The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain
by Lloyd Alexander
Published by Henry Holt and Company
Review by Anthony Kendrick
"The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain" is a book of 8 short stories in which Lloyd Alexander get's to revisit the Characters from the Prydain Chronicles and tell a little of their back story. On it's own this book might not be very enjoyable, but once you have taken the journey through Prydain these stories make perfect sense and add joyfully to your memory of that place.
In "The Foundling" we meet the Great Dallben as a child, and we learn how he came to possess the book of three.
In "The Stone" we poor Doli is yet desperately trying to turn himself invisible, to no avail, and he is seen and helped by a poor farmer. The farmer thus asks for and is granted a wish, but he shall wish that he had not made that wish afterall.
In "The True Enchanter" Princess Angharad, Eilonwy's mother, must choose a suitable husband. Since she is royal and an enchanter she may only choose an enchanter to marry, but will she be able to find one who is not only an enchanter but is also enchanting?
In "The Rascal Crow" a clever, but conceited, crow named Kadwyr will be humbled. He will learn that we all need help sometimes, and that help might come from the most unlikely of places, so he should watch his tongue.
In "The Sword" we see the story of King Ritta who was a good and just king; however, he let his pride get the best of him and he slowly sunk to become an evil and paranoid king who lost the love and respect of his kingdom. And of course we learn why Princess Eilonwy found the great sword Dyrnwyn where she did under the spiral castle.
In "The Smith, the Weaver, & the Harper" we see how Arawn, Lord of Death, was able to steal the secrets of craftsmen, but there was one that he could not steal.
In "Coll and his White Pig" tells how the warrior turned farmer, Coll, saved his pig with the help of the creatures of the forest because of his goodness and courage. But most importantly we learn what happens to his turnips.
In "The Truthful Harp" we meet King Fflewddur Fflam in his small kingdom when he decides to become a bard. We get to be with him when he learns the power of the Harp that has been bestowed upon him, and just how valuable and precious the truth can be.
There isn't much to tell about this book that hasn't already been said in my review of "The Chronicles of Prydain". I will reiterate though:
"Lloyd Alexander is among the best
fantasy writers of all time, but he has been forgotten by the book reading
public for some time now. Students today have never heard of him. Most readers
of my age have not heard of him. I really want to change that. I highly
recommend his quintessential works 'The Chronicles of Prydain.'"
If you have read "The Chronicles of Prydain" you will want to read "The Foundling" as it will entertain you will earlier stories of Prydain.