after you'dswallowed it—and everyone went straight to sleep.

It seemed to Lucy only the next minute (though reallyit was hours and hours later) when she woke up feeling alittle cold and dreadfully stiff and thinking how she wouldlike a hot bath. Then she felt a set of long whiskers ticklingher cheek and saw the cold daylight coming in throughthe mouth of the cave. But immediately after that she wasvery wide awake indeed, and so was everyone else. In factthey were all sitting up with their mouths and eyes wideopen, listening to a sound which was the very sound they'dall been thinking of (and sometimes imagining they heard)during their walk last night. It was a sound of jinglingbells.

Mr. Beaver was out of the cave like a flash the momenthe heard it. Perhaps you think, as Lucy thought for amoment, that this was a very silly thing for him to do? Butit was really a very sensible one. He knew he could scrambleto the top of the bank among bushes and brambles withoutbeing seen; and he wanted above all things to see whichway the Witch's sledge went. The others all sat in the cavewaiting and wondering. They waited nearly five minutes.Then they heard something that frightened them verymuch. They heard voices. "Oh," thought Lucy, "he's beenseen. She's caught him!"

Great was their surprise when, a little later, they heardMr. Beaver's voice calling to them from just outside thecave.

"It's all right," he was shouting. "Come out, Mrs. Beaver.Come out, Sons and Daughters of Adam and Eve.It's all right! It isn't her!" This was bad grammar ofcourse, but that is how beavers talk when they are excited;I mean, in Narnia—in our world they usually don't talk atall.

So Mrs. Beaver and the children came bundling out ofthe cave, all blinking in the daylight, and with earth allover them, and looking very frowsty and unbrushed anduncombed and with the sleep in their eyes.

"Come on!" cried Mr. Beaver, who was almost dancingwith delight. "Come and see! This is a nasty knock for theWitch! It looks as if her power was already crumbling."

"What do you mean, Mr. Beaver?" panted Peter as theyall scrambled up the steep bank of the valley together.

"Didn't I tell you," answered Mr. Beaver, "that she'dmade it always winter and never Christmas? Didn't Itell you? Well, just come and see!"

And then they were all at the top and did see.

It was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on theirharness. But they were far bigger than the Witch'sreindeer, and they were not white but brown. And on thesledge sat a person whom everyone knew the moment theyset eyes on him. He was a huge man in a bright red robe(bright as holly-berries) with a hood that had fur insideit and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfallover his chest. Everyone knew him because, though yousee people of his sort only in Narnia, you see pictures ofthem and hear them talked about even in our world—theworld on this side of the wardrobe door. But when youreally see them in Narnia it is rather different. Some of thepictures of Father Christmas in our world make him lookonly funny and jolly. But now that the children actuallystood looking at him they didn't find it quite like that. Hewas so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all becamequite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.

"I've come at last," said he. "She has kept me out for along time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move.The Witch's magic is weakening."

And Lucy felt running through her that deep shiver ofgladness which you only get if you are being solemn andstill.

"And now," said Father Christmas, "for your presents.There is a new and better sewing machine for you,Mrs. Beaver. I will drop it in your house as I pass."

"If you please, sir," said Mrs. Beaver, making a curtsey."It's locked up."

"Locks and bolts make no difference to me," said FatherChristmas. "And as for you, Mr. Beaver, when you gethome you will find your dam finished and mended and allthe leaks stopped and a new sluice gate fitted."

Mr. Beaver was so pleased that he opened his mouthvery wide and then found he couldn't say anything at all.

"Peter, Adam's Son," said Father Christmas.

"Here, Sir," said Peter.

"These are your presents," was the answer, "and theyare tools not toys. The time to use them is perhaps near athand. Bear them well." With these words he handed toPeter a shield and a sword. The shield was the colour ofsilver and across it there ramped a red lion, as bright as aripe strawberry at the moment when you pick it. The hiltof the sword was of gold and it had a sheath and a swordbelt and everything it needed, and it was just the right sizeand weight for Peter to use. Peter was silent and solemn ashe received these gifts for he felt they were a very seriouskind of present.

"Susan, Eve's Daughter," said Father Christmas. "Theseare for you," and he handed her a bow and a quiver fullof arrows and a little ivory horn. "You must use the bowonly in great need," he said, "for I do not mean you tofight in the battle. It does not easily miss. And when youput this horn to your lips and blow it, then, wherever youare, I think help of some kind will come to you."

Last of all he said, "Lucy, Eve's Daughter," and Lucycame forward. He gave her a little bottle of what lookedlike glass (but people said afterwards that it was made ofdiamond) and a small dagger. "In this bottle," he said,"there is a cordial made of the juice of one of thefire-flowers that grow in the mountains of the sun. If you orany of your friends are hurt, a few drops of this will restoreyou. And the dagger is to defend yourself at great need.For you also are not to be in the battle."

"Why, Sir," said Lucy. "I think—I don't know—but Ithink I could be brave enough."

"That is not the point," he said. "But battles are uglywhen women fight. And now"—here he suddenly lookedless grave—"here is something for the moment for youall!" and he brought out (I suppose from the big bag athis back, but nobody quite saw him do it) a large traycontaining five cups and saucers, a bowl of lump sugar, ajug of cream, and a great big teapot all sizzling and pipinghot. Then he cried out "A Merry Christmas! Long livethe true King!" and cracked his whip and he and thereindeer and the sledge and all were out of sight beforeanyone realised that they had started.

Peter had just drawn his sword out of its sheath and wasshowing it to Mr. Beaver when Mrs. Beaver said:

"Now then, now then! Don't stand talking there till thetea's got cold. Just like men. Come and help to carry thetray down and we'll have breakfast. What a mercy Ithought of bringing the bread-knife."

So down the steep bank they went and back to the cave,and Mr. Beaver cut some of the bread and ham intosandwiches and Mrs. Beaver poured out the tea and everyoneenjoyed himself. But long before they had finishedenjoying themselves Mr. Beaver said, "Time to be movingon now."

CHAPTER XI

Aslan Is Nearer

Edmund meanwhile had been having a mostdisappointing time. When the Dwarf had gone to get thesledge ready he expected that the Witch would startbeing nice to him, as she had been at their last meeting.But she said nothing at all. And when at last Edmundplucked up his courage to say, "Please, your Majesty,could I have some Turkish Delight? You—you—said—"she answered, "Silence, fool!" Then she appeared tochange her mind and said, as if to herself, "And yet it willnot do to have the brat fainting on the way," and oncemore clapped her hands. Another dwarf appeared."Bring the human creature food and drink," she said.The Dwarf went away and presently returned bringingan iron bowl with some water in it and an iron plate witha hunk of dry bread on it. He grinned in a repulsivemanner as he set them down the floor beside Edmund andsaid:

"Turkish Delight for the little Prince. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

"Take it away," said Edmund sulkily. "I don't want drybread." But the Witch suddenly turned on him with sucha terrible expression on her face that he apologised andbegan to nibble at the bread, though it was so stale hecould hardly get it down.

"You may be glad enough of it before you taste breadagain," said the Witch.

While he was still chewing away the first dwarf cameback and announced that the sledge was ready. The WhiteWitch rose and went out, ordering Edmund to go withher. The snow was again falling as they came into thecourtyard but she took no notice of that and madeEdmund sit beside her on the sledge. But before they droveoff she called Fenris Ulf and he came bounding like anenormous dog to the side of the sledge.

"Take with you the swiftest of your wolves and go atonce to the house of the Beavers," said the Witch, "andkill whatever you find there. If they are already gone, thenmake all speed to the Stone Table, but do not be seen.Wait for me there in hiding. I meanwhile must go manymiles to the West before I find a place where I can driveacross the river. You may overtake these humans beforethey reach the Stone Table. You will know what to do ifyou find them!"

"I hear and obey, O Queen," growled the Wolf; andimmediately he shot away into the snow and darkness, asquickly as a horse can gallop. In a few minutes he hadcalled another wolf and was with him down on the damand sniffing at the Beavers' house. But of course they foundit empty. It would have been a dreadful thing for theBeavers and the children if the night had remained fine,for the wolves would then have been able to follow theirtrail—and ten to one would have overtaken them beforethey had got to the cave. But now that the snow had begunagain the scent was cold and even the footprints werecovered up.

Meanwhile the Dwarf whipped up the reindeer andthe Witch and Edmund drove out under the archway andon and away into the darkness and the cold. This was aterrible journey for Edmund who had no coat. Before theyhad been going a quarter of ah hour all the front of himwas covered with snow—he soon stopped trying to shake itoff because, as quickly as he did that, a new lot gathered,and he was so tired. Soon he was wet to the skin. And oh,how miserable he was. It didn't look now as if the Witchintended to make him a King! All the things he had said tomake himself believe that she was good and kind and thather side was really the right side sounded to him silly now.He would have given anything to meet the others at thismoment—even Peter! The only way to comfort himselfnow was to try to believe that the whole thing was a dreamand that he might wake up at any moment. And as theywent on, hour after hour, it did come to seem like a dream.

This lasted longer than I could describe even if I wrotepages and pages about it. But I will skip on to the timewhen the snow had stopped and the morning had comeand they were racing along in the daylight. And still theywent on and on, with no sound but the everlasting swish ofthe snow and the creaking of the reindeer's harness. Andthen at last the Witch said, "What have we here? Stop!"and they did.

