The Assistant Pig-Keeper is the first chapter of The Book of Three. It introduces the young hero, his mentors, the setting of the story in a land of enchantment, and a clairvoyant animal whose escape forms the basis of the plot.
PlotCaer Dallben, Taran wanted to make a sword, but Coll insisted on horseshoes. Taran tried to make a blade anyway, to disappointing results. He spurred Coll to teach him swordplay across the farmyard, awakening Dallben the enchanter, who chided the two and asked Taran into the cottage for a lesson. Dallben reminded Taran about the land of Prydain, and warned the youth of the Horned King, an evil warlord with purposes unknown. As the enchanter meditated, Taran tried to touch The Book of Three but the ancient tome burned his fingers.
Coll bestowed Taran with the title Assistant Pig-Keeper of Caer Dallben (a somewhat superfluous epithet for a series of jobs he already performed), when abruptly a new commotion roused Dallben.
First bees, then chickens flew the farm in a frenzy, and the enchanter and farmer both ran to fetch the Letter Sticks in order to divine knowledge from Hen Wen, an oracular pig, on the matter. Hen, terrified, burrowed under her pen to freedom. Taran took a breath and plunged into the forest after her.
|The Book of Three|
|1. The Assistant Pig-Keeper | 2. The Mask of the King | 3. Gurgi | 4. The Gwythaints | 5. The Broken Sword | 6. Eilonwy | 7. The Trap | 8. The Barrow | 9. Fflewddur Fflam | 10. The Sword Dyrnwyn | 11. Flight Through the Hills | 12. The Wolves | 13. The Hidden Valley | 14. The Black Lake | 15. King Eiddileg | 16. Doli | 17. The Fledgling | 18. The Flame of Dyrnwyn | 19. The Secret | 20. Welcomes|
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