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Our story begins in England during World War II. Four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, are sent away from London to keep them safe from air raids. (In some of the other Narnia chronicles, we learn that their last name is Pevensie, although it's not actually mentioned in this book.)
The four children are sent to live in a large house in the country owned by an old professor. His housekeeper, Mrs. Macready, and three servants take care of the house and look after the children.
The Professor is nice but strange; Lucy, who is the youngest, feels shy around him, and Edmund thinks he's funny.
On their first night in the house, the children discuss their new surroundings. Peter, Susan, and Lucy like the Professor. Edmund is irritated by Susan's bossiness; he thinks she's trying to act too much like their mother.
Peter, who is the oldest and often in charge, suggests that the children explore the countryside in the morning. They're excited to see different animals in their natural habitat.
In the morning, though, it's raining. The children decide to explore the house instead of going outside.
The house is large and complicated with many interesting rooms and antiques. Eventually the children come to a room that is empty except for a large wardrobe (a wardrobe is a stand-alone piece of furniture that substitutes for a built-in closet).
Peter, Susan, and Edmund leave the room to keep exploring. Lucy stays and opens the door of the wardrobe.
The wardrobe contains fur coats. Lucy loves fur, so she steps in to feel the coats. She notices a second row of coats behind the first and goes further in.
As Lucy walks deeper into the wardrobe, she is surprised when she doesn't hit the back of it. Eventually, instead of reaching the back, she feels snow under her feet and evergreen branches hitting her face and hands.
Lucy emerges out the back of the wardrobe to find herself standing in a winter landscape at nighttime. It's snowing!
Lucy is scared but excited. When she turns around, she can see the fur coats hanging in the wardrobe and the empty room through the wardrobe door. When she looks ahead of her, she sees a snowy wood.
Lucy walks toward a light that she can see in the distance and discovers that it is a lamppost.
While Lucy stands under the lamppost, another person walks up. He is human from the waist up and a goat from the waist down; Lucy recognizes him as a mythical creature called a Faun. He carries an umbrella and some packages.
When the Faun sees Lucy, he drops everything he is carrying and exclaims in surprise!