How Edmund hoped she was going to say somethingabout breakfast! But she had stopped for quite a differentreason. A little way off at the foot of a tree sat a merryparty, a squirrel and his wife with their children andtwo satyrs and a dwarf and an old dog-fox, all on stoolsround a table. Edmund couldn't quite see what they wereeating, but it smelled lovely and there seemed to bedecorations of holly and he wasn't at all sure that he didn't seesomething like a plum pudding. At the moment when thesledge stopped, the Fox, who was obviously the oldestperson present, had just risen to its feet, holding a glass in itsright paw as if it was going to say something. But whenthe whole party saw the sledge stopping and who was in it,all the gaiety went out of their faces. The father squirrelstopped eating with his fork half-way to his mouth and oneof the satyrs stopped with its fork actually in its mouth,and the baby squirrels squealed with terror.

"What is the meaning of this?" asked the Witch Queen.Nobody answered.

"Speak, vermin!" she said again. "Or do you want mydwarf to find you a tongue with his whip? What is themeaning of all this gluttony, this waste, this selfindulgence? Where did you get all these things?"

"Please, your Majesty," said the Fox, "we were giventhem. And if I might make so bold as to drink yourMajesty's very good health—"

"Who gave them to you?" said the Witch.

"F-F-F-Father Christmas," stammered the Fox.

"What?" roared the Witch, springing from the sledgeand taking a few strides nearer to the terrified animals."He has not been here! He cannot have been here! Howdare you—but no. Say you have been lying and you shalleven now be forgiven."

At that moment one of the young squirrels lost its headcompletely.

"He has—he has—he has!" it squeaked beating itslittle spoon on the table. Edmund saw the Witch bite herlips so that a drop of blood appeared on her white cheek.Then she raised her wand. "Oh don't, don't, please don't,"shouted Edmund, but even while he was shouting she hadwaved her wand and instantly where the merry party hadbeen there were only statues of creatures (one with itsstone fork fixed forever half-way to its stone mouth) seatedround a stone table on which there were stone plates anda stone plum pudding.

"As for you," said the Witch, giving Edmund a stunningblow on the face as she re-mounted the sledge, "letthat teach you to ask favour for spies and traitors. Driveon!" And Edmund for the first time in this story felt sorryfor someone besides himself. It seemed so pitiful to thinkof those little stone figures sitting there all the silent daysand all the dark nights, year after year, till the moss grewon them and at last even their faces crumbled away.

Now they were steadily racing on again. And soonEdmund noticed that the snow which splashed againstthem as they rushed through it was much wetter than ithad been all last night. At the same time he noticed thathe was feeling much less cold. It was also becoming foggy.In fact every minute it grew both foggier and warmer.And the sledge was not running nearly as well as it hadbeen running up till now. At first he thought this wasbecause the reindeer were tired, but soon he saw that thatcouldn't be the real reason. The sledge jerked, andskidded, and kept on jolting as if it had struck againststones. And however the Dwarf whipped the poor reindeerthe sledge went slower and slower. There also seemed tobe a curious noise all round them but the noise of theirdriving and jolting and the Dwarf's shouting at thereindeer prevented Edmund from hearing what it was, untilsuddenly the sledge stuck so fast that it wouldn't go on atall. When that happened there was a moment's silence.And in that silence Edmund could at last listen to theother noise properly. A strange, sweet, rustling, chatteringnoise—and yet not so strange, for he knew he'd heard itbefore—if only he could remember where! Then all atonce he did remember. It was the noise of running water.All round them, though out of sight, there were streamschattering, murmuring, bubbling, splashing and even (inthe distance) roaring. And his heart gave a great leap(though he hardly knew why) when he realised that thefrost was over. And much nearer there was a drip-drip-dripfrom the branches of all the trees. And then, as helooked at one tree he saw a great load of snow slide off itand for the first time since he had entered Narnia he sawthe dark green of a fir tree. But he hadn't time to listen orwatch any longer for the Witch said:

"Don't sit staring, fool! Get out and help."

And of course Edmund had to obey. He stepped outinto the snow—but it was really only slush by now—andbegan helping the Dwarf to get the sledge out of the muddyhole it had got into. They got it out in the end, and bybeing very cruel to the reindeer the Dwarf managed to getit on the move again, and they drove a little further. Andnow the snow was really melting in earnest and patches ofgreen grass were beginning to appear in every direction.Unless you have looked at a world of snow as long asEdmund had been looking at it, you will hardly be able toimagine what a relief those green patches were after theendless white. Then the sledge stopped again.

"It's no good, your Majesty," said the Dwarf. "We can'tsledge in this thaw."

"Then we must walk," said the Witch.

"We shall never overtake them walking," growled thedwarf. "Not with the start they've got."

"Are you my councillor or my slave?" said the Witch."Do as you're told. Tie the hands of the human creaturebehind it and keep hold of the end of the rope. And takeyour whip. And cut the harness of the reindeer; they'llfind their own way home."

The Dwarf obeyed, and in a few minutes Edmundfound himself being forced to walk as fast as he could withhis hands tied behind him. He kept on slipping in the slushand mud and wet grass, and every time he slipped theDwarf gave him a curse and sometimes a flick with thewhip. The Witch walked behind the dwarf and kept onsaying, "Faster! Faster!"

Every moment the patches of green grew bigger andthe patches of snow grew smaller. Every moment moreand more of the trees shook off their robes of snow. Soon,wherever you looked, instead of white shapes you saw thedark green of firs or the black prickly branches of bareoaks and beeches and elms. Then the mist turned fromwhite to gold and presently cleared away altogether. Shaftsof delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor andoverhead you could see a blue sky between the tree-tops.

Soon there were more wonderful things happening.Coming suddenly round a corner into a glade of silverbirch trees Edmund saw the ground covered in all directionswith little yellow flowers—celandines. The noise ofwater grew louder. Presently they actually crossed astream. Beyond it they found snowdrops growing.

"Mind your own business!" said the Dwarf when he sawthat Edmund had turned his head to look at them; and hegave the rope a vicious jerk.

But of course this didn't prevent Edmund from seeing.Only five minutes later he noticed a dozen crocusesgrowing round the foot of an old tree—gold and purple andwhite. Then came a sound even more delicious than thesound of the water. Close beside the path they werefollowing a bird suddenly chirped from the branch of a tree. Itwas answered by the chuckle of another bird a little furtheroff. And then, as if that had been a signal, there waschattering and chirruping in every direction, and then amoment of full song, and within five minutes the wholewood was ringing with birds' music, and whereverEdmund's eyes turned he saw birds alighting on branches, orsailing overhead or having their little quarrels.

"Faster! Faster!" said the Witch.

There was no trace of the fog now. The sky becamebluer and bluer and now there were white clouds hurryingacross it from time to time. In the wide glades there wereprimroses. A light breeze sprang up which scattered dropsof moisture from the swaying branches and carried cool,delicious scents against the faces of the travellers. Thetrees began to come fully alive. The larches and bircheswere covered with green, the laburnums with gold. Soonthe beech trees had put forth their delicate, transparentleaves. As the travellers walked under them the light alsobecame green. A bee buzzed across their path.

"This is no thaw," said the Dwarf, suddenly stopping."This is spring. What are we to do? Your winter has beendestroyed, I tell you! This is Aslan's doing."

"If either of you mention that name again," said theWitch, "he shall instantly be killed."

CHAPTER XII

Peter's First Battle

While the Dwarf and the White Witch weresaying this, miles away the Beaver and thechildren were walking on hour after hour into whatseemed a delicious dream. Long ago they had left the coatsbehind them. And by now they had even stopped saying toone another, "Look! There's a kingfisher!" or "I say,bluebells!" or "What was that lovely smell?" or "Just listento that thrush!" They walked on in silence drinking it allin, passing through patches of warm sunlight into cool,green thickets and out again into wide mossy glades wheretall elms raised the leafy roof far overhead, and then intodense masses of flowering currant and among hawthornbushes where the sweet smell was almost overpowering.

They had been just as surprised as Edmund when theysaw the winter vanishing and the whole wood passing ina few hours or so from January to May. They hadn't evenknown for certain (as the Witch did) that this was whatwould happen when Aslan came to Narnia. But they allknew that it was her spells which had produced theendless winter; and therefore they all knew when this magicspring began that something had gone wrong, and badlywrong, with the Witch's schemes. And after the thaw hadbeen going on for some time they all realised that theWitch would no longer be able to use her sledge. Afterthat they didn't hurry so much and they allowed themselvesmore rests and longer ones. They were pretty tiredby now of course; but not what I'd call bitterly tired—onlyslow and feeling very dreamy and quiet inside as onedoes when one is coming to the end of a long day in theopen. Susan had a slight blister on one heel.

They had left the course of the big river some time ago;for one had to turn a little to the right (that meant a littleto the South) to reach the place of the Stone Table. Evenif this had not been their way, they couldn't have kept tothe river valley once the thaw began, for with all thatmelting snow the river was soon in flood—a wonderful,roaring, thundering yellow flood—and their path wouldhave been under water.

And now the sun got low and the light got redder andthe shadows got longer and the flowers began to thinkabout closing.

"Not long now," said Mr. Beaver, and began leadingthem uphill across some very deep, springy moss (it feltnice under their tired feet) in a place where only tall treesgrew, very wide apart. The climb, coming at the end ofthe long day, made them all pant and blow. And just asLucy was wondering whether she could really get to thetop without another long rest, suddenly they were at thetop. And this is what they saw.

They were on a green open space from which you couldlook down on the forest spreading as far as one could seein every direction—except right ahead. There, far to theEast, was something twinkling and moving. "By gum!"whispered Peter to Susan. "The sea!" In the very middleof this open hilltop was the Stone Table. It was a greatgrim slab of grey stone supported on four upright stones.It looked very old; and it was cut all over with strangelines and figures that might be the letters of an unknownlanguage. They gave you a curious feeling when youlooked at them. The next thing they saw was a pavilionpitched on one side of the open place. A wonderful pavilionit was—and especially now when the light of the settingsun fell upon it—with sides of what looked like yellow silkand cords of crimson and tent-pegs of ivory; and highabove it on a pole a banner, which bore a red rampant lion,fluttered in the breeze which was blowing in their facesfrom the far-off sea. While they were looking at this theyheard a sound of music on their right; and turning in thatdirection they saw what they had come to see.

