- This page refers to the novel. For the film, see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (film).
But it was the smell, the wild, briny smell, which really convinced Lucy that she was not dreaming.C. S. Lewis
The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader", the third book in the series (fifth in chronological order) of The Chronicles of Narnia, where Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, as well as their priggish cousin, Eustace Scrubb, return to Narnia. There they accompany King Caspian on a voyage to find the seven lords who were banished when Caspian's uncle Miraz stole the throne. This perilous journey brought them face to face with many wonders and dangers, as they sailed toward Aslan’s Country at the eastern end of the world.
The story took place in the Narnian-year 2306/Earth year 1941/1942. (These dates were not drawn from the original books, but from later sources that don't necessarily harmonize with the story line.)
See the note on typography below about the italics in the book's title.
- The Picture in the Bedroom
- On Board the Dawn Treader
- The Lone Islands
- What Caspian Did There
- The Storm and What Came of It
- The Adventures of Eustace
- How the Adventure Ended
- Two Narrow Escapes
- The Island of the Voices
- The Magician's Book
- The Dufflepuds Made Happy
- The Dark Island
- The Three Sleepers
- The Beginning of the End of the World
- The Wonders of the Last Sea
- The Very End of the World
The story began with the introduction of Eustace Clarence Scrubb, an unpleasant boy who was the cousin of the Pevensie children. The youngest of the Pevensies, Edmund and Lucy, were staying at Eustace's house, and were not fond of their cousin because of the way he teased them about Narnia and how they talked about it.
The adventure began when Edmund and Lucy were looking at a painting in Lucy's room, and remarked how Narnian the ship in the picture looked. Eustace walked in and began teasing them again about Narnia when suddenly, much to their surprise, the waves and ship seemed to be moving! Suddenly the three of them were drawn into the painting and found themselves floating beside the magnificent ship. Someone from the ship jumped into the water and brought Lucy alongside to have her lifted up, followed by Edmund, and finally the completely miserable Eustace.
The rescuer turned out to be King Caspian X, whom the Pevensies had helped restore to the throne of Narnia. Caspian was entertained by Eustace's cries to be let off from the ship, and ordered wine for the three. Eustace groaned when a large mouse stepped from a nearby cabin and addressed Lucy. The mouse turned out to be Reepicheep, hero of the Second Battle of Beruna. He greeted Lucy politely, but threatened Eustace for his lack of courtesy. Caspian offered his cabin to Lucy while he, Edmund and Eustace would share a cabin.
The children, except for Eustace, were introduced to the captain of the ship, the Lord Drinian, and then sat down with Caspian to discuss what had happened since their last visit to Narnia (one year had passed in England while three had passed in Narnia). Caspian had left Narnia in the care of Trumpkin during this voyage, the purpose of which was to locate the Seven Noble Lords, find them, and if any of them died then avenge their deaths. The Lords were: -
- Lord Revilian,
- Lord Bern,
- Lord Argoz,
- Lord Mavramorn,
- Lord Octesian,
- Lord Restimar,
- And finally, Lord Rhoop.
Miraz had sent all these men out to sea after the death of Caspian's father. However, Reepicheep's purpose was to sail to Aslan's own land. The voyage had already taken the ship beyond the Seven Isles, and was now bound for the Lone Islands, beyond which no one had ever been.
Lucy decided to go tend to Eustace, who was suffering from seasickness. Caspian had luckily brought with him her cordial and dagger, so she took the cordial to the boys' cabin to help her cousin. He reluctantly took a drop from the cordial and instantly began feeling better. After much doing about nothing, he decided to put on the fresh clothes left for him, and came out on deck. All were taken on a tour of the ship, and while Lucy and Edmund marveled at the workmanship, Eustace was not impressed, and relayed his feelings in a diary, in which he complained about everything from the company to the food.It was not long before Eustace learned an important lesson concerning his treatment of mice, especially Reepicheep. Having taken the mouse by the tail and swinging him around a few times, Reepicheep stabbed Eustace with his sword and challenged him to a duel.
