->''"That was how it worked. No magic at all. But that time it had been magic. And it didn't stop being magic just because you found out how it was done..."''

The 30th book in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series, the second for young adults and first in the Tiffany Aching apprentice witch series.

The Chalk has a problem. It is an isolated agricultural community near the highly magical region of the Discworld known as the Ramtops. And it has no witches. Not even one.

That means it is about to have [[TheFairFolk Elves.]]

But [[StevenUlyssesPerhero Miss Tick]], professional witch finder (that is to say, a witch who finds witches and teaches them how they are witches, [[BurnTheWitch not the other kind]]), is on the case. The problem is that you can't be a witch on chalk. Witching needs good strong stone, but her elbow says there's one there already, and she would not be much of a witch if she ignored her own elbow.

Tiffany Aching is the witch. A 9-year-old girl and granddaughter of the late Granny Aching, the best shepherd the hills ever knew and quite possibly a witch herself, not that anyone, possibly even her, knew it. When a monster appears in the local river, she gets annoyed and, using her brother as bait, hits it in the face with a frying pan.

When she sets out to learn more about the monster, she meets Miss Tick, who tells her to wait while she goes to fetch help. She leaves her talking toad to serve as Tiffany's advisor and goes off to get Granny Weatherwax.

Then Tiffany's baby brother Wentworth goes missing, and The Queen of the Elves is to blame. It is at this point that certain people make themselves known.

Noteworthy for being the first Discworld book not to feature Death. As a character, anyway.

Also available in an illustrated edition (art by [[http://www.playergallery.com/playergallery/Terry_Pratchett.html Stephen Player]]) that includes original BonusMaterial, such as the transcript of the event that led to the Toad being turned into a toad.

[[http://www.ew.com/article/2016/07/19/jim-henson-company-wee-free-men-movie A film adaptation was announced in 2016]], which is to be produced by The Jim Henson Company, with scriptwriting handled by Terry Pratchett's daughter, Creator/RhiannaPratchett.

Preceded by ''Discworld/NightWatch'', followed by ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment''. The next book in the Tiffany Aching series is ''Discworld/AHatFullOfSky''.

!!This book provides examples of:

