Somehow, I am lacking a picture for this book, so sorry about that.
It’s ironic, because I think that this, the fourth (out of five), is my favorite of the Prydain tales.
In this book, Taran, Assistant-Pig Keeper of Caer Dallben, yearns to ask for the hand of Princess Eilonwy in marriage, but hesitates to do so because he does not know who he is. So, with the blessing of Dallben, Taran sets off to try to find the truth of his parentage.
I love this book. Taran travels all over Prydain, and learns much more about himself than his parents. During his travels, Taran spends a great deal of time in the Free Commots. There, as he stays with various independent farmers and crafters, he learns a different lesson from each one.
“If I fret over tomorrow, I’ll have little joy today,” says Llonio, a man who raises his large family on the riverbank, living by their wits and ability to see a use in everything that comes their way. Llonio keeps nets in the river to catch the flotsam and uses what appears with enthusiasm and gratitude. He calls it luck, but Taran can see that it is much more. “My luck is no greater than any other man’s,” Llonio tells him. “You need only sharpen your eyes to se your luck when it comes, and sharpen your wits to use what falls into your hands … Trust your luck, Taran Wanderer. But don’t forget to put out your nets!”
Hevydd the blacksmith teaches Taran his art, and many lessons are learned as Taran strives to forge his own sword. “Life’s a forge!” Hevydd tells Taran. “Face the pounding; don’t fear the proving; and you’ll stand well against any hammer and anvil!”
Throughout the tale, Taran learns much of himself and of life, and returns to Caer Dallben a man.
I know that I haven’t really done a good job describing this book, but it’s one of my favorites, and I highly recommend it. 5/5.