Aslan stood in the centre of a crowd of creatures whohad grouped themselves around him in the shape of ahalf-moon. There were Tree-Women there and Well-Women(Dryads and Naiads as they used to be called in ourworld) who had stringed instruments; it was they whohad made the music. There were four great centaurs. Thehorse part of them was like huge English farm horses, andthe man part was like stern but beautiful giants. There wasalso a unicorn, and a bull with the head of a man, and apelican, and an eagle, and a great dog. And next to Aslanstood two leopards of whom one carried his crown and theother his standard.

But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the childrendidn't know what to do or say when they saw him. Peoplewho have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thingcannot be good and terrible at the same time. If thechildren had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. Forwhen they tried to look at Aslan's face they just caught aglimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn,overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn'tlook at him and went all trembly.

"Go on," whispered Mr. Beaver.

"No," whispered Peter, "you first."

"No, Sons of Adam before animals," whispered Mr. Beaverback again.

"Susan," whispered Peter, "what about you? Ladies first."

"No, you're the eldest," whispered Susan. And of coursethe longer they went on doing this the more awkward theyfelt. Then at last Peter realised that it was up to him. Hedrew his sword and raised it to the salute and hastilysaying to the others "Come on. Pull yourselves together," headvanced to the Lion and said:

"We have come—Aslan."

"Welcome, Peter, Son of Adam," said Aslan. "Welcome,Susan and Lucy, Daughters of Eve. Welcome He-Beaverand She-Beaver."

His voice was deep and rich and somehow took thefidgets out of them. They now felt glad and quiet and itdidn't seem awkward to them to stand and say nothing.

"But where is the fourth?" asked Aslan.

"He has tried to betray them and joined the WhiteWitch, O Aslan," said Mr. Beaver. And then somethingmade Peter say:

"That was partly my fault, Aslan. I was angry with himand I think that helped him to go wrong."

And Aslan said nothing either to excuse Peter or toblame him but merely stood looking at him with his greatgolden eyes. And it seemed to all of them that there wasnothing to be said.

"Please—Aslan," said Lucy, "can anything be done tosave Edmund?"

"All shall be done," said Aslan. "But it may be harderthan you think." And then he was silent again for sometime. Up to that moment Lucy had been thinking howroyal and strong and peaceful his face looked; now itsuddenly came into her head that he looked sad as well. Butnext minute that expression was quite gone. The Lionshook his mane and clapped his paws together ("Terriblepaws," thought Lucy, "If he didn't know how to velvetthem!") and said:

"Meanwhile, let the feast be prepared. Ladies, takethese Daughters of Eve to the pavilion and minister tothem."

When the girls had gone Aslan laid his paw—andthough it was velveted it was very heavy—on Peter'sshoulder and said, "Come, Son of Adam, and I will show you afar-off sight of the castle where you are to be King."

And Peter with his sword still drawn in his hand wentwith the Lion to the eastern edge of the hill-top. There abeautiful sight met their eyes. The sun was setting behindtheir backs. That meant that the whole country belowthem lay in the evening light—forest and hills and valleysand, winding away like a silver snake, the lower part of thegreat river. And beyond all this, miles away, was the sea,and beyond the sea the sky, full of clouds which were justturning rose colour with the reflection of the sunset. Butjust where the land of Narnia met the sea—in fact, at themouth of the great river—there was something on a littlehill, shining. It was shining because it was a castle and ofcourse the sunlight was reflected from all the windowswhich looked towards Peter and the sunset; but to Peterit looked like a great star resting on the seashore.

"That, O Man," said Aslan, "is Cair Paravel of the fourthrones, in one of which you must sit as King. I show it toyou because you are the first-born and you will be HighKing over all the rest."

And once more Peter said nothing, for at that momenta strange noise woke the silence suddenly. It was like abugle, but richer.

"It is your sister's horn," said Aslan to Peter in a lowvoice; so low as to be almost a purr, if it is notdisrespectful to think of a lion purring.

For a moment Peter did not understand. Then, whenhe saw all the other creatures start forward and heardAslan say with a wave of his paw, "Back! Let the Princewin his spurs," he did understand, and set off running ashard as he could to the pavilion. And there he saw adreadful sight.

The Naiads and Dryads were scattering in every direction.Lucy was running towards him as fast as her shortlegs would carry her and her face was as white as paper.Then he saw Susan make a dash for a tree, and swingherself up, followed by a huge grey beast. At first Peterthought it was a bear. Then he saw that it looked like anAlsatian, though it was far too big to be a dog. Then herealised that it was a wolf—a wolf standing on its hindlegs, with its front paws against the tree-trunk snappingand snarling. All the hair on its back stood up on end.Susan had not been able to get higher than the second bigbranch. One of her legs hung down so that her foot wasonly an inch or two above the snapping teeth. Peterwondered why she did not get higher or at least take a bettergrip; then he realised that she was just going to faint andthat if she fainted she would fall off.

Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he wasgoing to be sick. But that made no difference to what hehad to do. He rushed straight up to the monster and aimeda slash of his sword at its side. That stroke never reachedthe Wolf. Quick as lightning it turned round, its eyesflaming, and its mouth wide open in a howl of anger. If it hadnot been so angry that it simply had to howl it would havegot him by the throat at once. As it was—though all thishappened too quickly for Peter to think at all—he hadjust time to duck down and plunge his sword, as hard ashe could, between the brute's forelegs into its heart. Thencame a horrible, confused moment like something in anightmare. He was tugging and pulling and the Wolfseemed neither alive nor dead, and its bared teeth knockedagainst his forehead, and everything was blood and heatand hair. A moment later he found that the monster laydead and he had drawn his sword out of it and wasstraightening his back and rubbing the sweat off his faceand out of his eyes. He felt tired all over.

Then, after a bit, Susan came down the tree. She andPeter felt pretty shaky when they met and I won't say therewasn't kissing and crying on both sides. But in Narnia noone thinks any the worse of you for that.

"Quick! Quick!" shouted the voice of Aslan, "Centaurs!Eagles! I see another wolf in the thickets. There—behindyou. He has just darted away. After him, all of you!He will be going to his mistress. Now is your chance to findthe Witch and rescue the fourth Son of Adam." Andinstantly with a thunder of hoofs and a beating of wings adozen or so of the swiftest creatures disappeared into thegathering darkness.

Peter, still out of breath, turned and saw Aslan closeat hand.

"You have forgotten to clean your sword," said Aslan.

It was true. Peter blushed when he looked at the brightblade and saw it all smeared with the Wolf's hair andblood. He stooped down and wiped it quite clean on thegrass, and then wiped it quite dry on his coat.

"Hand it to me and kneel, Son of Adam," said Aslan.And when Peter had done so he struck him with the flatof the blade and said, "Rise up, Sir Peter Fenris-Bane.And, whatever happens, never forget to wipe your sword."

CHAPTER XIII

Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time

Now we must go back to Edmund. When he hadbeen made to walk far further than he had everknown that anybody could walk, the Witch at lasthalted in a dark valley all overshadowed with fir trees andyew trees. Edmund simply sank down and lay on his face,doing nothing at all and not even caring what was going tohappen next provided they would let him lie still. He wastoo tired even to notice how hungry and thirsty he was.The Witch and the Dwarf were talking close beside him inlow tones.

"No," said the Dwarf, "it is no use now, O Queen. Theymust have reached the Stone Table by now."

"Perhaps the Wolf will smell us out and bring us news,"said the Witch.

"It cannot be good news if he does," said the Dwarf.

"Four thrones in Cair Paravel," said the Witch. "Howif only three were filled? That would not fulfil theprophecy."

"What difference would that make now that he ishere?" said the Dwarf. He did not dare, even now, tomention the name of Aslan to his mistress.

"He may not stay long. And then—we would fall uponthe three at Cair."

"Yet it might be better," said the Dwarf, "to keep thisone" (here he kicked Edmund) "for bargaining with."

"Yes! And have him rescued," said the Witch scornfully.

"Then," said the Dwarf, "we had better do what wehave to do at once."

"I would like to have done it on the Stone Table itself,"said the Witch. "That is the proper place. That is where ithas always been done before."

"It will be a long time now before the Stone Table canagain be put to its proper use," said the Dwarf.

"True," said the Witch; and then, "Well, I will begin."

At that moment with a rush and a snarl a Wolf rushedup to them.

"I have seen them. They are all at the Stone Table, withhim. They have killed my captain, Fenris Ulf. I washidden in the thickets and saw it all. One of the Sons of Adamkilled him. Fly! Fly!"

"No," said the Witch. "There need be no flying. Goquickly. Summon all our people to meet me here asspeedily as they can. Call out the giants and thewerewolves and the spirits of those trees who are on our side.Call the Ghouls, and the Boggles, the Ogres and the Minotaurs.Call the Cruels, the Hags, the Spectres, and the peopleof the Toadstools. We will fight. What? Have I not stillmy wand? Will not their ranks turn into stone even as theycome on? Be off quickly, I have a little thing to finish herewhile you are away."

The great brute bowed its head, turned, and galloped away.

"Now!" said she, "we have no table—let me see. Wehad better put it against the trunk of a tree."

Edmund found himself being roughly forced to his feet.Then the Dwarf set him with his back against a tree andbound him fast. He saw the Witch take off her outermantle. Her arms were bare underneath it and terriblywhite. Because they were so very white he could not seemuch else, it was so dark in this valley under the darktrees.

