Study Guide

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Chapter 4

By C.S. Lewis

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Chapter 4

What Caspian Did There

  • In the morning, Caspian, on Bern's instructions, orders all his men to suit up in full armor. They set out for Narrowhaven in a boat, flying the King's flag and taking a trumpeter with them.
  • When the boat lands, a crowd is assembled to meet them, as per Bern's secret commands the night before. All of Bern's friends have gathered and cheer as the King lands and marches into Narrowhaven with his retinue.
  • At first, only Bern's people are in the crowd, but over time the children join them in order to skip school. Then the old women watching from the town start gossiping. And then the young women come out to ogle the handsome men in flashy armor. Then all the young men come out to see what's going on, and eventually the whole town is cheering them on.
  • When Caspian reaches the gates of the castle, his trumpeter announces him. A lazy, badly dressed gatekeeper comes out of a small door and tries to tell them they can't see Governor Gumpas. Bern smacks him and tells him to take his helmet off before the king. The gatekeeper is confused, and Caspian's men go through the door and open the castle gate. Caspian and his followers march in.
  • In the courtyard Caspian discovers the castle guards lounging around drinking, only half-dressed in their armor and not at all ready for a fight. Before they can think, he reprimands them for their slovenly ways, but then forgives them and orders a cask of wine opened to celebrate his visit. They cheer – he's won their hearts with that cask.
  • While the guards drink, Caspian, Bern, and the men progress into Gumpas's main hall. They find Gumpas sitting behind a table covered in papers, ink, sealing wax, and other office supplies you need when you're a bureaucratic tyrant in charge of a few Narnian islands.
  • Gumpas tells the men that he doesn't see people without appointments except for one hour each month. In reply, Bern and Drinian overturn the document-covered table, drag Gumpas from his chair, and toss him to the ground. Caspian sits in Gumpas's chair and puts his sword across his knee.
  • Caspian tells Gumpas that he is the King of Narnia and has come to inspect the Governor's conduct as his official. His first point is that the Lone Islands haven't paid tribute to Narnia for 150 years.
  • Gumpas starts talking about council meetings and financial commissions to investigate, but Caspian says that if the tribute is not paid, the Governor must pay it out of his own personal fortune. Gumpas is alarmed and says Caspian must be joking.
  • Gumpas's mind reels. He wonders what he can do to get rid of Caspian and his men. He saw Caspian's ship, although he didn't know who it belonged to at the time, and he also saw it signaling to other ships. He assumes Caspian has a whole fleet at his command.
  • Caspian makes a second point: Gumpas has allowed the slave trade to flourish. Gumpas argues that slaves are an economic necessity. Caspian argues that, first, no they're not, and second, even if they were, slavery is wrong.
  • Gumpas says he can't take responsibility for stopping the slave trade, so Caspian relieves him of his office. In his place, Bern is appointed Duke of the Lone Islands. Caspian orders Gumpas and his men to clear the palace so that Bern can move in.
  • Next, Caspian orders horses, and he, Bern, and Drinian ride to the central marketplace of the town. They find Pug auctioning off slaves to the highest bidders, displaying their muscles and teeth to prospective buyers.
  • As Caspian and his men ride in, Bern orders everyone down on their knees before the king. Most people comply and the rest get pulled down by their neighbors.
  • Caspian pardons Pug for kidnapping him but declares that the slave trade is forbidden and that every slave in the market is free.
  • Everyone cheers. Caspian looks for his friends, finding Lucy, Edmund, and Reepicheep, who have already been sold.
  • Two merchants from Calormen approach Caspian and ask, politely and long-windedly, if they can have back the money they paid for his friends. Caspian orders Pug to pay back the money he received for all the slaves.
  • Caspian asks where Eustace is. Pug says that nobody would buy him, even when he was offered as a free bonus along with other slaves. Pug and his men have nicknamed Eustace "Sulky." "Sulky" is produced, and he's not even grateful to be rescued.
  • In the evening they have a feast. They spend the next several weeks preparing the ship for their further adventures, cleaning and repairing it and stocking up on supplies.
  • While they are in Narrowhaven, Caspian tries to find a sea captain who knows about the waters and lands to the east. Nobody really knows what's beyond the Lone Islands, although he hears more rumors about Aslan's country.
  • Bern can only tell Caspian that the other six lords continued to sail east. Sometimes he wishes he had gone on adventuring with them.
  • Bern asks Caspian to stay behind and help. He thinks that Calormen will declare war on the Lone Islands now that their supply of slaves has been stopped. Caspian says that he swore an oath to travel east – plus, he promised Reepicheep they would go!

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