The Lone Islands
It was the following morning when the voyagers arrived at the Lone Islands. Lucy longed to walk on the green turf of Felimath, even though most civilization was on Doorn. Caspian decided that they could land, walk across the island, and have the Dawn Treader pick them up on the other side. Caspian, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace and Reepicheep all disembarked and began the stroll across the island. They were not long on the island before they came upon several men under a tree. Caspian instructed his men to keep silent about their true identities.
The men invited them to have a drink with them, and Caspian learned that His Sufficiency, Gumpas, was Governor of the Lone Islands. The voyagers barely got the cups to their lips when the men surrounded and bound them. They were to be taken to Narrowhaven to be sold as slaves. The leader marveled at Reepicheep's ability to talk, and determined that he would be the most expensive of the lot.
Before he could load his catch onto a boat, Pug, one of the slavers, was stopped by a fine-looking man. The man inquired as to the price of Caspian. The discussion ended with the man paying 150 Calormene crescents for Caspian, who was then separated from the others. Pug loaded Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Reepicheep in the cargo hold of his boat and headed for Narrowhaven.
Meanwhile, Caspian was informed that he had been purchased because he reminded the man of Caspian IX. Caspian decided to reveal his true identity. After offering some evidence, the Lord Bern (one of the seven lords) kneeled and kissed Caspian's hand. Caspian questioned him about how he came to the Lone Islands, and then about the loyalty of Gumpas. It was decided that he should not pursue Pug to rescue the others, but should make it appear that there were more of them than there really were to fool Gumpas into submission. The plan was carried out, and Caspian rejoined the Dawn Treader and spend the night at Bern's home.
The following morning, Caspian and his men, with the Lord Bern and his men, proceeded into Narrowhaven and up to the Governor's castle where they met no resistance until they pounded on the castle gate. A slovenly man with messy hair and an ugly dirty hat on his head appeared, and mumbled the proper times for conferences with the governor. Bern's men pushed aside the gatekeeper and opened the gates for Caspian's procession to enter the castle grounds. Once inside, Caspian instructed the Captain of the guard to assemble his troops in the proper array by noon the following day or else. Caspian, Bern, Drinian and four others went to Gumpas's throne room to address matters.
Caspian told the governor that the tribute dues for the Lone Islands had not been paid for over 150 years, and that the practice of slavery was to be stopped immediately. Unable to comply with the wishes of the king, Caspian relieved Gumpas of his office, making Bern the Duke of the Lone Islands. Having established the new anti-slavery laws, Caspian proceeded to the slave market and saved his friends from their captivity. All had been sold except Eustace, who no one wished to buy. Caspian was able to recover his friends, and ordered Pug to repay the money the Calormens had spent on them.
Once the Dawn Treader was repaired and supplied, the voyagers continued on beyond the Lone Islands, prompting Eustace to write more in a diary. Once at sea, the voyagers encountered a storm that last for nearly two weeks and drained the ship's supply of water and food to nearly zero. Water was closely rationed, much to Eustace's dismay who insisted that if the men worked harder, they would need less water. Several days later, Eustace was caught attempting to steal water, and was sharply rebuked. A few days later, the crew spotted land. Eustace stopped his diary here and forgot about keeping it for a long time.
When the voyagers went ashore, Eustace sneaked away to avoid work and became lost in the mountains. It was not until dinner that the rest of the crew realized that Eustace was gone. He had, however, fallen into a valley and was unable to crawl out because of the steep sides. A noise distracted him, and he turned to see a dragon emerging from a cave. Frozen with fright, Eustace could only stand and watch, as the beast crawled toward a small pool and fell over. He slowly approached the dragon, relieved to find that it was dead. A sudden rain storm then sent him into the dragon's cave for shelter. There he was amazed to find treasure beyond his imagination. He stuffed his pockets and slipped a large golden arm-ring up on his left forearm. It was not long before he fell asleep on the dragon's gold.
Some time later he was awakened by a pain in his left arm, and was frightened to discover that he had been turned into a dragon. The golden arm-band was still on his forearm, but was stuck due to his arm being much larger than it was before. Unsure of what to do, he came to the realization that the others were not so bad after all, and that he would really like the opportunity to speak to them all again. He attempts to crawl out of the precipice by jumping, and was amazed to find that he could fly. With his new-found ability, Eustace flew to the beach where the voyagers came ashore.
