Book Four of the Narnia series is a bit different than the others. First, none of the Pevensie children are characters. Aslan informed Lucy and Edmund when they left the Dawn Treader to return to their world that they would not visit Narnia again. Eustace Scrubb, however, would and he does. He and Jill Pole are at a co-educational school called Experiment House, and they are quite miserable. There is a group of bullies they have to put up with, and Jill is behind the gym crying. Eustace tries to comfort her, and tells her of Narnia. They decide to try to contact Aslan, then realize the bullies are after them. They dive into the laurels and head up toward the gate knowing that the door will almost certainly be locked. But it isn't and when they open it, what they see is not what they expect. They see bright sunlight instead of dull heather, and Eustace pulls Jill through the door. The voices of the bullies disappears. They continue to walk until they reach the edge of a cliff. Eustace tries to stop Jill, but she goes to the edge, and it is then that she sees they are so high up, they are looking down into the clouds. She then becomes dizzy and paralyzed, and when Scrubb tries to help her, he goes over. Suddenly she sees a lion, who begins to blow on Scrubb way in the distance. Scrubb is now floating away from the cliff to his destination. Then the lion walks away.
Now Jill is left by herself, feeling very bad about Scrubb. But in time, she realizes how thirsty she is, and hears something that sounds like a stream. It is a stream, but the lion is on the other side. He tells her she may drink. But she doesn't trust him, and he won't promise not to eat her. But eventually she must give in because she is so thirsty. The lions asks her where is Scrubb. She answers him truthfully, that she was showing off.
And so in this way, Jill meets Aslan. He tells her Scrubb is already in Narnia, and that they have a task, which is to find the lost Prince Rilian, the only son of Caspian the Tenth. He gives her four Signs she must memorize in order for them to be successful on their quest. He makes her repeat them over and again until he is sure she remembers. Then he blows her into Narnia, too, and Scrubb isn't that happy to see her.
The first Sign is that Eustace will meet an old and dear friend when he arrives in Narnia, and he is to greet him at once, because he can provide them assistance. But they screw that up. They see that the King, who is very old, is in the process of boarding his ship, not knowing if he will return alive. Since Narnian time is different than Earth time, Eustace doesn't know how much time has passed since his last visit. In fact, he's not even sure he's in Narnia. But it turns out the old King is his friend Caspian, whom Eustace doesn't recognize. Therefore, the ship sails away without them speaking.
As the ship sails off, a large white owl greets them and asks who-who they are. He has seen Jill and Eustace fly in, and knows there is magic about them. The owl, Master Glimfeather, confirms they are indeed in Narnia, and it is Caspian who has just sailed away. The children tell him they were sent by Aslan. Glimfeather takes them to the Lord Regent, Caspian's long-time loyal friend Trumpkin the Dwarf, who is now old and fat and nearly deaf. A little Faun brings Trumpkin his ear trumpet, so he can finally hear what Glimfeather is saying, (who has warned the children not to mention Prince Rilian). They are taken to Cair Paravel, and given baths and fresh clothing. Later when Eustace joins Jill in her room, it dawns on them they have "muffed the first Sign," because it was Caspian whom Eustace was to greet. Jill then explains the four Signs given her by Aslan, and she keeps repeating them so she won't forget. They then go down to a splendid feast.
Tired as she is, Jill sits by the fire, and can't make herself go to bed. But just then Glimfeather arrives at the window. She and Eustace must meet with the Parliament of Owls to decide what to do about Rilian. They know that Trumpkin will forbid their search because so many brave Narnians have been lost attempting to find the Prince. And here they also explain what happened on that terrible day.
Glimfeather explains the horrible event that took the life of the Queen. One day, about ten years ago, she, Rilian and other members of the court went maying—not hunting as they had no hounds with them. After they ate, the Queen wished to nap, so the others went away from her so she would not be disturbed. But a serpent came out of the woods and stung her. She cried out, but it was no use—she died soon after. Rilian vowed revenge and sought the creature that killed his mother. But then something changed. Captain Drinian, of the Dawn Treader questioned Rilian, and he said that he has seen the most beautiful thing ever made. Drinian went with him the next day, and they saw a dazzlingly beautiful woman in green. But under the beauty, Drinian sensed evil. Drinian hesitated to tell the King, but he should have, because Rilian went missing the next day. So, now that the children know the story, they must follow Aslan's directions to carry out his will.
A Marsh-wiggle named Puddleglum is chosen to accompany the children. He is sort of a depressing man with froggy hands and feet. They head North, to the ruins of the land of the giants. As they go north, the going gets rough, cold and heavily snowy. However, they meet a beautiful woman in green, with a knight whose face they cannot see. She directs them to the "friendly" giants, the House of Harfang. But before they reach it, Jill falls into a strange trench. Eustace jumps down, thinking it might be an underground passage, and at least they are out of the frigid winds and snow. But it takes several turns, and they are all dead ends.
They eventually reach the Castle, and tell the giants they have been sent by the Lady of the Green Kirtle. They are welcomed and treated like royalty, and will be guests at an upcoming feast. Fortunately, they find out in time that they are to be part of the meal, instead. Again, they have gone off track with Aslan's Signs, so he comes to Jill in a dream and takes her to the window. There she sees the words, "UNDER ME." The third Sign is that they are to follow what is written in the ruins. The next day, Jill is confused, but they eventually figure out that the strange trenches into which Jill fell were the letters of those words.
They do manage to escape, and they go underground, to find themselves captured in the world of the Underland. They are taken to the Dark Castle, and that is all I will say about their adventures. However, I have included a quote from this section in my article, S.O.S, because it is very appropriate now, in our real world. The entire Narnia series is well worth reading for many reasons. Along with being a children's story, it is filled with spiritual and metaphysical symbolism.