"Prepare the victim," said the Witch. And the Dwarfundid Edmund's collar and folded back his shirt at theneck. Then he took Edmund's hair and pulled his headback so that he had to raise his chin. After that Edmundheard a strange noise—whizz—whizz—whizz. For a momenthe couldn't think what it was. Then he realised. Itwas the sound of a knife being sharpened!

At that very moment he heard loud shouts from everydirection—a drumming of hoofs and a beating of wings—ascream from the Witch—confusion all round him. Andthen he found he was being untied. Strong arms wereround him and he heard big, kind voices saying things like"Let him lie down—give him some wine—drink this—steadynow—you'll be all right in a minute."

Then he heard the voices of people who were talkingnot to him but to one another. And they were saying thingslike "Who's got the Witch?—I thought you had her—Ididn't see her after I knocked the knife out of herhand—I was after the Dwarf—Do you mean to say she'sescaped?—A chap can't mind everything at once—What'sthat? Oh sorry it's only an old stump!" But just at thispoint Edmund went off in a dead faint.

Presently the centaurs and unicorns and deer and birds(they were of course the rescue party which Aslan hadsent in the last chapter) all set off to go back to the StoneTable, carrying Edmund with them. But if they could haveseen what happened in that valley after they had gone, Ithink they might have been surprised.

It was perfectly still and presently the moon grew bright,if you had been there you would have seen the moonlightshining on an old tree-stump and on a fair sized boulder.But if you had gone on looking you would gradually havebegun to think there was something odd about both thestump and the boulder. And next you would have thoughtthat the stump did look really remarkably like a little fatman crouching on the ground. And if you had watchedlong enough you would have seen the stump walk across tothe boulder and the boulder sit up and begin talking to thestump; for in reality the stump and the boulder weresimply the Witch and the Dwarf. For it was part of hermagic that she could make things look like what theyweren't, and she had the presence of mind to do so at thevery moment when the knife was knocked out of her hand.She had kept hold of her wand also, so it had been keptsafe, too.

When the other children woke up next morning (theyhad been sleeping on piles of cushions in the pavilion) thefirst thing they heard—from Mrs. Beaver—was that theirbrother had been rescued and brought into camp late lastnight; and was at that moment with Aslan. As soon as theyhad breakfasted they all went out, and there they sawAslan and Edmund walking together in the dewy grass,apart from the rest of the court. There is no need to tellyou (and no one ever heard) what Aslan was saying but itwas a conversation which Edmund never forgot. As theothers drew nearer Aslan turned to meet them bringingEdmund with him.

"Here is your brother," he said, "and—there is no needto talk to him about what is past."

Edmund shook hands with each of the others and saidto each of them in turn, "I'm sorry," and everyone said"That's all right." And then everyone wanted very hardto say something which would make it quite clear that theywere all friends with him again—something ordinary andnatural—and of course no one could think of anything inthe world to say. But before they had time to feel reallyawkward one of the leopards approached Aslan andsaid:

"Sire, there is a messenger from the enemy who cravesaudience."

"Let him approach," said Aslan.

The leopard went away and soon returned leading theWitch's Dwarf.

"What is your message, Son of Earth?" asked Aslan.

"The Queen of Narnia and Empress of the Lone Islandsdesires a safe conduct to come and speak with you," saidthe Dwarf, "on a matter which is as much to youradvantage as to hers."

"Queen of Narnia, indeed!" said Mr. Beaver. "Of allthe cheek—"

"Peace, Beaver," said Aslan. "All names will soon berestored to their proper owners. In the meantime we willnot dispute about noises. Tell your mistress, Son of Earth,that I grant her safe conduct on condition that she leavesher wand behind her at that great oak."

This was agreed to and two leopards went back withthe Dwarf to see that the conditions were properly carriedout. "But supposing she turns the two leopards into stone?"whispered Lucy to Peter. I think the same idea hadoccurred to the leopards themselves; at any rate, as theywalked off their fur was all standing up on their backs andtheir tails were bristling—like a cat's when it sees a strangedog.

"It'll be all right," whispered Peter in reply. "Hewouldn't send them if it weren't."

A few minutes later the Witch herself walked out on tothe top of the hill and came straight across and stood beforeAslan. The three children, who had not seen her before,felt shudders running down their backs at the sight of herface; and there were low growls among all the animalspresent. Though it was bright sunshine everyone feltsuddenly cold. The only two people present who seemed to bequite at their ease were Aslan and the Witch herself. Itwas the oddest thing to see those two faces—the goldenface and the dead-white face—so close together. Not thatthe Witch looked Aslan exactly in his eyes; Mrs. Beaverparticularly noticed this.

"You have a traitor there, Aslan," said the Witch. Ofcourse everyone present knew that she meant Edmund. ButEdmund had got past thinking about himself after all he'dbeen through and after the talk he'd had that morning. Hejust went on looking at Aslan. It didn't seem to matterwhat the Witch said.

"Well," said Aslan. "His offence was not against you."

"Have you forgotten the Deep Magic?" asked the Witch.

"Let us say I have forgotten it," answered Aslan gravely."Tell us of this Deep Magic."

"Tell you?" said the Witch, her voice growing suddenlyshriller. "Tell you what is written on that very Table ofStone which stands beside us? Tell you what is written inletters deep as a spear is long on the trunk of the WorldAsh Tree? Tell you what is engraved on the sceptre of theEmperor-Beyond-the-Sea? You at least know the magicwhich the Emperor put into Narnia at the very beginning.You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawfulprey and that for every treachery I have a right to a kill."

"Oh," said Mr. Beaver. "So that's how you came toimagine yourself a Queen—because you were theEmperor's hangman. I see."

"Peace, Beaver," said Aslan, with a very low growl.

"And so," continued the Witch, "that human creatureis mine. His life is forfeit to me. His blood is my property."

"Come and take it then," said the Bull with the man'shead in a great bellowing voice.

"Fool," said the Witch with a savage smile that wasalmost a snarl, "do you really think your master can rob meof my rights by mere force? He knows the Deep Magicbetter than that. He knows that unless I have blood as theLaw says all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fireand water."

"It is very true," said Aslan; "I do not deny it."

"Oh, Aslan!" whispered Susan in the Lion's ear, "can'twe—I mean, you won't, will you? Can't we do somethingabout the Deep Magic? Isn't there something you canwork against it?"

"Work against the Emperor's magic?" said Aslan turningto her with something like a frown on his face. Andnobody ever made that suggestion to him again.

Edmund was on the other side of Aslan, looking all thetime at Aslan's face. He felt a choking feeling andwondered if he ought to say something; but a moment later hefelt that he was not expected to do anything except towait, and do what he was told.

"Fall back, all of you," said Aslan, "and I will talk tothe Witch alone."

They all obeyed. It was a terrible time this—waitingand wondering while the Lion and the Witch talkedearnestly together in low voices. Lucy said, "Oh, Edmund!"and began to cry. Peter stood with his back to the otherslooking out at the distant sea. The Beavers stood holdingeach other's paws with their heads bowed. The centaursstamped uneasily with their hoofs. But everyone becameperfectly still in the end, so that you noticed even smallsounds like a bumble bee flying past, or the birds in theforest down below them, or the wind rustling the leaves.And still the talk between Aslan and the White Witchwent on.

At last they heard Aslan's voice. "You can all comeback," he said. "I have settled the matter. She hasrenounced the claim on your brother's blood." And all overthe hill there was a noise as if everyone had been holdinghis breath and had now begun breathing again, and thena murmur of talk. They began to come back to Aslan'sthrone.

The Witch was just turning away with a look of fiercejoy on her face when she stopped and said,

"But how do I know this promise will be kept?"

"Wow!" roared Aslan half rising from his throne; andhis great mouth opened wider and wider and the roar grewlouder and louder, and the Witch, after staring for amoment with her lips wide apart, picked up her skirts andfairly ran for her life.

CHAPTER XIV

The Triumph of the Witch

As soon as the Witch had gone Aslan said, "Wemust move from this place at once, it will bewanted for other purposes. We shall encampto-night at the Fords of Beruna."

Of course everyone was dying to ask him how he hadarranged matters with the Witch; but his face was sternand everyone's ears were still ringing with the sound of hisroar and so nobody dared.

After a meal, which was taken in the open air on thehill-top (for the sun had got strong by now and dried thegrass) they were busy for a while taking the pavilion downand packing things up. Before two o'clock they were on themarch and set off in a North-Westerly direction, walkingat an easy pace for they had not far to go.

During the first part of the journey Aslan explained toPeter his plan of campaign. "As soon as she has finishedher business in these parts," he said, "the Witch and hercrew will almost certainly fall back to her house andprepare for a siege. You may or may not be able to cut her offand prevent her from reaching it." He then went on tooutline two plans of battle—one for fighting the Witchand her people in the wood and another for assaulting hercastle. And all the time he was advising Peter how toconduct the operations, saying things like, "You must put yourcentaurs in such and such a place" or "You must postscouts to see that she doesn't do so-and-so," till at last Petersaid,

"But you will be there yourself, Aslan."

"I can give you no promise of that," answered the Lion.And he continued giving Peter his instructions.

For the last part of the journey it was Susan and Lucywho saw most of him. He did not talk very much andseemed to them to be sad.

It was still afternoon when they came down to a placewhere the river valley had widened out and the river wasbroad and shallow. This was the Fords of Beruna andAslan gave orders to halt on this side of the water. ButPeter said,

"Wouldn't it be better to camp on the far side—for fearshe should try a night attack or anything?"

Aslan who seemed to have been thinking about somethingelse roused himself with a shake of his magnificentmane and said, "Eh? What's that?" Peter said it all overagain.

