minister to them."
When the girls had gone Aslan laid his paw - and though it was velveted it was very heavy - on
Peter's shoulder and said, "Come, Son of Adam, and I will show you a far-off sight of the castle
where you are to be King."
And Peter with his sword still drawn in his hand went with the Lion to the eastern edge of the hilltop.
There a beautiful sight met their eyes. The sun was setting behind their backs. That meant that the
whole country below them lay in the evening light - forest and hills and valleys and, winding away
like a silver snake, the lower part of the great river. And beyond all this, miles away, was the sea, and
beyond the sea the sky, full of clouds which were just turning rose colour with the reflection of the
sunset. But just where the land of Narnia met the sea - in fact, at the mouth of the great river - there
was something on a little hill, shining. It was shining because it was a castle and of course the
sunlight was reflected from all the windows which looked towards Peter and the sunset; but to Peter it
looked like a great star resting on the seashore.
"That, O Man," said Aslan, "is Cair Paravel of the four thrones, in one of which you must sit as
King. I show it to you because you are the first-born and you will be High King over all the rest."
And once more Peter said nothing, for at that moment a strange noise woke the silence suddenly. It
was like a bugle, but richer.
"It is your sister's horn," said Aslan to Peter in a low voice; so low as to be almost a purr, if it is not
disrespectful to think of a Lion purring.
For a moment Peter did not understand. Then, when he saw all the other creatures start forward and
heard Aslan say with a wave of his paw, "Back! Let the Prince win his spurs," he did understand, and
set off running as hard as he could to the pavilion. And there he saw a dreadful sight.
The Naiads and Dryads were scattering in every direction. Lucy was running towards him as fast as
her short legs would carry her and her face was as white as paper. Then he saw Susan make a dash
for a tree, and swing herself up, followed by a huge grey beast. At first Peter thought it was a bear.
Then he saw that it looked like an Alsatian, though it was far too big to be a dog. Then he realised
that it was a wolf - a wolf standing on its hind legs, with its front paws against the tree-trunk,
snapping and snarling. All the hair on its back stood up on end. Susan had not been able to get higher
than the second big branch. One of her legs hung down so that her foot was only an inch or two
above the snapping teeth. Peter wondered why she did not get higher or at least take a better grip;
then he realised that she was just going to faint and that if she fainted she would fall off.
Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to
what he had to do. He rushed straight up to the monster and aimed a slash of his sword at its side.
That stroke never reached the Wolf. Quick as lightning it turned round, its eyes flaming, and its
mouth wide open in a howl of anger. If it had not been so angry that it simply had to howl it would
have got him by the throat at once. As it was - though all this happened too quickly for Peter to think
at all - he had just time to duck down and plunge his sword, as hard as he could, between the brute's
forelegs into its heart. Then came a horrible, confused moment like something in a nightmare. He was
tugging and pulling and the Wolf seemed neither alive nor dead, and its bared teeth knocked against
his forehead, and everything was blood and heat and hair. A moment later he found that the monster
lay dead and he had drawn his sword out of it and was straightening his back and rubbing the sweat
off his face and out of his eyes. He felt tired all over.
Then, after a bit, Susan came down the tree. She and Peter felt pretty shaky when they met and I
won't say there wasn't kissing and crying on both sides. But in Narnia no one 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 - behind you. He has just darted away. After him, all of you. He will be going to his mistress.
Now is your chance to find the Witch and rescue the fourth Son of Adam." And instantly with a
thunder of hoofs and beating of wings a dozen or so of the swiftest creatures disappeared into the
Peter, still out of breath, turned and saw Aslan close at hand.
"You have forgotten to clean your sword," said Aslan.
It was true. Peter blushed when he looked at the bright blade and saw it all smeared with the Wolf's
hair and blood. He stooped down and wiped it quite clean on the grass, and then wiped it quite dry on
"Hand it to me and kneel, Son of Adam," said Aslan. And when Peter had done so he struck him
with the flat of the blade and said, "Rise up, Sir Peter Wolf's-Bane. And, whatever happens, never
forget to wipe your sword."
