Lucy runs into the hall and joins her three siblings, reassuring them that everything is all right—she has come back. The others, though, have no idea what she’s talking about. Lucy insists she’s been away for hours, but her sister Susan informs her that the three of them just left the wardrobe room a moment ago. The others tease Lucy for making up a story for fun. Lucy protests that the wardrobe is magic, and houses an enchanted land called Narnia. The others become excited, and follow Lucy back into the room.
As it becomes clear that Lucy has experienced the events of the last several hours—or minutes—very differently from her siblings, she feels humiliated and ashamed rather than empowered and excited, as she felt just a few moments ago. She is determined to show them the truth of what she has experienced—and, surprisingly, they are willing to believe her at first.
When Lucy opens the wardrobe for her siblings, however, they find that it is an ordinary piece of furniture—Peter climbs into it and raps his knuckles against the back of the wardrobe, proving that it is solid. He congratulates Lucy on a “jolly good hoax,” but Lucy again insists she was telling the truth. Peter urges Lucy to drop the charade, and Lucy bursts into tears.
Lucy is devastated to realize that, for some reason, she is unable to prove herself to her siblings—and unable to share the secrets of Narnia with them, either.
For the next few days, Lucy is “miserable.” She cannot bring herself to say that Narnia was a lie—she is a “very truthful girl” and knows in her heart that she is right. Peter and Susan tease her lightly about Narnia, but Edmund, who is spiteful and cruel, teases Lucy ruthlessly to the point that she cannot enjoy any of the days’ activities: swimming, fishing, climbing trees, and relaxing in the fields.
As the days go by, Peter and Susan tease Lucy like ordinary, well-meaning siblings—but Lewis uses Edmund’s more mean-spirited, ruthless taunts to show that he has a darker streak than the rest of his siblings and wants to assert power over the others.
On the next rainy day, the siblings decide to play hide-and-seek inside the house. Susan is “It,” and counts while her siblings hide. Lucy returns to the wardrobe room, and decides to have just one more look inside of it to determine for herself whether Narnia was in fact a dream. Lucy climbs into the wardrobe and pulls the door up behind her, but does not shut it all the way. Edmund follows her into the room, and enters just in time to see Lucy climbing into the wardrobe; he decides to follow her in so that he can keep teasing her about her “imaginary country.”
As Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe, he does so not out of a genuine desire to see the world from her point of view or spend time with her, but instead to spitefully gain ammunition with which he can taunt her further.
Edmund jumps into the wardrobe and feels around for Lucy, but cannot find her. He begins calling for her, and soon finds that he, too, has gone through the wardrobe to a snowy forest. Edmund is surprised to find that Lucy was telling the truth all along. He calls for his sister, apologizing and asking for a truce, but she does not answer. Edmund looks around the wood, and decides he does not like Narnia—he wants to go home. As he turns to leave, though, he hears the sound of bells approaching; soon, a large, marvelous sledge (sleigh) drawn by reindeer and driven by a Dwarf comes into view.
Edmund’s mean-spirited pursuit of Lucy upends his expectations as he, too, finds himself plunged into Narnia. Edmund is not as brave as Lucy, and immediately finds that he does not want to stay there—but his curiosity is piqued at the sight of something extraordinary, and reminiscent of Father Christmas’s sleigh.
Sitting in the sledge is a “great lady,” taller than any woman Edmund has ever seen. She is dressed in white fur and holds a long golden wand. Her face is snow-white, and its features are cold and stern. When the lady sees Edmund, she orders her driver to stop—she leans out of the sledge toward Edmund and asks him “what” he is. Edmund stammers as he introduces himself, and the lady chastises him for speaking so casually to the Queen of Narnia.
Edmund has unknowingly encountered the White Witch—the pretender to the throne of Narnia who has appointed herself Queen. Judging by his past behavior, this exchange will not go well for Edmund; he is driven by dark impulses and easily tempted toward cruelty, making him the perfect pawn for the Witch.