"No," said Aslan in a dull voice, as if it didn't matter."No. She will not make an attack to-night." And then hesighed deeply. But presently he added, "All the same itwas well thought of. That is how a soldier ought to think.But it doesn't really matter." So they proceeded to pitchtheir camp.

Aslan's mood affected everyone that evening. Peter wasfeeling uncomfortable too at the idea of fighting the battleon his own; the news that Aslan might not be there hadcome as a great shock to him. Supper that evening was aquiet meal. Everyone felt how different it had been lastnight or even that morning. It was as if the good times,having just begun, were already drawing to their end.

This feeling affected Susan so much that she couldn'tget to sleep when she went to bed. And after she had laincounting sheep and turning over and over she heard Lucygive a long sigh and turn over just beside her in thedarkness.

"Can't you get to sleep either?" said Susan.

"No," said Lucy. "I thought you were asleep. I say, Susan?"

"What?"

"I've a most horrible feeling—as if something werehanging over us."

"Have you? Because, as a matter of fact, so have I."

"Something about Aslan," said Lucy. "Either somedreadful thing that is going to happen to him, orsomething dreadful that he's going to do."

"There's been something wrong with him all afternoon,"said Susan. "Lucy! What was that he said aboutnot being with us at the battle? You don't think he couldbe stealing away and leaving us to-night, do you?"

"Where is he now?" said Lucy. "Is he here in the pavilion?"

"I don't think so."

"Susan! Let's go outside and have a look round. Wemight see him."

"All right. Let's," said Susan, "we might just as well bedoing that as lying awake here."

Very quietly the two girls groped their way among theother sleepers and crept out of the tent. The moonlightwas bright and everything was quite still except for thenoise of the river chattering over the stones. Then Susansuddenly caught Lucy's arm and said, "Look!" On the farside of the camping ground, just where the trees began,they saw the Lion slowly walking away from them into thewood. Without a word they both followed him.

He led them up the steep slope out of the river valleyand then slightly to the left—apparently by the very sameroute which they had used that afternoon in coming fromthe Hill of the Stone Table. On and on he led them, intodark shadows and out into pale moonlight, getting theirfeet wet with the heavy dew. He looked somehow differentfrom the Aslan they knew. His tail and his head hung lowand he walked slowly as if he were very, very tired. Then,when they were crossing a wide open place where therewere no shadows for them to hide in, he stopped andlooked round. It was no good trying to run away so theycame towards him. When they were closer he said,

"Oh, children, children, why are you following me?"

"We couldn't sleep," said Lucy—and then felt sure thatshe need say no more and that Aslan knew all they hadbeen thinking.

"Please, may we come with you—wherever you'regoing?" said Susan.

"Well—" said Aslan and seemed to be thinking. Thenhe said, "I should be glad of company to-night. Yes, youmay come, if you will promise to stop when I tell you, andafter that leave me to go on alone."

"Oh, thank you, thank you. And we will," said the two girls.

Forward they went again and one of the girls walked oneach side of the Lion. But how slowly he walked! And hisgreat, royal head drooped so that his nose nearly touchedthe grass. Presently he stumbled and gave a low moan.

"Aslan! Dear Aslan!" said Lucy, "what is wrong? Can'tyou tell us?"

"Are you ill, dear Aslan?" asked Susan.

"No," said Aslan. "I am sad and lonely. Lay your handson my mane so that I can feel you are there and let uswalk like that."

And so the girls did what they would never have daredto do without his permission but what they had longed todo ever since they first saw him—buried their cold handsin the beautiful sea of fur and stroked it and, so doing,walked with him. And presently they saw that they weregoing with him up the slope of the hill on which the StoneTable stood. They went up at the side where the treescame furthest up, and when they got to the last tree (itwas one that had some bushes about it) Aslan stopped and said,

"Oh, children, children. Here you must stop. And whateverhappens, do not let yourselves be seen. Farewell."

And both the girls cried bitterly (though they hardlyknew why) and clung to the Lion and kissed his mane andhis nose and his paws and his great, sad eyes. Then heturned from them and walked out onto the top of the hill.And Lucy and Susan, crouching in the bushes, lookedafter him and this is what they saw.

A great crowd of people were standing all round theStone Table and though the moon was shining many ofthem carried torches which burned with evil-looking redflames and black smoke. But such people! Ogres withmonstrous teeth, and wolves, and bull-headed men; spiritsof evil trees and poisonous plants; and other creatureswhom I won't describe because if I did the grown-upswould probably not let you read this book—Cruels andHags and Incubuses, Wraiths, Horrors, Efreets, Sprites,Orknies, Wooses, and Ettins. In fact here were all thosewho were on the Witch's side and whom the Wolf hadsummoned at her command. And right in the middle,standing by the Table, was the Witch herself.

A howl and a gibber of dismay went up from the creatureswhen they first saw the great Lion pacing towardsthem, and for a moment the Witch herself seemed to bestruck with fear. Then she recovered herself and gave awild, fierce laugh.

"The fool!" she cried. "The fool has come. Bind himfast."

Lucy and Susan held their breaths waiting for Aslan'sroar and his spring upon his enemies. But it never came.Four hags, grinning and leering, yet also (at first)hanging back and half afraid of what they had to do, hadapproached him. "Bind him, I say!" repeated the WhiteWitch. The hags made a dart at him and shrieked withtriumph when they found that he made no resistance atall. Then others—evil dwarfs and apes—rushed in to helpthem and between them they rolled the huge Lion roundon his back and tied all his four paws together, shoutingand cheering as if they had done something brave, though,had the Lion chosen, one of those paws could have beenthe death of them all. But he made no noise, even whenthe enemies, straining and tugging, pulled the cords sotight that they cut into his flesh. Then they began to draghim towards the Stone Table.

"Stop!" said the Witch. "Let him first be shaved."

Another roar of mean laughter went up from her followersas an ogre with a pair of shears came forward andsquatted down by Aslan's head. Snip-snip-snip went theshears and masses of curling gold began to fall to theground. Then the ogre stood back and the children,watching from their hiding-place, could see the face of Aslanlooking all small and different without its mane. Theenemies also saw the difference.

"Why, he's only a great cat after all!" cried one.

"Is that what we were afraid of?" said another.

And they surged round Aslan jeering at him, sayingthings like "Puss, Puss! Poor puss*," and "How manymice have you caught to-day, Cat?" and "Would you likea saucer of milk, Pussums?"

"Oh how can they?" said Lucy, tears streaming downher cheeks. "The brutes, the brutes!" for now that thefirst shock was over the shorn face of Aslan looked to herbraver, and more beautiful, and more patient than ever.

"Muzzle him!" said the Witch. And even now, as theyworked about his face putting on the muzzle, one bite fromhis jaws would have cost two or three of them their hands.But he never moved. And this seemed to enrage all thatrabble. Everyone was at him now. Those who had beenafraid to come near him even after he was bound beganto find their courage, and for a few minutes the two girlscould not even see him—so thickly was he surrounded bythe whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him,spitting on him, jeering at him.

At last the rabble had had enough of this. They beganto drag the bound and muzzled Lion to the Stone Table,some pulling and some pushing. He was so huge that evenwhen they got him there it took all their efforts to hoisthim onto the surface of it. Then there was more tying andtightening of cords.

"The cowards! The cowards!" sobbed Susan. "Are theystill afraid of him, even now?"

When once Aslan had been tied (and tied so that he wasreally a mass of cords) on the flat stone, a hush fell on thecrowd. Four Hags, holding four torches, stood at thecorners of the Table. The Witch bared her arms as she hadbared them the previous night when it had been Edmundinstead of Aslan. Then she began to whet her knife. Itlooked to the children, when the gleam of the torchlightfell on it, as if the knife were made of stone not of steel andit was of a strange and evil shape.

At last she drew near. She stood by Aslan's head. Herface was working and twitching with passion, but hislooked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid,but a little sad. Then, just before she gave the blow, shestooped down and said in a quivering voice,

"And now, who has won? Fool, did you think that byall this you would save the human traitor? Now I will killyou instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magicwill be appeased. But when you are dead what will preventme from killing him as well? And who will take him outof my hand then? Understand that you have given meNarnia forever, you have lost your own life and you havenot saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die."

The children did not see the actual moment of the killing.They couldn't bear to look and had covered their eyes.

CHAPTER XV

Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time

While the two girls still crouched in the busheswith their hands over their faces, they heard thevoice of the Witch calling out.

"Now! Follow me all and we will set about what remainsof this war! It will not take us long to crush thehuman vermin and the traitors now that the great Fool,the great Cat, lies dead."

At this moment the children were for a few seconds invery great danger. For with wild cries and a noise ofskirling pipes and shrill horns blowing, the whole of that vilerabble came sweeping off the hill-top and down the sloperight past their hiding-place. They felt the Spectres go bythem like a cold wind and they felt the ground shakebeneath them under the galloping feet of the Minotaurs; andoverhead there went a flurry of foul wings and a blacknessof vultures and giant bats. At any other time they wouldhave trembled with fear; but now the sadness and shameand horror of Aslan's death so filled their minds that theyhardly thought of it.

As soon as the wood was silent again Susan and Lucycrept out into the open hill-top. The moon was getting lowand thin clouds were passing across her, but still theycould see the shape of the great Lion lying dead in hisbonds. And down they both knelt in the wet grass andkissed his cold face and stroked his beautiful fur—whatwas left of it—and cried till they could cry no more. Andthen they looked at each other and held each other's handsfor mere loneliness and cried again; and then again weresilent. At last Lucy said,

"I can't bear the look of that horrible muzzle. I wondercould we take it off?"

So they tried. And after a lot of working at it (for theirfingers were cold and it was now the darkest part of thenight) they succeeded. And when they saw his face withoutit they burst out crying again and kissed it and fondledit and wiped away the blood and the foam as well as theycould. And it was all more lonely and hopeless and horridthan I know how to describe.