Caspian's crew were alarmed when the dragon landed on the beach, and preparations were made to go fight the beast. As they approached him, Lucy sees that it is crying and runs to him. After an amount of speculation and questioning, the voyagers discover that the dragon is in fact Eustace. Caspian realizes that the golden arm-band is that of the Lord Octesian, and that he probably got no further than this island. Eustace becomes a much better person as a dragon, and assists the crew by toppling a tree to replace the damaged mast, killing animals for food, and taking them on flying tours of the island.
Several days after turning into a dragon, Eustace was taken into the mountains by Aslan himself and told to disrobe. After some effort, Eustace was able to shed his dragon skin, but not completely. Several attempts to shed the dragon skin fail before Aslan steps in. He cuts the dragon flesh deeply and peels the skin off to free Eustace. Aslan then bathes and dresses Eustace before returning him to the beach where he tells his tale to Edmund before gloriously rejoining the others.
The ship sets sail, but not before Eustace turns over the Lord Octesian's arm-ring. Caspian flings it to a mountain, where it would hang on a rock. The Island is henceforth named Dragon island.
The Sea Serpent
Soon after leaving Dragon Island, the Dawn Treader finds another, smaller landmass. The island has only a ruined village (believed to be the work of pirates or the dragon), but they find a small coracle (a simple boat) that Reepicheep takes as his own. They call the land Burnt Island (due to the scorched shoreline), and continue eastwards.
At sea, they are briefly attacked by a massive Sea Serpent, which attempts to constrict the Dawn Treader into matchwood. The crew, led by Reepicheep, managed to push the ship out of the monster's coils, although the stern's decorative dragon tail was damaged in the process. During the battle, Eustace attacked the beast to help save the ship from danger. Though Eustace wasn't as helpful as he hoped (only succeeding in breaking Caspian's second-best sword on the Serpent's scales), the crew noted his newfound bravery and willingness to help, and applauded him for it. As such, Eustace began to become a more likeable person, and the others treat him better in return.
Days after the Sea Serpent's attack, the crew sighted land and went ashore to refill the water casks. After doing so at one of two streams on the island, Lucy, Edmund, Caspian, Reepicheep and Eustace decided to go exploring before returning to the ship. They climbed to find the source of the stream, from which they did not take water.
During a short break, Edmund sat on something unusually sharp, which turned out to be an old Narnian sword, followed by a mail shirt, a helmet, a dagger and Narnian coins. They assumed that that was all that remained of one of the seven lords. Venturing further, the group saw a statue of a man, apparently made of solid gold, in a small pool. Desiring to remove the statue, Edmund took a spear and tested the water's depth before attempting any recovery. Once the spear was placed into the water, it became too heavy for Edmund to hold onto, and dropped it. When he did that, he suddenly ordered the others to fall back. The toe of his shoe, which had touched the edge of the water, was solid gold. It is now clear what had happened to the man - he had undressed and prepared to bathe in the pool, but was turned into gold as he dived in.
Realizing the value of the pool, Caspian claimed the land (dubbed Goldwater Island) for Narnia and swears all to secrecy on pain of death. Edmund denies his allegiance to the crown of Narnia, and the boys fight. Lucy cried for them to stop, but it was only when Aslan appeared for a moment that the boys stopped fighting and realized what fools they were being. The island is named Deathwater Island by Reepicheep, and all return to the Dawn Treader, unable to recount their tale to the crew, except for the discovery of a Narnian Lord's corpse in a pool.
Island of the Dufflepuds
After several days at sea, the Dawn Treader lands on an island. The usual party went ashore and went toward a small building on the island. Lucy, who had stopped to remove a rock from her shoe, heard the sound of thumping and thudding and, most mysteriously of all, voices. She saw where the ground was tred upon, but saw nothing. When the thumping faded, Lucy caught up with the others to tell them what she heard. Several plans are offered and refused, and the final decision was to face the unseen adversary.
