The Wee Free Men

Miss Perspicacia Tick, a witch of some renown, is worried about a ripple in the walls of the universe – probably another world making contact. Not Good. This errant activity is centred on some chalk country, where traditionally good witches simply do not grow well. Fortunately, Miss Tiffany Aching of Home Farm on The Chalk, 9 years old, misunderstood and yearning for excitement, wants to be a witch and has just proved herself to be of great potential by whacking a big Green Monster from the river with a huge frying pan while using her annoying younger brother as bait. Miss Tick is impressed. So, after travelling to the chalky downs at once and dispensing some stop-gap advice to Tiffany about holding the fort until she gets back with more help, Miss Tick is off.

Any hesitation Tiffany may have had about the seriousness of the situation expires when the Queen of the Fairies kidnaps her brother. Tiffany sets out to rescue her kin with the help of a talking frog loaned by Miss Tick, and an army of thieving, warmongering, nippy, boozy Wee Free Men called the Nac Mac Feegle. They used to work for the Queen but rebelled. Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! We willna be fooled again! They are the head-banging, hard-drinking, rough-tough pictsies. Pratchett populates the Discworld with the most memorable characters. The talking toad that attaches himself to Tiffany doesn’t say “Follow the yellow sick toad,” but many people have thought it did apparently.

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