During an unnamed time of war, a plane carrying a group of British schoolboys is shot down over the Pacific.
The pilot of the plane is killed, but many of the boys survive the crash and find themselves deserted on an uninhabited island, where they are alone without adult supervision.
He finds a serene open space with aromatic bushes and flowers.
The boys soon settle into a daily pattern on the island.
Simon says that Phil probably saw Simon, for he was walking in the jungle that night.
But the littluns begin to worry about the beast, which they conceive as a ghost or a squid.
When Simon, the only boy who has consistently helped Ralph, leaves presumably to take a bath, Ralph and Jack go to find him at the bathing pool.
But Simon instead is walking around the jungle alone.
Ralph proposes that they build a fire on the mountain which could signal their presence to any passing ships.
The boys start building the fire, but the younger boys lose interest when the task proves too difficult for them.