When Caspian and the others arrive on the beach, a voice commands them to stop. Much dialogue leads to the understanding that the unseen creatures want Lucy to reverse a spell they put on themselves, which made them invisible. They wanted to be invisible because a magician, who had asked them to do some work, changed them into "uglified" forms when they refused to work. However, they were tired of being invisible and wished to be turned back to normal. They needed Lucy to read the spell because it was a little girl (one of their own) who read the invisibility spell. Lucy agrees.
The following morning, Lucy proceeds to the second floor of the creatures' house where she is to locate a spell book and then find and read the spell for making the unseen seen. Lucy finds the book but must read past many spells before finding the one she is looking for. She sees a spell that would make her beautiful "beyond the lot of mortals." She desired to read it because she knows Susan is considered the pretty one, and she wanted to be beautiful too. Aslan's face appeared on the page and Lucy quickly moved on. She finds, and reads, a spell that would let you know what others think about you. The results trouble her when she learns how some schoolmates are talking poorly about her. Finally, she finds the spell for making invisible things visible and reads it. After she has done so, she hears footsteps in the hall behind her. She turns to see Aslan at the doorway.
Aslan scolded her mildly for eavesdropping on her schoolmates, and then took her to meet the magician. The magician, who was actually a "star", Coriakin, gives her lunch and shows her the invisible creatures now made visible. Lucy was amazed to see nearly 50 one-legged creatures bouncing about the yard. She leaves Coriakin and goes downstairs, much to the relief of Caspian and the others. Before leaving the island of the Monopods (the race of dwarfs with only one big foot), who mixed this name with their old name of dwarfs to Dufflepuds, Coriakin magically repairs the Dawn Treader, creates a magical map of all the lands Caspian has seen on his voyage, and tells of a Narnian ship that passed through 7 years ago with the Lords Revilian, Argoz, Mavramorn and Rhoop, meaning the man at Deathwater Island must be the Lord Restimar.
The Dark Island
The voyagers set sail once again. After nearly a fortnight at sea, land is sighted. The shape of the land is indistinct, and appeared as more of a mist than an island. Darkness suddenly loomed before them, and the voyagers are reluctant to proceed. Only after some chiding from Reepicheep did Caspian decide to go forward with swords drawn and lights lit. The ship disappeared into the blackness, which had a seemingly unearthly quality to it. After several minutes of uncertain rowing, a cry was heard from some distance away. The stranger was urged to come toward the ship. Several minutes later, a head was seen in the water next to the ship. The man brought on board was maniacal and pleading with them to row for their lives. He claimed that the island was one where dreams come true - not wants or desires, but real dreams...including the bad ones.
Horrified, Caspian and the crew, turned the ship back and began rowing back toward the light, much to Reepicheep's dismay. Each person had visions of nightmares they had had in the past, each seeming very real to the dreamer. After some time and a prayer to Aslan, the ship emerged from the darkness. The man brought on board identifies himself as the Lord Rhoop, who asked to never be sent to that land again. Caspian and Rhoop look toward the Dark Island to find that it no longer existed.
Several more days at sea brought the voyagers to land yet again. The usual party rowed to land to explore the island. They see several columns in rows, and between the rows a large table covered with the most magnificent feast any of them had ever seen. Seated at the table, fast asleep, were 3 men. Caspian is unable to wake them. They only mumble about Narnia and sailing east. Caspian surmises that these are the remaining Lords and that their official quest is at an end. Reepicheep states that the three are probably in an enchanted sleep, caused by eating the food. Darkness is falling and the group decide to return to the Dawn Treader, all except for Reepicheep who wants to stay and find what adventures are about. Caspian, Edmund, Lucy and Eustace all decided to remain with him. Drinian returned to the ship while the others find seats that are not too close nor too far from the sleepers.
Just before sunrise, the group sees a door open in the hillside near the table. A woman stepped from that doorway and approached the table. She inquires as to why they had not eaten any of the food. Caspian explains about the sleepers and the enchantment from the food. The woman explains that the three never tasted the food, but rather fell into the enchanted sleep by arguing amongst themselves. In the argument, one of the men touched a stone knife (the same knife used on Aslan at the Stone Table many years before), which lay on the table and the sleep came upon them. Convinced, Reepicheep eats some of the food, and soon all are feasting. Caspian asks the girl how he can break the enchantment. She tells him that her father will explain how to undo the sleep.