"I wonder could we untie him as well?" said Susan presently.But the enemies, out of pure spitefulness had drawnthe cords so tight that the girls could make nothing of theknots.

I hope no one who reads this book has been quite asmiserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if youhave been—if you've been up all night and cried till youhave no more tears left in you—you will know that therecomes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothingwas ever going to happen again. At any rate that was howit felt to these two. Hours and hours seemed to go by inthis dead calm, and they hardly noticed that they weregetting colder and colder. But at last Lucy noticed twoother things. One was that the sky on the East side of thehill was a little less dark than it had been an hour ago. Theother was some tiny movement going on in the grass ather feet. At first she took no interest in this. What did itmatter? Nothing mattered now! But at last she saw thatwhatever-it-was had begun to move up the upright stonesof the Stone Table. And now whatever-they-were weremoving about on Aslan's body. She peered closer. Theywere little grey things.

"Ugh!" said Susan from the other side of the Table."How beastly! There are horrid little mice crawling overhim. Go away, you little beasts." And she raised her handto frighten them away.

"Wait!" said Lucy who had been looking at them moreclosely still. "Can you see what they're doing?"

Both girls bent down and stared.

"I do believe!" said Susan. "But how queer. They'renibbling away at the cords!"

"That's what I thought," said Lucy. "I think they'refriendly mice. Poor little things—they don't realise he'sdead. They think it'll do some good untying him."

It was quite definitely lighter by now. Each of the girlsnoticed for the first time the white face of the other. Theycould see the mice nibbling away; dozens and dozens, evenhundreds, of little field mice. And at last, one by one, theropes were all gnawed through.

The sky in the East was whitish by now and the starswere getting fainter—all except one very big one lowdown on the Eastern horizon. They felt colder than theyhad been all night. The mice crept away again.

The girls cleared away the remains of the gnawedropes. Aslan looked more like himself without them. Everymoment his dead face looked nobler, as the light grew andthey could see it better.

In the wood behind them a bird gave a chuckling sound.It had been so still for hours and hours that it startledthem. Then another bird answered it. Soon there werebirds singing all over the place.

It was quite definitely early morning now, not late night.

"I'm so cold," said Lucy.

"So am I," said Susan. "Let's walk about a bit."

They walked to the Eastern edge of the hill and lookeddown. The one big star had almost disappeared. Thecountry all looked dark grey, but beyond, at the very endof the world, the sea showed pale. The sky began to turnred. They walked to and fro more times than they couldcount between the dead Aslan and the Eastern ridge,trying to keep warm; and oh, how tired their legs felt. Thenat last, as they stood for a moment looking out towards thesea and Cair Paravel (which they could now just makeout) the red turned to gold along the line where the seaand the sky met and very slowly up came the edge of thesun. At that moment they heard from behind them a loudnoise—a great cracking, deafening noise as if a giant hadbroken a giant's plate.

"What's that?" said Lucy, clutching Susan's arm.

"I—I feel afraid to turn round," said Susan; "somethingawful is happening."

"They're doing something worse to him," said Lucy."Come on!" And she turned, pulling Susan round with her.

The rising of the sun had made everything look sodifferent—all the colours and shadows were changed—thatfor a moment they didn't see the important thing. Thenthey did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces bya great crack that ran down it from end to end; and therewas no Aslan.

"Oh, oh, oh!" cried the two girls rushing back to theTable.

"Oh, it's too bad," sobbed Lucy; "they might have leftthe body alone."

"Who's done it?" cried Susan. "What does it mean? Isit more magic?"

"Yes!" said a great voice behind their backs. "It is moremagic." They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise,larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane(for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.

"Oh, Aslan!" cried both the children, staring up at him,almost as much frightened as they were glad.

"Aren't you dead then, dear Aslan?" said Lucy.

"Not now," said Aslan.

"You're not—not a—?" asked Susan in a shaky voice.She couldn't bring herself to say the word ghost.

Aslan stooped his golden head and licked her forehead.The warmth of his breath and a rich sort of smell thatseemed to hang about his hair came all over her.

"Do I look it?" he said.

"Oh, you're real, you're real! Oh, Aslan!" cried Lucyand both girls flung themselves upon him and covered himwith kisses.

"But what does it all mean?" asked Susan when theywere somewhat calmer.

"It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knewthe Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which shedid not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawnof Time. But if she could have looked a little further back,into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned,she would have read there a different incantation. Shewould have known that when a willing victim who hadcommitted no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, theTable would crack and Death itself would start workingbackwards. And now—

"Oh yes. Now?" said Lucy jumping up and clappingher hands.

"Oh, children," said the Lion, "I feel my strengthcoming back to me. Oh, children, catch me if you can!" Hestood for a second, his eyes very bright, his limbs quivering,lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a leap highover their heads and landed on the other side of the Table.Laughing, though she didn't know why, Lucy scrambledover it to reach him. Aslan leaped again. A mad chasebegan. Round and round the hill-top he led them, nowhopelessly out of their reach, now letting them almost catch histail, now diving between them, now tossing them in the airwith his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catchingthem again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that allthree of them rolled over together in a happy laughingheap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a romp as noone has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it wasmore like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with akitten Lucy could never make up her mind. And the funnything was that when all three finally lay together pantingin the sun the girls no longer felt in the least tired orhungry or thirsty.

"And now," said Aslan presently, "to business. I feel Iam going to roar. You had better put your fingers in yourears."

And they did. And Aslan stood up and when he openedhis mouth to roar his face became so terrible that they didnot dare to look at it. And they saw all the trees in frontof him bend before the blast of his roaring as grass bends ina meadow before the wind. Then he said,

"We have a long journey to go. You must ride on me." Andhe crouched down and the children climbed onto hiswarm, golden back and Susan sat first holding on tightlyto his mane and Lucy sat behind holding on tightly toSusan. And with a great heave he rose underneath themand then shot off, faster than any horse could go, downhilland into the thick of the forest.

That ride was perhaps the most wonderful thing thathappened to them in Narnia. Have you ever had a gallopon a horse? Think of that; and then take away the heavynoise of the hoofs and the jingle of the harness and imagineinstead the almost noiseless padding of the great paws.Then imagine instead of the black or grey or chestnut backof the horse the soft roughness of golden fur, and the maneflying back in the wind. And then imagine you are goingabout twice as fast as the fastest racehorse. But this is amount that doesn't need to be guided and never growstired. He rushes on and on, never missing his footing, neverhesitating, threading his way with perfect skill betweentree-trunks, jumping over bush and briar and the smallerstreams, wading the larger, swimming the largest of all.And you are riding not on a road nor in a park nor evenon the downs but right across Narnia, in spring, downsolemn avenues of beech and across sunny glades of oak,through wild orchards of snow-white cherry trees, pastroaring waterfalls and mossy rocks and echoing caverns,up windy slopes alight with gorse bushes and across theshoulders of heathery mountains and along giddy ridgesand down, down, down again into wild valleys and out intoacres of blue flowers.

It was nearly mid-day when they found themselves lookingdown a steep hillside at a castle—a little toy castle itlooked from where they stood—which seemed to be allpointed towers. But the Lion was rushing down at such aspeed that it grew larger every moment and before theyhad time even to ask themselves what it was they werealready on a level with it. And now it no longer looked likea toy castle but rose frowning in front of them. No facelooked over the battlements and the gates were fast shut.And Aslan, not at all slacking his pace, rushed straight asa bullet towards it.

"The Witch's home!" he cried. "Now, children, hold tight."

Next moment the whole world seemed to turn upsidedown, and the children felt as if they had left their insidesbehind them; for the Lion had gathered himself togetherfor a greater leap than any he had yet made and jumped—oryou may call it flying rather than jumping—rightover the castle wall. The two girls, breathless but unhurt,found themselves tumbling off his back in the middle of awide stone courtyard full of statues.

CHAPTER XVI

What Happened about the Statues

"What an extraordinary place!" cried Lucy."All those stone animals—and people too!It's—it's like a museum."

"Hush," said Susan, "Aslan's doing something."

He was indeed. He had bounded up to the stone lion andbreathed on him. Then without waiting a moment hewhisked round—almost as if he had been a cat chasing itstail—and breathed also on the stone dwarf, which (as youremember) was standing a few feet from the lion with hisback to it. Then he pounced on a tall stone Dryad whichstood beyond the dwarf, turned rapidly aside to deal witha stone rabbit on his right, and rushed on to two centaurs.But at that moment Lucy said,

"Oh, Susan! Look! Look at the lion."

I expect you've seen someone put a lighted match to abit of newspaper which is propped up in a grate against anunlit fire. And for a second nothing seems to havehappened; and then you notice a tiny streak of flame creepingalong the edge of the newspaper. It was like that now. Fora second after Aslan had breathed upon him the stone lionlooked just the same. Then a tiny streak of gold began torun along his white marble back—then it spread—thenthe colour seemed to lick all over him as the flame licks allover a bit of paper—then, while his hind-quarters werestill obviously stone the lion shook his mane and all theheavy, stony folds rippled into living hair. Then he openeda great red mouth, warm and living, and gave a prodigiousyawn. And now his hind legs had come to life. He liftedone of them and scratched himself. Then, having caughtsight of Aslan, he went bounding after him and friskinground him whimpering with delight and jumping up to lickhis face.