Now we must get back to Edmund. When he had been made to walk far further than he had ever
known that anybody could walk, the Witch at last halted in a dark valley all overshadowed with fir
trees and yew trees. Edmund simply sank down and lay on his face doing nothing at all and not even
caring what was going to happen next provided they would let him lie still. He was too tired even to
notice how hungry and thirsty he was. The Witch and the dwarf were talking close beside him in low
"No," said the dwarf, "it is no use now, O Queen. They must 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. "How if only three were filled? That would not fulfil
"What difference would that make now that He is here?" said the dwarf. He did not dare, even now,
to mention the name of Aslan to his mistress.
"He may not stay long. And then - we would fall upon the three at Cair."
"Yet it might be better," said the dwarf, "to keep this one" (here he kicked Edmund) "for bargaining
CHAPTER THIRTEEN - DEEP MAGIC FROM THE DAWN OF TIME
"Yes! and have him rescued," said the Witch scornfully.
"Then," said the dwarf, "we had better do what we have to do at once."
"I would like to have it done on the Stone Table itself," said the Witch. "That is the proper place.
That is where it has always been done before."
"It will be a long time now before the Stone Table can again 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 rushed up to them.
"I have seen them. They are all at the Stone Table, with Him. They have killed my captain,
Maugrim. I was hidden in the thickets and saw it all. One of the Sons of Adam killed him. Fly! Fly!"
"No," said the Witch. "There need be no flying. Go quickly. Summon all our people to meet me here
as speedily as they can. Call out the giants and the werewolves 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 people of the Toadstools. We will fight. What? Have I not still my wand?
Will not their ranks turn into stone even as they come on? Be off quickly, I have a little thing to finish
here while you are away."
The great brute bowed its head, turned, and galloped away.
"Now!" she said, "we have no table - let me see. We had 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
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a tree and bound him fast. He saw the Witch take off her outer mantle. Her arms were bare
underneath it and terribly white. Because they were so very white he could see them, but he could not
see much else, it was so dark in this valley under the dark trees.
"Prepare the victim,", said the Witch. And the dwarf undid Edmund's collar and folded back his shirt
at the neck. Then he took Edmund's hair and pulled his head back so that he had to raise his chin.
After that Edmund heard a strange noise - whizz whizz - whizz. For a moment he couldn't think what
it was. Then he realised. It was the sound of a knife being sharpened.
At that very moment he heard loud shouts from every direction - a drumming of hoofs and a beating
of wings - a scream from the Witch - confusion all round him. And then he found he was being
untied. Strong arms were round him and he heard big, kind voices saying things like -
"Let him lie down - give him some wine - drink this - steady now - you'll be all right in a minute."
Then he heard the voices of people who were not talking to him but to one another. And they were
saying things like "Who's got the Witch?" "I thought you had her." "I didn't see her after I knocked
the knife out of her hand - I was after the dwarf - do you mean to say she's escaped?" "- A chap can't
mind everything at once - what's that? Oh, sorry, it's only an old stump!" But just at this point
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 had sent in the last chapter) all set off to go back to the Stone Table, carrying Edmund with
them. But if they could have seen what happened in that valley after they had gone, I think 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 moonlight shining on an old tree-stump and on a fairsised boulder. But if you had gone on
looking you would gradually have begun to think there was something odd about both the stump and
the boulder. And next you would have thought that the stump did look really remarkably like a little
fat man crouching on the ground. And if you had watched long enough you would have seen the
stump walk across to the boulder and the boulder sit up and begin talking to the stump; for in reality
the stump and the boulder were simply the Witch and the dwarf. For it was part of her magic that she
could make things look like what they aren't, and she had the presence of mind to do so at the very
moment when the knife was knocked out of her hand. She had kept hold of her wand, so it had been
kept safe, too.