She points to the doorway through which she came, and a very old man comes from the same door. He stands on the opposite side of the table from his daughter and both turn to the east with their hands outstreched before them. They sing, as the sun rises over the horizon, shining first light on the table and the stone knife. Out of the center of the sun, the group could see a flock of birds flying toward them. The birds alight on everything, creating a snow-like look. One bird flies to the old man and puts a little strange-looking fruit which looked like a live coal into his mouth. The birds then devour every edible thing on the table before flying back into the sun, carrying with them all things which could not be eaten, leaving only dishes and utensils on the table. The old man then addresses Caspian's party, introducing himself as Ramandu, a former star in the heavens.
The voyagers question him about how to undo the enchantment. He tells them that they must sail as far east as they can and leave one of their party behind. Reepicheep is delighted to learn that that one must sail on to the world's end. Rhoop is permitted to remain on the island to get some much needed sleep while the rest of the ship's party is to sail east. Caspian earns the loyalty of his crew by telling them that not all will have the privilege of sailing to the end of the world and that Drinian and Rhince would be among those who decided who would stay and who would go. The crew is eventually convinced that they should go and Caspian takes all the other sailors except a man named Pittencream, who decided to stay on the island and wait for Caspian to come back.
The Wonders of the Last Sea
The ship sets sail toward the east and an apparently larger sun shines before them. While looking overboard at a perfectly calm, clear sea, Lucy notices that there are shapes that look rather like a road and forest under the water. It is not long before she sees a large, underwater castle and sea people. The sea people, who are on a hunting expedition, spot the Dawn Treader and move closer to investigate. One of the sea people, who looks like a king, shakes his spear at Lucy in a menacing way. Just then, Edmund and Drinian come up behind her. She shows them the sea people. Drinian instructs them to turn around and not to look. It wouldn't do to have one of the crew fall in love with a sea person or underwater world. As he tells them this, a voice saying,"Man overboard!" is heard. The "man" is actually Reepicheep who was provoked to fight the sea-king. After Drinian pulls Reepicheep on board, he insisted that he stay quiet about what he had seen. However, Reepicheep was excited about something else entirely. The water was fresh and sweet, not salty. Reepicheep repeats an old rhyme he heard while in his cradle about the waves growing sweet at the utter east. All members of the ship's company understand and drink the water, which gives them more tolerance for the increasing intensity of the sunlight. It also made them less desiring of food or sleep.
Caspian Tries to Abdicate
After several days sailing eastward, Drinian and Caspian see on the horizon what appears to be ice. The Dawn Treader rows out of what appears to be a 40 foot wide current and stops while the boat is lowered to investigate. The white turns out to be lilies, miles of them as far as the eye can see. The boat returns and the ship resumes its course in the current and ever eastward. The depth finally becomes too shallow for the ship to continue and Caspian calls his crew together. He orders Drinian to take the ship and return to Narnia, where they, with Regent Trumpkin, will select a new king. Caspian is told that he cannot abdicate, but must return to Narnia. In a fit of anger, Caspian declares that none shall go on and all will return to Narnia. He storms to his cabin, where he is joined shortly by his usual companions.
Caspian tells them that he has seen Aslan and has been instructed to let Edmund, Lucy, Eustace and Reepicheep go on. Tearful farewells are bid and the four set off.
They sail on until the boat runs aground and can go no further. They are at the world's end and a great wave of water rises before them like a waterfall, not moving but ever flowing. Reepicheep lowers his coracle and paddles into the wave and is seen at the top of the wave one last time before disappearing forever. The children go ashore and walk across a green meadow in a most beautiful land. The sky seems to come down and meet the ground. Between them and the sky, there is a beautiful Lamb, who asks them to come and eat.
The three approach the Lamb and ask how to get to Aslan's country. The Lamb replies that the way to Aslan's country is through their own world. The form of the Lamb changes and before them stands Aslan. Aslan tells the children that He will be telling them all of the time how to get to His country but for now they would have to go back to Earth. Lucy asks when they will be allowed to return to Narnia and, to their disappointment, He tells them that they will never come back for they are getting too old. Lucy asks if Eustace will be returning, to which Aslan replies that it is not hers to know. Aslan opens a window in the sky and returns the children to the very room from which they came.