Of course the children's eyes turned to follow the lion;but the sight they saw was so wonderful that they soonforgot about him. Everywhere the statues were coming to life.The courtyard looked no longer like a museum; it lookedmore like a zoo. Creatures were running after Aslan anddancing round him till he was almost hidden in the crowd.Instead of all that deadly white the courtyard was now ablaze of colours; glossy chestnut sides of centaurs, indigohorns of unicorns, dazzling plumage of birds, reddy-brownof foxes, dogs, and satyrs, yellow stockings and crimsonhoods of dwarfs; and the birch-girls in silver, and thebeech-girls in fresh, transparent green, and the larch-girlsin green so bright that it was almost yellow. And instead ofthe deadly silence the whole place rang with the sound ofhappy roarings, brayings, yelpings, barkings, squealings,cooings, neighings, stampings, shouts, hurrahs, songs andlaughter.

"Ooh!" said Susan in a different tone. "Look! Iwonder—I mean, is it safe?"

Lucy looked and saw that Aslan had just breathed onthe feet of the stone giant.

"It's all right!" shouted Aslan joyously. "Once the feetare put right, all the rest of him will follow."

"That wasn't exactly what I meant," whispered Susanto Lucy. But it was too late to do anything about it noweven if Aslan would have listened to her. The change wasalready creeping up the Giant's legs. Now he was movinghis feet. A moment later he lifted the club off his shoulder,rubbed his eyes and said,

"Bless me! I must have been asleep. Now! Where's thatdratted little Witch that was running about on the ground.Somewhere just by my feet it was." But when everyonehad shouted up to him to explain what had reallyhappened, and when the Giant had put his hand to his earand got them to repeat it all again so that at last heunderstood, then he bowed down till his head was no furtheroff than the top of a haystack and touched his caprepeatedly to Aslan, beaming all over his honest ugly face,(giants of any sort are now so rare in England and so fewgiants are good tempered that ten to one you have neverseen a giant when his face is beaming. It's a sight wellworth looking at.)

"Now for the inside of this house!" said Aslan. "Lookalive, everyone. Up stairs and down stairs and in my lady'schamber! Leave no corner unsearched. You never knowwhere some poor prisoner may be concealed."

And into the interior they all rushed and for severalminutes the whole of that dark, horrible, fusty old castleechoed with the opening of windows and with everyone'svoices crying out at once "Don't forget the dungeons—Giveus a hand with this door!—Here's another littlewinding stair—Oh! I say. Here's a poor little kangaroo.Call Aslan—Phew! How it smells in here—Look out fortrap-doors—Up here! There are a whole lot more on thelanding!" But the best of all was when Lucy came rushingupstairs shouting out,

"Aslan! Aslan! I've found Mr. Tumnus. Oh, do come quick."

A moment later Lucy and the little Faun were holdingone another by both hands and dancing round and roundfor joy. The little chap was none the worse for having beena statue and was of course very interested in all she had totell him.

But at last the ransacking of the Witch's fortress wasended. The whole castle stood empty with every door andwindow open and the light and the sweet spring airflooding in to all the dark and evil places which needed themso badly. The whole crowd of liberated statues surged backinto the courtyard. And it was then that someone(Tumnus, I think) first said,

"But how are we going to get out?" for Aslan had gotin by a jump and the gates were still locked.

"That'll be all right," said Aslan; and then, rising onhis hind-legs, he bawled up at the Giant. "Hi! You upthere," he roared. "What's your name?"

"Giant Rumblebuffin if it please your honour," said theGiant, once more touching his cap.

"Well then, Giant Rumblebuffin," said Aslan, "just letus out of this, will you?"

"Certainly, your honour. It will be a pleasure," saidGiant Rumblebuffin. "Stand well away from the gates, allyou little 'uns." Then he strode to the gate himself andbang—bang—bang—went his huge club. The gatescreaked at the first blow, cracked at the second, andshivered at the third. Then he tackled the towers on eachside of them and after a few minutes of crashing andthudding both the towers and a good bit of the wall on eachside went thundering down in a mass of hopeless rubble;and when the dust cleared it was odd, standing in that dry,grim, stony yard, to see through the gap all the grass andwaving trees and sparkling streams of the forest, and theblue hills beyond that and beyond them the sky.

"Blowed if I ain't all in a muck sweat," said the Giantpuffing like the largest railway engine. "Comes of beingout of condition. I suppose neither of you young ladies hassuch a thing as a pocket-handkerchee about you?"

"Yes, I have," said Lucy standing on tip-toes andholding her handkerchief up as far as she could reach.

"Thank you, Missie," said Giant Rumblebuffin stoopingdown. Next moment Lucy got rather a fright for she foundherself caught up in mid-air between the Giant's finger andthumb. But just as she was getting near his face hesuddenly started and then put her gently back on the groundmuttering, "Bless me! I've picked up the little girl instead.I beg your pardon, Missie, I thought you was the handkerchee!"

"No, no," said Lucy laughing, "here it is!" This timehe managed to get it but it was only about the same sizeto him that a saccharine tablet would be to you, so thatwhen she saw him solemnly rubbing it to and fro across hisgreat red face, she said, "I'm afraid it's not much use toyou, Mr. Rumblebuffin."

"Not at all. Not at all," said the Giant politely. "Nevermet a nicer handkerchee. So fine, so handy. So—I don'tknow how to describe it."

"What a nice giant he is!" said Lucy to Mr. Tumnus.

"Oh yes," replied the Faun. "All the Buffins alwayswere. One of the most respected of all the giant families inNarnia. Not very clever, perhaps (I never knew a giantthat was) but an old family. With traditions, you know.If he'd been the other sort she'd never have turned himinto stone."

At this point Aslan clapped his paws together andcalled for silence.

"Our day's work is not yet over," he said, "and if theWitch is to be finally defeated before bed-time we mustfind the battle at once."

"And join in I hope, Sir!" added the largest of thecentaurs.

"Of course," said Aslan. "And now! Those who can'tkeep up—that is, children, dwarfs, and small animals—mustride on the backs of those who can—that is, lions,centaurs, unicorns, horses, giants and eagles. Those whoare good with their noses must come in the front with uslions to smell out where the battle is. Look lively and sortyourselves."

And with a great deal of bustle and cheering they did.The most pleased of the lot was the other lion, who keptrunning about everywhere pretending to be very busy butreally in order to say to everyone he met, "Did you hearwhat he said? Us lions. That means him and me. Uslions. That's what I like about Aslan. No side, nostand-off-ishness. Us lions. That meant him and me." At leasthe went on saying this till Aslan had loaded him up withthree dwarfs, one Dryad, two rabbits, and a hedgehog.That steadied him a bit.

When all were ready (it was a big sheep-dog who actuallyhelped Aslan most in getting them sorted into theirproper order) they set out through the gap in the castlewall. At first the lions and dogs went nosing about in alldirections. But then suddenly one great hound picked upthe scent and gave a bay. There was no time lost after that.Soon all the dogs and lions and wolves and other huntinganimals were going at full speed with their noses to theground, and all the others, streaked out for about half amile behind them, were following as fast as they could.The noise was like an English fox-hunt only better becauseevery now and then with the music of the hounds wasmixed the roar of the other lion and sometimes the fardeeper and more awful roar of Aslan himself. Faster andfaster they went as the scent became easier and easier tofollow. And then, just as they came to the last curve in anarrow, winding valley, Lucy heard above all these noisesanother noise—a different one, which gave her a queerfeeling inside. It was a noise of shouts and shrieks and ofthe clashing of metal against metal.

Then they came out of the narrow valley and at onceshe saw the reason. There stood Peter and Edmund andall the rest of Aslan's army fighting desperately against thecrowd of horrible creatures whom she had seen last night;only now, in the daylight, they looked even stranger andmore evil and more deformed. There also seemed to be farmore of them. Aslan's army—which had their backs toher—looked terribly few. And there were statues dotted allover the battlefield, so apparently the Witch had beenusing her wand. But she did not seem to be using it now.She was fighting with her stone knife. It was Peter she wasfighting—both of them going at it so hard that Lucy couldhardly make out what was happening; she only saw thestone knife and Peter's sword flashing so quickly that theylooked like three knives and three swords. That pair werein the centre. On each side the line stretched out. Horriblethings were happening wherever she looked.

"Off my back, children," shouted Aslan. And they bothtumbled off. Then with a roar that shook all Narnia fromthe Western lamp-post to the shores of the Eastern sea thegreat beast flung himself upon the White Witch. Lucysaw her face lifted towards him for one second with anexpression of terror and amazement. Then Lion and Witchhad rolled over together but with the Witch underneath;and at the same moment all war-like creatures whom Aslanhad led from the Witch's house rushed madly on theenemy's line, dwarfs with their battle-axes, dogs withteeth, the giant with his club (and his feet also crusheddozens of the foe) unicorns with their horns, centaurs withswords and hoofs. And Peter's tired army cheered, andthe newcomers roared, and the enemy squealed and gibberedtill the wood re-echoed with the din of that onset.

CHAPTER XVII

The Hunting of the White Stag

The battle was all over a few minutes after theirarrival. Most of the enemy had been killed in thefirst charge of Aslan and his companions; and whenthose who were still living saw that the Witch was deadthey either gave themselves up or took to flight. The nextthing that Lucy knew was that Peter and Aslan were shakinghands. It was strange to her to see Peter looking as helooked now—his face was so pale and stern and he seemedso much older.

"It was all Edmund's doing, Aslan," Peter was saying."We'd have been beaten if it hadn't been for him. TheWitch was-turning our troops into stone right and left.But nothing would stop him. He fought his way throughthree ogres to where she was just turning one of yourleopards into a statue. And when he reached her he hadthe sense to bring his sword smashing down on her wandinstead of trying to go for her directly and simply gettingmade a statue himself for his pains. That was the mistakeall the rest were making. Once her wand was broken webegan to have some chance—if we hadn't lost so manyalready. He was terribly wounded. We must go and see him."

They found Edmund in charge of Mrs. Beaver a littleway back from the fighting line. He was covered withblood, his mouth was open, and his face a nasty greencolour.

