After a while, the robin stops leading the children through the wood and flies away. Lucy and Edmund are frightened, worried that they have walked into a trap, but Susan points out something moving in the trees—all the children look more closely and see that it is a whiskered, furry animal. The creature puts its finger to its lips, gesturing for the children to be quiet, and then comes out from behind the tree. It looks around fearfully, tells the children to “Hush,” and then retreats back into the trees. Peter says he thinks the creature is a beaver. The children debate whether they should follow it into the brush, and ultimately agree that if worse comes to worst, they will be a “match” for the small animal.
Talking animals are not out of the ordinary in Narnia, but still, the children are wary of the beaver as it attempts to beckon them closer. As with the robin, anything could be a threat—the children are in new territory, and do not yet know whom they can and cannot trust. Little do they know, the person they should be most wary of is one of their own: Edmund.
The children head deeper into the trees, and the beaver keeps beckoning them closer; “We’re not safe in the open,” he says. Finally, the children and the beaver arrive at a small clearing, and the beaver asks them if they are “the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve.” Peter confirms that they are, and asks who the beaver is so afraid of. The beaver explains that the trees are always listening—and some of them are loyal to the Queen.
The beaver, too, is wary of his surroundings—this demonstrates that the children were right to be suspicious of both the beaver and the robin, as Narnia is clearly a deeply divided realm marred by distrust and discord.
Edmund suspiciously asks how they can know the beaver is on their side, and the beaver holds up a little white cloth—Lucy recognizes it as the handkerchief she gave to Mr. Tumnus. The beaver reveals that Mr. Tumnus got wind of his own arrest before it happened, and instructed the beaver to meet the children when they returned to Narnia. Before continuing with his tale, the beavery beckons the children even closer so that he can whisper to them; once they are close enough, he tells them that “Aslan is on the move.”
The beaver is on the “right” side, and in fact has been placed in charge of shuttling the children to safety by Mr. Tumnus himself. The beaver mentions the name Aslan as if the children should already know what it signifies—revealing that whoever Aslan is, he is powerful, and may perhaps even stand to save Narnia.
At the mention of the name Aslan, though they do not yet know who he is, the children all feel “quite different.” Edmund feels a mysterious horror; Peter feels full of bravery; Susan feels as if she has just smelled something delicious or heard beautiful music; Lucy feels excited, as if it is the morning of a holiday.
The name of Aslan—though the children are ignorant of who he is or what he stands for—is a tremendous force, almost a physical entity. Lewis includes this scene to allegorize the feelings of joy, serenity, or indeed even fear that even the name Jesus Christ inspires in believers and nonbelievers alike.
Lucy asks where Mr. Tumnus has gone, but the beaver insists that before they discuss any more he must bring them somewhere safe, where they can all have a “real talk” and some dinner. The children hurry along after the beaver as he leads them on an hour’s trek through the woods. Eventually, their group comes to a frozen river where the beaver has built a dam. Upriver, Edmund can see the twin hills which flank the Queen’s castle. “Horrible ideas” come into his head as he schemes about how to get to her, to secure more Turkish Delight for himself.
The children, who now know they can trust the beaver, agree to follow him through Narnia. Edmund, however, wishes he could strike off on his own and follow through with his “horrible” plans for how to serve his own desires and undermine his siblings’ involvement in the war against the Witch.
Mr. Beaver leads the children into his home, where his wife, Mrs. Beaver, is waiting for them all. She is excited to meet the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve. Mrs. Beaver boils potatoes and sets the table with Lucy and Susan’s help, while Mr. Beaver and Peter go out to catch some fish for dinner. The whole group then sits around the table and enjoys a delicious meal, complete with dessert and tea. Mr. Beaver lights his pipe, looks out the window, and observes that it has begun to snow; he is grateful for the weather, as it will disguise the tracks they left through the woods on their way to the dam.
The children are once again safe and warm in the care of kind Narnians. The atmosphere of danger and distrust abates in the Beavers’ dam, and the children settle in; as the snow falls, their fears of being followed subside, and they allow themselves to enjoy Narnia for the first time since their arrival.