It is noted that Caspian did return and married Ramandu's daughter and she bore him a son and was the grandmother of many kings. Secondly, the three Lords did wake up and returned to Narnia with Caspian. Finally, it is noted how those on this side of the wardrobe door recognized a change in Eustace for the better, except for Alberta, his mother. She said that he had grown more tiresome and commonplace and "it must have been the influence of those Pevensie children."
Prior to the publication of the first American edition of Voyage, Lewis made the following changes to chaper 12 "The Dark Island". When HarperCollins took over publication of the series in 1994, they decided to use the British edition as the standard for all subsequent editions worldwide.
|British Edition||Pre-1994 American Edition|
|¶¶1-2 In a few moments [...] warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been. They blinked their eyes and looked about them. The brightness of [...] grime and scum. And then first one, and then another, began laughing.‘I reckon we’ve made pretty good fools of ourselves,’ said Rynelf.||¶1 In a few moments [...] warm, blue world again. And just as there are moments when simply to lie in bed and see the daylight pouring through your window and to hear the cheerful voice of an early postman or milkman down below and to realise that it was only a dream: it wasn't real, is so heavenly that it was very nearly worth having the nightmare in order to have the joy of waking; so they all felt when they came out of the dark. The brightness of [...] grime and scum.|
|3–6 Lucy lost no time [...] Grant me a boon.’||2–5 Lucy lost no time [...] Grant me a boon.”|
|7 ‘What is it?’ asked Caspian.||6 “What is it?” asked Caspian.|
|8 ‘Never to bring me back there,’ he said. He pointed astern. They all looked. But they saw only bright blue sea and bright blue sky. The Dark Island and the darkness had vanished for ever.||7 “Never to ask me, nor to let any other ask me, what I have seen during my years on the Dark Island.”|
|9–10 ‘Why!’ cried Lord Rhoop. ‘You have destroyed it!’ ‘I don’t think it was us,’ said Lucy.||8 “An easy boon, my Lord,” answered Caspian, and added with a shudder. “Ask you: I should think not. I would give all my treasure not to hear it.”|
|11–12 ‘Sire,’ said Drinian, [...] the clock round myself’||9–10 “Sire,” said Drinian, [...] the clock round myself.”|
|13 So all afternoon with great joy they sailed south-east with a fair wind. But nobody noticed when the albatross had disappeared.||11 So all afternoon with great joy they sailed south-east with a fair wind, and the hump of darkness grew smaller and smaller astern. But nobody noticed when the albatross had disappeared.|
- In 1983 the world premiere of the musical stage adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was produced by Northwestern College (Minnesota) at the Totino Fine Arts Center. Director: Carol Thomas; Libretto: Wayne Olson; Music and Lyrics: Kevin Norberg (ASCAP).
- The BBC produced a TV miniseries of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1989); it was combined with the previous film and released as Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
- BBC Radio 4 produced a radio play based on the book in 1995.
- Focus on the Family Radio Theatre released a longer version as part of its complete production of all the Chronicles of Narnia.
- Walt Disney Pictures dropped funding for the movie adaption and Walden Media worked with Twentieth Century Fox on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which was released on December 10, 2010.
- In 2000 a musical version was written and produced by the Alternative Community School of Ithaca, NY
- Edmund Pevensie
- Lucy Pevensie
- Eustace Scrubb
- Caspian X
- Ramandu's Daughter
- Captain Drinian
- Lord Bern
- Governor Gumpas
- Lord Octesian
- Lord Restimar
- The Dufflepuds
- Anne Feathertone and Marjorie Preston
- Lord Revilian, Lord Argoz, and Lord Mavramorn
- The Sea People and the Sea Girl
- Harold Scrubb and Alberta Scrubb
|By English typographical conventions, both book titles and ship names are usually italicized when written. Since "Dawn Treader" is part of both, it should in theory be put in Roman text to signify this, but the title would then not be distinct from the context. To avoid confusion, the entire book title is italicized in this article, and the ship name only when mentioned separately from the book title.|