The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
by C.S. Lewis
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Chapter 14 Summary
The Beginning of the End of the World
- As the door in the hillside opens, an old man with a silver beard and hair emerges. He seems to emit his own light.
- Everyone gets up again and stands to greet the man. Without speaking to them, he comes to stand across the table from his daughter. They raise their arms, face the east, and begin to sing a high-pitched, beautiful song that seems to fit the cold morning.
- As the man and his daughter sing, the sun rises and a ray of light hits the Stone Knife. The adventurers notice that the sun looks much bigger now than it did when they were closer to Narnia.
- Suddenly thousands of large white birds fly from the center of the sun toward them, echoing the song. One bird flies up to the old man and feeds him a tiny glowing fruit that it carries in its beak.
- The birds stop singing and quickly consume all the food remaining on the table. Then they fly away, carrying the scraps and bones and rinds with them. The table is empty.
- The man turns to Caspian and welcomes him. Caspian asks him how to undo the spell that is keeping the lords asleep.
- The man tells Caspian that to break the enchantment he has to sail as close as possible to the end of the World and leave at least one person behind.
- Reepicheep asks what will happen to the person left behind, and the man says that person will go on into the east and never come back. Reepicheep says that's what he wants to do.
- Caspian asks how close they are to the World's End and what else might lie to the east. The man says he saw it a long time ago from very high up, but he can't give them many details.
- Eustace asks if the man was flying through the air. He says his name is Ramandu. None of them recognize the name, and he tells them he used to be a star. Now he is a star at rest, and every morning a bird feeds him a fireberry which takes away a little of his age. When he is young enough he will become a star again.
- Eustace objects, saying that a star is a big flaming ball of gas, not a person. Ramandu says that is just what a star is made of.
- Ramandu also tells them that they have already met one star, Coriarkin. However, Coriarkin isn't at rest; he was sent to govern the Duffers as a punishment. Caspian asks what crime Coriarkin committed, but Ramandu says it's not appropriate for him to know.
- Ramandu asks them to decide: are they going to go home or try to break the spell? Reepicheep and Caspian say there is no question: they'll try to rescue the lords.
- Caspian is concerned about the crew, who agreed only to seek out the missing lords, not to find the end of the world. He's also worried about Lord Rhoop, who seems too traumatized to go on any more adventures.
- Ramandu says that if Caspian tried to go to the end of the world with an unwilling crew, he wouldn't be able to break the spell.
- Caspian tells Ramandu Lord Rhoop's story. Ramandu says that Rhoop should come ashore, where he can sleep without dreams and recuperate.
- Drinian and the rest of the sailors approach. When they see Ramandu and his daughter, they take off their hats. Some of the men are disappointed that all the tasty food is gone.
- Caspian explains Ramandu's offer to Drinian and they send for Lord Rhoop. While they're waiting for him, everybody sits down and Caspian explains the situation.
- One of the sailors, the Master Bowman, asks how they are going to get home when all the winds have been blowing them further east. Drinian says that every sailor knows the wind will change direction with the seasons and take them home soon.
- Another sailor agrees with Drinian and says they should spend the winter on the island then head home in the spring.
- Eustace asks what they will eat. Ramandu says the table will be set with a feast every day at sunset.
- Rynelf points out that at the beginning of the voyage everyone was talking about adventure and finding the end of the world, and now some of the same people are talking about being cautious and staying on the island eating rich food. Some sailors agree with him, while others still feel nervous.
- Edmund asks Caspian what they would do if half the men refused to come. Caspian says to wait.
- Lucy asks Reepicheep what he will do. Reepicheep says he will sail east with the Dawn Treader as long as he can, then paddle east in his little coracle as far as possible, then swim while his strength lasts, and then, if he still hasn't gotten to Aslan's country, he'll sink with his nose toward the sunrise.
- One of the sailors cheers and says he'll do the same – he won't be outdone by a mouse.
- Caspian stands up and clarifies that he's not begging the men to come with them. He, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, Reepicheep, and Drinian are definitely going east. They will take with them the sailors they deem worthy. He's going to ask Drinian and Rhince to consider and then recommend the best men.
- They take a short break. The sailors walk around the island, and Drinian and Rhince think.
- Meanwhile Lord Rhoop arrives. He is seated beside his fellow lords, and Ramandu puts him to sleep. As he falls asleep, Rhoop smiles contentedly, relaxing for the first time in years.
- Caspian's speech has changed the sailors' feelings; now they're all worried they will be left out of the best adventure of them all. Soon everyone but three men wants to go, then everyone but one man, and then he decides to go because he doesn't want to stay behind all alone.
- Caspian accepts all the sailors except the one who made up his mind last. This man's name is Pittencream. He stays at Aslan's table while the others go on their voyage. The narrator tells us that he feels miserable and left out and that, on the way home after they pick him back up, he deserts the ship. He goes to live in another country, Calormen, and tells lies about his adventures.
- That night everyone eats the feast at Aslan's Table. In the morning Caspian says goodbye to Ramandu's daughter, and they all (except for Pittencream) sail east.
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