Journey Into Mossflower

Sal Fish Fin

Redwall: Part 1, Chapters 1-3

Chapter 1

The story proper begins with Matthias, the hero of this fine story, running down Great Hall in sandals and a habit that are too big for him. And he's not looking where he's going and trips. He drops his basket of hazlenuts and rolls. Luckily, he's stopped by the shins of Abbot Mortimer, who then gives him a lesson about walking with dignity and stuff. Yes. It's his fault he's dressed in clothes that don't fit. Mortimer takes Matthias away to talk, leaving the basket of nuts for the birds to eat... or not eat, as Jacques added a paragraph about a thrush who thought it was being stealthy, only to be outsmarted by shells. He uses "Twisters" as an expletive-type word.

Matthias and Mortimer head to the Great Hall (not my capitalization), where the tapestry is described in purple. It's apparently very old, and chronicles the history of Redwall. Matthias points out Martin, and Mort goes on about how Martin saved the day from foxes, vermin, and a great wildcat. Apparently, after one too many blows to the head, Martin stopped being a battle-hardened Warrior and became a Monk of Redwall.

One thing of note is that Matthias' entire backstory gets dumped in a single sentence:

  • You have been like a son to me, ever since you first came to our gates as an orphaned woodland mouse, begging to be taken in.

1: What kind of place is this that an orphan has to beg to be taken in?

2: Sounds like he's been here long enough for you to make habits and sandals for him so he isn't tripping over them. Gawd!

I also like this one:

  • All the mice took a solemn vow never to harm another living creature, unless it was an enemy that sought to harm our Order by violence.

That sounds a lawyer being really bad at adding a loophole to a contract. Anyway, Morty goes on to say that Redwall mice even get a free pass from predators. He wants Matthias to grow to be a respectable member of the Order, and knows he can do it, and other inspirational mish-mash. He then tells Matthias to go with brother Alf to fish in the pond, because It's his Golden Jubille as Abbot. As Matthias flops off, Mortimer finally gets the clue that he should get some right-fitting sandals.

Chapter 2

Pardon me while I become a 12-year-old again:

  • The high, warm sun shone down on Cluny the Scourge.
  • Cluny was coming!

-snicker- This early in the morning? You need to pace yourself.


Who is this Cluny, you ask? A giant rat who was so big and tough that he fought a pike for no reason. Cluny lost his eye, and the pike lost its life. Also, apparently, some creatures say that Cluny's from Portugal. The audiobook has him with a pitifully hilarious attempt at some sort of Hispanic/Greek/Italian accent. He calls himself "Cluny dee Scud-ooge" He's called "The Scourge" because he uses his tail as a whip. He's got 500 rats following him, and they're riding a hay wagon.

  • Redtooth, his second-in-command, carried a long pole. This was Cluny’s personal standard. The skull of a ferret was fixed at its top. Cluny had killed the ferret. He feared no living thing.

These last two sentences are unnecessary. I think a kid could figure out that a guy who he fought a pike and killed it wouldn't carry around a skull he found on the ground. Also, Pike are huge compared to rats.

  • Straight on the panicked horse galloped, past the milestone lodged in the earth at the roadside, heedless of the letters graven in the stone: “Redwall Abbey, fifteen miles.

They're on a horse. We never see a horse again. Also, Cluny expresses the desire to eat some baby rabbits that are at the roadside.

  • Cluny was a God of War!

Nah, he'd need two tails for ''that''...

Chapter 3

We're back in Great Hall, where Matthias and Brother Alf have caught a giant grayling for the abbey feast. It's nearly two pounds in weight, which is apparently noteworthy. They had to get Constance the Badger to bring it inside. Badgers: the go-to source for scaring things off displays of strength. We're also introduced to the cook, Friar Hugo, a big fat mouse who holds dandelions in his tail.


Sidetrack: Are Friars always cooks? I'm still not sure of all the titles you have in an abbey, but Friar sounds like "fry-er," so it sort of works, right?

  • "Bring the white gooseberry wine! Fetch me some rosemary, thyme, beechnuts and honey, quickly."

I now read Hugo as Leeron from the English dub of Gurren Lagann, and imagine him doing... things... with all that stuff.

  • "Fresh cream! I need lots of fresh cream! Bring some mint leaves too."

You're not helping your case, Hugo. We also get this little tidbit:

  • ... combing whiskers, curling tails, shining noses, and the hundred and one other grooming tasks that Redwall mice always performed in preparation for an epic feast.

I leave you to come up with something for that.

And now they open the gates of Redwall and allow all the woodlanders to come enjoy a feast, and we begin with one of Jacques' specialties: describing food. That's what these books are really about. Violence and food. In the interest of time, I'll just go on and list the names of everything:

  • Raspberry cordial
  • Peach and elderberry
  • Apple and mint ice cream
  • Candied chestnuts
  • Acorn crunch
  • Cheddar cheese, plus ten other varieties
  • Celery
  • Tender freshwater shrimp garnished with cream and rose leaves
  • Devilled barley pearls in acorn purée
  • Apple and carrot chews
  • Marinated cabbage stalks steeped in creamed white turnip with nutmeg

You hungry yet? Meanwhile, we meet the Churchmouse twins, Tim and Tess, who feel Matthias up while giggling. They had something called "tail rickets" three months ago, and Matthias was involved in curing them. Seriously, it does take three months to make a habit and some sandals?

The abbot accepts gifts from the woodlanders, and quizzes Hugo to make sure they've got enough for the huge crowd. A bunch of otters put on a show for the little ones. Also, what the hell is a sultana? Then we meet Ambrose Spike, a hedgehog magician who pulls stuff out of creatures' ears, makes tails dance like snakes, and pulls shells from the mouths of infants. No I did not make that last one up.

  • Was it magic?

  • Of course it was.

I like that line. I really do.

Anyway, at eight o-clock, The feast officially starts. The Abbot says one of the few prayers in the series.

  • Fur and whisker, tooth and claw,
  • All who enter by our door.
  • Nuts and herbs, leaves and fruits,
  • Berries, tubers, plants and roots,
  • Silver fish whose life we take
  • Only for a meal to make.

Who are they praying to? the fish? And what's with the first four lines? Just listing stuff? Color me confused.

  • Matthias found himself next to Tim and Tess on one paw, and Cornflower Fieldmouse on the other. Cornflower was a quiet young mouse, but undoubtedly very pretty. She had the longest eyelashes Matthias had ever seen, the brightest eyes, the softest fur, the whitest teeth…

Say it with me now: Love interest.

The Abbot wholeheartedly praises Hugo's labor of love, and

  • Any further speech {i}s drowned by hearty cheers.


A sultana is a dried white grape. Or the wife of a Sultan, but that's not relevant here.
Vilui 7th Nov 11