"Quick, Lucy," said Aslan.

And then, almost for the first time, Lucy rememberedthe precious cordial that had been given her for aChristmas present. Her hands trembled so much that she couldhardly undo the stopper, but she managed it in the endand poured a few drops into her brother's mouth.

"There are other people wounded," said Aslan whileshe was still looking eagerly into Edmund's pale face andwondering if the cordial would have any result.

"Yes, I know," said Lucy crossly. "Wait a minute."

"Daughter of Eve," said Aslan in a graver voice, "othersalso are at the point of death. Must more people die forEdmund?"

"I'm sorry, Aslan," said Lucy getting up and going withhim. And for the next half hour they were busy—sheattending to the wounded while he restored those who hadbeen turned into stone. When at last she was free to comeback to Edmund she found him standing on his feet andnot only healed of his wounds but looking better than shehad seen him look—oh, for ages; in fact ever since his firstterm at that horrid school which was where he had begunto go wrong. He had become his real old self again andcould look you in the face. And there on the field of battleAslan made him a Knight.

"Does he know," whispered Lucy to Susan, "what Aslandid for him? Does he know what the arrangement withthe Witch really was?"

"Hush! No. Of course not," said Susan.

"Oughtn't he to be told?" said Lucy.

"Oh, surely not," said Susan. "It would be too awful forhim. Think how you'd feel if you were he."

"All the same I think he ought to know," said Lucy.But at that moment they were interrupted.

That night they slept where they were. How Aslanprovided food for them all I don't know; but somehow orother they found themselves all sitting down on the grass toa fine high tea at about eight o'clock. Next day they beganmarching Eastward down the side of the great river. Andthe next day after that, at about tea-time, they actuallyreached the mouth. The castle of Cair Paravel on its littlehill towered up above them; before them were the sands,with rocks and little pools of salt water, and sea weed, andthe smell of the sea, and long miles of bluish-green wavesbreaking forever and ever on the beach. And, oh, the cryof the sea gulls! Have you heard it? Can you remember?

That evening after tea the four children all managed toget down to the beach again and get their shoes and stockingsoff and feel the sand between their toes. But next daywas more solemn. For then, in the Great Hall of CairParavel—that wonderful hall with the ivory roof and thewest door all hung with peaco*ck's feathers and the easterndoor which opens right onto the sea, in the presence of alltheir friends and to the sound of trumpets, Aslan solemnlycrowned them and led them onto the four thrones amiddeafening shouts of, "Long Live King Peter! Long LiveQueen Susan! Long Live King Edmund! Long LiveQueen Lucy!"

"Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king orqueen. Bear it well, Sons of Adam! Bear it well, Daughtersof Eve!" said Aslan.

And through the Eastern door, which was wide opencame the voices of the mermen and the mermaids swimmingclose to the castle steps and singing in honour of theirnew Kings and Queens.

So the children sat in their thrones and sceptres wereput into their hands and they gave rewards and honours toall their friends, to Tumnus the Faun, and to the Beavers,and Giant Rumblebuffin, to the leopards, and the goodcentaurs and the good dwarfs, and to the lion. And thatnight there was a great feast in Cair Paravel, and revelryand dancing, and gold flashed and wine flowed, andanswering to the music inside, but stranger, sweeter, andmore piercing, came the music of the sea people.

But amidst all these rejoicings Aslan himself quietlyslipped away. And when the Kings and Queens noticedthat he wasn't there they said nothing about it. ForMr. Beaver had warned them, "He'll be coming and going"he had said. "One day you'll see him and another youwon't. He doesn't like being tied down—and of course hehas other countries to attend to. It's quite all right. He'lloften drop in. Only you mustn't press him. He's wild, youknow. Not like a tame lion."

And now, as you see, this story is nearly (but not quite)at an end. These two Kings and two Queens governedNarnia well and long and happy was their reign. At firstmuch of their time was spent in seeking out the remnantsof the White Witch's army and destroying them, andindeed for a long time there would be news of evil thingslurking in the wilder parts of the forest—a haunting hereand a killing there, a glimpse of a werewolf one monthand a rumour of a hag the next. But in the end all that foulbrood was stamped out. And they made good laws andkept the peace and saved good trees from beingunnecessarily cut down, and liberated young dwarfs and youngsatyrs from being sent to school, and generally stoppedbusybodies and interferers and encouraged ordinarypeople who wanted to live and let live. And they drove backthe fierce giants (quite a different sort from GiantRumblebuffin) on the North of Narnia when these ventured acrossthe frontier. And they entered into friendship and alliancewith countries beyond the sea and paid them visits of stateand received visits of state from them. And they themselvesgrew and changed as the years passed over them. AndPeter became a tall and deep chested man and a greatwarrior, and he was called King Peter the Magnificent.And Susan grew into a tall and gracious woman with blackhair that fell almost to her feet and the Kings of thecountries beyond the sea began to send ambassadors asking forher hand in marriage. And she was called Queen Susanthe Gentle. Edmund was a graver and quieter man thanPeter, and great in council and judgement. He was calledKing Edmund the Just. But as for Lucy, she was alwaysgay and golden haired, and all Princes in those partsdesired her to be their Queen, and her own people called herQueen Lucy the Valiant.

So they lived in great joy and if ever they rememberedtheir life in this world it was only as one remembers adream. And one year it fell out that Tumnus (who was amiddle-aged Faun by now and beginning to be stout) camedown river and brought them news that the White Staghad once more appeared in his parts—the White Stag whowould give you wishes if you caught him. So these twoKings and two Queens with the principal members of theircourt, rode a-hunting with horns and hounds in theWestern Woods to follow the White Stag. And they had nothunted long before they had a sight of him. And he ledthem a great pace over rough and smooth and throughthick and thin, till the horses of all the courtiers were tiredout and only these four were still following. And they sawthe stag enter into a thicket where their horses could notfollow. Then said King Peter (for they talked in quite adifferent style now, having been Kings and Queens for solong) "Fair Consorts, let us now alight from our horses andfollow this beast into the thicket; for in all my days I neverhunted a nobler quarry."

"Sir," said the others, "even so let us do."

So they alighted and tied their horses to trees and wenton into the thick wood on foot. And as soon as they hadentered it Queen Susan said,

"Fair friends, here is a great marvel, for I seem to see atree of iron."

"Madam," said King Edmund, "if you look well uponit you shall see it is a pillar of iron with a lantern set onthe top thereof."

"Marry, a strange device," said King Peter, "to set alantern here where the trees cluster so thick about it andso high above it that if it were lit it should give light tono man!"

"Sir," said Queen Lucy. "By likelihood when this postand this lamp were set here there were smaller trees in theplace, or fewer, or none. For this is a young wood and theiron post is old." And they stood looking upon it. Thensaid King Edmund,

"I know not how it is, but this lamp on the post workethupon me strangely. It runs in my mind that I have seenthe like before; as it were in a dream, or in the dream ofa dream."

"Sir," answered they all, "it is even so with us also."

"And more," said Queen Lucy, "for it will not go outof my mind that if we pass this post and lantern, either weshall find strange adventures or else some great change ofour fortunes."

"Madam," said King Edmund, "the like forebodingstirreth in my heart also."

"And in mine, fair brother," said King Peter.

"And in mine too," said Queen Susan. "Wherefore bymy council we shall lightly return to our horses and followthis White Stag no further."

"Madam," said King Peter, "therein I pray thee to haveme excused. For never since we four were Kings andQueens in Narnia have we set our hands to any high matter,as battles, quests, feats of arms, acts of justice, and thelike, and then given over; but always what we have takenin hand, the same we have achieved."

"Sister," said Queen Lucy, "my royal brother speaksrightly. And it seems to me we should be shamed if for anyfearing or foreboding we turned back from following sonoble a beast as now we have in chase."

"And so say I," said King Edmund. "And I have suchdesire to find the signification of this thing that I wouldnot by my good will turn back for the richest jewel in allNarnia and all the islands."

"Then in the name of Aslan," said Queen Susan, "if yewill all have it so, let us go on and take the adventure thatshall fall to us."

So these Kings and Queens entered the thicket, andbefore they had gone a score of paces they all rememberedthat the thing they had seen was called a lamp-post, andbefore they had gone twenty more, they noticed that theywere making their way not through branches but throughcoats. And next moment they all came tumbling out of awardrobe door into the empty room, and they were nolonger Kings and Queens in their hunting array but justPeter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy in their old clothes. Itwas the same day and the same hour of the day on whichthey had all gone into the wardrobe to hide. Mrs. Macreadyand the visitors were still talking in the passage;but luckily they never came into the empty room and sothe children weren't caught.

And that would have been the very end of the story if ithadn't been that they felt they really must explain to theProfessor why four of the coats out of his wardrobe weremissing. And the Professor, who was a very remarkableman, didn't tell them not to be silly or not to tell lies, butbelieved the whole story. "No," he said, "I don't think itwill be any good trying to go back through the wardrobedoor to get the coats. You won't get into Narnia again bythat route. Nor would the coats be much use by now if youdid! Eh? What's that? Yes, of course you'll get back toNarnia again some day. Once a King in Narnia, always aKing in Narnia. But don't go trying to use the same routetwice. Indeed, don't try to get there at all. It'll happenwhen you're not looking for it. And don't talk too muchabout it even among yourselves. And don't mention it toanyone else unless you find that they've had adventures ofthe same sort themselves. What's that? How will youknow? Oh, you'll know all right. Odd things, theysay—even their looks—will let the secret out. Keep your eyesopen. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools?"

And that is the very end of the adventures of the wardrobe.But if the Professor was right it was only the beginningof the adventures of Narnia.

The End

[End of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis]

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis (2024)
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