When the other children woke up next morning (they had been sleeping on piles of cushions in the
pavilion) the first thing they heard -from Mrs Beaver - was that their brother had been rescued and
brought into camp late last night; and was at that moment with Aslan. As soon as they had
breakfasted4 they all went out, and there they saw Aslan and Edmund walking together in the dewy
grass, apart from the rest of the court. There is no need to tell you (and no one ever heard) what Aslan
was saying, but it was a conversation which Edmund never forgot. As the others drew nearer Aslan
turned to meet them, bringing Edmund with him.
"Here is your brother," he said, "and - there is no need to talk to him about what is past."
Edmund shook hands with each of the others and said to each of them in turn, "I'm sorry," and
everyone said, "That's all right." And then everyone wanted very hard to say something which would
make it quite clear that they were all friends with him again -something ordinary and natural -and of
course no one could think of anything in the world to say. But before they had time to feel really
awkward one of the leopards approached Aslan and said,
"Sire, there is a messenger from the enemy who craves audience."
"Let him approach," said Aslan.
The leopard went away and soon returned leading the Witch's dwarf.
"What is your message, Son of Earth?" asked Aslan.
"The Queen of Narnia and Empress of the Lone Islands desires a safe conduct to come and speak
with you," said the dwarf, "on a matter which is as much to your advantage as to hers."
"Queen of Narnia, indeed!" said Mr Beaver. "Of all the cheek -"
"Peace, Beaver," said Aslan. "All names will soon be restored to their proper owners. In the
meantime we will not dispute about them. Tell your mistress, Son of Earth, that I grant her safe
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conduct on condition that she leaves her wand behind her at that great oak."
This was agreed to and two leopards went back with the dwarf to see that the conditions were
properly carried out. "But supposing she turns the two leopards into stone?" whispered Lucy to Peter.
I think the same idea had occurred to the leopards themselves; at any rate, as they walked off their fur
was all standing up on their backs and their tails were bristling - like a cat's when it sees a strange
"It'll be all right," whispered Peter in reply. "He wouldn't send them if it weren't."
A few minutes later the Witch herself walked out on to the top of the hill and came straight across
and stood before Aslan. The three children who had not seen her before felt shudders running down
their backs at the sight of her face; and there were low growls among all the animals present. Though
it was bright sunshine everyone felt suddenly cold. The only two people present who seemed to be
quite at their ease were Aslan and the Witch herself. It was the oddest thing to see those two faces -
the golden face and the dead-white face so close together. Not that the Witch looked Aslan exactly in
his eyes; Mrs Beaver particularly noticed this.
"You have a traitor there, Aslan," said the Witch. Of course everyone present knew that she meant
Edmund. But Edmund had got past thinking about himself after all he'd been through and after the
talk he'd had that morning. He just went on looking at Aslan. It didn't seem to matter what the Witch
"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 suddenly shriller. "Tell you what is written on that
very Table of Stone which stands beside us? Tell you what is written in letters deep as a spear is long
on the firestones on the Secret Hill? Tell you what is engraved on the sceptre of the Emperor-beyond-
the-Sea? You at least know the Magic which the Emperor put into Narnia at the very beginning. You
know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to
"Oh," said Mr Beaver. "So that's how you came to imagine yourself a queen - because you were the
Emperor's hangman. I see."
"Peace, Beaver," said Aslan, with a very low growl. "And so," continued the Witch, "that human
creature is mine. His life is forfeit to me. His blood is my property."
"Come and take it then," said the Bull with the man's head in a great bellowing voice.
"Fool," said the Witch with a savage smile that was almost a snarl, "do you really think your master
can rob me of my rights by mere force? He knows the Deep Magic better than that. He knows that
unless I have blood as the Law says all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire and water."
"It is very true," said Aslan, "I do not deny it."
"Oh, Aslan!" whispered Susan in the Lion's ear, "can't we - I mean, you won't, will you? Can't we do
something about the Deep Magic? Isn't there something you can work against it?"
