The Black Cauldron

The Second in the Prydain Chronicles, the Black Cauldron is the continuing adventure of Taran, Assistant Pig Keeper and his band of friends.

A year has passed since Taran and the gang defeated Arawn and the Horned King. However, there is trouble amiss. Men are going missing in and around Prydain and Gwydion is becoming concerned. He calls a council at Caer Dallben, where he relays his fears to the others who have gathered. An unusually large number of Cauldron Born, the undead warriors that serve Arawn, have begun to materialize.

Gwydion declares that he has a plan to steal the Black Cauldron, the very item where the warriors are created. Of course this is met with some trepidation from the others as Arawn keeps the Cauldron deep in the catacombs of Annuvin where he rules with an iron fist. It is declared that King Morgant will lead a band of warriors into Annuvin where they will attempt to attack its stronghold, while Coll and Gwydion will lead an attempt to take the Cauldron before Annuvin realizes what is happening.

Taran is dismayed to discover that once again, he will be left to tend the animals instead of being in the fracas. To compound matters, he is left with Prince Ellidyr who is rude, abrasive. They are joined by Adaon who is the son of the Chief Bard Taliesin. Taran is jealous of Ellidyr’s standing, of noble birth though Dallben tells Taran he is the second son of a King and therefore Taran’s jealousy is misplaced. Ellidyr is angry at being left with an Assistant Pig Keeper, and the son of a Bard and lets his displeasure be known in various ways.

Meanwhile, as Morgant is holding Annuvin at bay, Gywdion discovers that the dreaded Cauldron has disappeared. Rushing to get away from the advancing Cauldron Born they barely escape…and run straight into Eilonwy and Gurgi who have managed to triapse all over Prydain trying to find the raiding party. The party realizes they have lost Coll and Gwydion and are in trouble themselves until they find refuge with the Fair Folk in an underground cavern.

In the underground cavern, thanks to the fair folk and a friendly bird named Kaw they learn the Cauldron has been stolen by Ordu, Orwen and Orgoch three elderly beings who live in the Marshes of Morva.

While riding to the Marshes the band of very strange adventurers run into, quite literally, Fllewdur Flam who chooses to join them on their journey.

Some hilarity ensures in the marshes which you will have to read for yourselves. Another one that my Grade 6 teacher read to my class that I still love to this day…and I almost needed a slate in school so you know it’s a long time.

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