"Work against the Emperor's Magic?" said Aslan, turning to her with something like a frown on his
face. And nobody ever made that suggestion to him again.
Edmund was on the other side of Aslan, looking all the time at Aslan's face. He felt a choking
feeling and wondered if he ought to say something; but a moment later he felt that he was not
expected to do anything except to wait, and do what he was told.
"Fall back, all of you," said Aslan, "and I will talk to the Witch alone."
They all obeyed. It was a terrible time this - waiting and wondering while the Lion and the Witch
talked earnestly together in low voices. Lucy said, "Oh, Edmund!" and began to cry. Peter stood with
his back to the others looking out at the distant sea. The Beavers stood holding each other's paws with
their heads bowed. The centaurs stamped uneasily with their hoofs. But everyone became perfectly
still in the end, so that you noticed even small sounds like a bumble-bee flying past, or the birds in
the forest down below them, or the wind rustling the leaves. And still the talk between Aslan and the
White Witch went on.
At last they heard Aslan's voice, "You can all come back," he said. "I have settled the matter. She
has renounced the claim on your brother's blood." And all over the hill there was a noise as if
everyone had been holding their breath and had now begun breathing again, and then a murmur of
The Witch was just turning away with a look of fierce joy on her face when she stopped and said,
"But how do I know this promise will be kept?"
"Haa-a-arrh!" roared Aslan, half rising from his throne; and his great mouth opened wider and wider
and the roar grew louder and louder, and the Witch, after staring for a moment with her lips wide
apart, picked up her skirts and fairly ran for her life.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN - THE TRIUMPH OF THE WITCH
As soon as the Witch had gone Aslan said, "We must move from this place at once, it will be wanted
for other purposes. We shall encamp tonight at the Fords of Beruna.
Of course everyone was dying to ask him how he had arranged matters with the witch; but his face
was stern and everyone's ears were still ringing with the sound of his roar and so nobody dared.
After a meal, which was taken in the open air on the hill-top (for the sun had got strong by now and
dried the grass), they were busy for a while taking the pavilion down and packing things up. Before
two o'clock they were on the march and set off in a northeasterly direction, walking at an easy pace
for they had not far to go.
During the first part of the journey Aslan explained to Peter his plan of campaign. "As soon as she
has finished her business in these parts," he said, "the Witch and her crew will almost certainly fall
back to her House and prepare for a siege. You may or may not be able to cut her off and prevent her
from reaching it." He then went on to outline two plans of battle - one for fighting the Witch and her
people in the wood and another for assaulting her castle. And all the time he was advising Peter how
to conduct the operations, saying things like, "You must put your Centaurs in such and such a place"
or "You must post scouts to see that she doesn't do so-and-so," till at last Peter said,
"But you will be there yourself, Aslan."
"I can give you no promise of that," answered the Lion. And he continued giving Peter his
For the last part of the journey it was Susan and Lucy who saw most of him. He did not talk very
much and seemed to them to be sad.
It was still afternoon when they came down to a place where the river valley had widened out and
the river was broad and shallow. This was the Fords of Beruna and Aslan gave orders to halt on this
side of the water. But Peter said,
"Wouldn't it be better to camp on the far side - for fear she should try a night attack or anything?"
Aslan, who seemed to have been thinking about something else, roused himself with a shake of his
magnificent mane and said, "Eh? What's that?" Peter said it all over again.
"No," said Aslan in a dull voice, as if it didn't matter. "No. She will not make an attack to-night."
And then he sighed deeply. But presently he added, "All the same it was well thought of. That is how
a soldier ought to think. But it doesn't really matter." So they proceeded to pitch their camp.
Aslan's mood affected everyone that evening. Peter was feeling uncomfortable too at the idea of
fighting the battle on his own; the news that Aslan might not be there had come as a great shock to
him. Supper that evening was a quiet meal. Everyone felt how different it had been last night or even
that morning. It was as if the good times, having just begun, were already drawing to their end.
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