* AllWitchesHaveCats: One of the pieces of "evidence" used against the old woman [[BurnTheWitch whose fate]] inspires Tiffany.
* ArmyOfLawyers: The Elf Queen summons one; the one thing the Nac Mac Feegle are scared of.
* BadassBookworm: Tiffany in a nutshell. She read the dictionary cover to cover (although it was not a ''pronunciation'' dictionary) because "she didn't know you weren't supposed to."
* BadBadActing: The Feegle who pretends to be an injured bird in order to teach Ratbag a lesson.
* BewitchedAmphibians: [[spoiler:The Toad, though it takes it a while to remember it was once a lawyer, for the most time it's not sure whether it was transformed or enchanted to believe it had been transformed.]]
** Miss Tick attempts to use the classic turn-you-into-a-frog threat to intimidate someone, but since that someone is ''already'' a Toad, he'd have considered it an improvement.
* BlatantLies: The two egg-stealing Feegles claim that they thought the eggs were stones, so needed to be removed for the hen's comfort.
* BoisterousBruiser: Pretty much all the male Feegles.
* BookEnds: The novel begins with Miss Tick scrying on Tiffany in a dish of inky water, and the image draws back to reveal the Chalk dotted with sheep and sheepdogs streaking across the grass like comets. An identical pull-back view of the Chalk occurs in the very last paragraph.
* BrownNote: Gonnagles specialize in this, either through hypersonic noise that causes excruciating pain to anything that can hear it or [[InvokedTrope intentionally]] and ''[[SuckinessIsPainful phenomenally]]'' [[SuckinessIsPainful bad poetry]].
* BurnTheWitch: Tiffany is inspired to become a witch after what happened to a little old lady who was falsely suspected of being a witch. Tiffany's reason for becoming a witch? ''To make sure it doesn't happen again.''
* CanisLatinicus: Toad [[spoiler: defeats a group of elf-made lawyers through this.]]
** Actually, it might be a subversion; it's actually very accurate Latin. It's the ''message'' that's doggerel. [[spoiler: It's the precise Latin for Nac Mac Feegle battle cries.]]
* TheCavalryArrivesLate
* CloserToEarth: Feegle keldas are almost the only ones with even a drop of common sense.
* CoolOldGuy: The only exception to the CloserToEarth rule is William the gonnagle, who is easily the oldest and the most sensible Feegle after the kelda dies.
* [[TrailersAlwaysSpoil Covers Always Spoil]]: Technically the case, but so subtle that you wouldn't notice. [[spoiler:It's mentioned that the Feegles' swords glow blue in the presence of lawyers. On Paul Kidby's cover, the Feegles standing around the Toad have glowing swords]].
* DeliciousDistraction: This is how the dromes catch their prey, and also how to keep Wentworth, Tiffany's young, annoying brother, quiet.
* DreamWeaver: Dromes make a habit of manipulating people's dreams so they'll want to stay forever while the drome feeds off their body. The Queen is also quite adept at manipulating dreams and illusions.
* TheFairFolk: As seen in ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies''... unfortunately.
* FakeUltimateHero: [[spoiler:Roland gets all the credit for the rescue. At least he ''tries'' to tell the truth.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The cover. Look at the frog and the swords of Feegles closest to him.
* FryingPanOfDoom: Tiffany wields one against Jenny Green-Teeth.
** Justified: Jenny can only be seriously injured by ColdIron. Tiffany was instinctively aware of this.
* GenderRarityValue: The 99% male Nac Mac Feegle follow the leadership of the Kelda, their one female. Of course, she ''is'' their mother.
* GlamourFailure: Dromes can't make people that talk coherently.
* HeadlessHorseman: One of the Queen of the Elves' minions.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Miss Tick spends most of the novel off-page, seeking out Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg and convincing them to follow her in order to begin Tiffany's training.
* HostageMacGuffin: Rare gender reversal where the Baron's ''son'' has been kidnapped. Though it's not clear the Queen of the Elves knew who he was, but his riding out on a horse--which only a Baron's son would do--is implied to have led to his capture. It is fairly clear that that was why the vigilantes who hounded Mrs. Snappery to her death were never held to account (though they would have been if the area had had a real witch).
* IAmWhatIAm: Invoked at the climax of the book.
* IKnowYourTrueName: Parodied. The Feegles don't give their names to strangers, but what they're afraid of isn't so much someone gaining magical power over them as it is someone putting their names on court orders and wanted posters.
* ImpossibleTheft: The Feegle can get into ''anywhere'' - other dimensions, peoples' dreams... They can also get ''out'' of almost anywhere, unless that 'anywhere' has lots of alcohol in it. Then there may be a considerable delay. They use this talent to burglarize/mug people. And drink.
* InsaneTrollLogic: Tiffany's younger brother wants candy. He's surrounded by piles of it. He's sitting in the middle of them all, crying, every piece untouched. Why? Because if he takes ''one'' then he's not taking ''all the others''. To be fair, Wentworth is three. This is a ShoutOut to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buridan%27s_ass Buridan's Ass.]]
* ItsAllAboutMe: A rare ''heroic'' version. It doesn't matter to Tiffany if she loves her brother or not. The important thing is that he's ''hers''. [[UnstoppableRage And look out when she expands her borders from "family" to "country"]].
* LiminalBeing: The hag has to look after the edges and gateways.
* LiteralistSnarking: When one of the travelling teachers condescendingly compliments Tiffany on knowing a big word like "zoology", she replies that "zoology" is actually quite short compared to, say, [[StealthInsult "patronizing"]].
* LotusEaterMachine: The dromes' specialty.
* MeaningfulName: In the Feegle language, Tiffany's name means "Land Under Wave" (and has a lot more vowels in it).
** And it's real Gaelic, or at least very similar to it. ("Tír-fa-Tonn" in Scots Gaelic; "Tír-fo-Thuinn" in Irish.)
* MiscarriageOfJustice:
** Exactly what happened to the old, mentally ill woman who had the misfortune to look like a witch.
** The Feegles ''claim'' to be constant victims of this...
* MobySchtick: The Jolly-Sailor-and-the-whale story is told by Granny Aching, [[spoiler: and enforced upon the Queen when she takes on the form of the whale]].
* OverlyLongName: Not-As-Big-As-Medium-Sized-Jock-But-Bigger-Than-Wee-Jock Jock. Becomes an OverlyLongGag when he and Tiffany begin discussing the name. That part is difficult to read aloud with a straight face.
* PrematurelyGreyHaired: One of the stories about Granny Aching has it that she gave a man a disapproving look so forceful that all his hair instantly turned white.
* RealityEnsues: Grimhounds are huge black dogs with eyes like fire and teeth like razor blades. Tiffany lures one out of the snow and into the real world. Turns out that outside of a dream, having a mouth full of razor blades doesn't tend to work very well.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: [[spoiler:The Queen]] loves dishing these out at Tiffany. They all manage to work... until [[spoiler:Tiffany's had enough, and shows why you do NOT mess with a witch on her home territory]].
* ShapeshifterBaggage: Discussed. The Toad tells Tiffany that he sometimes lies awake wondering what happened to the rest of his mass when he was transformed from a 160lb human into an 8oz toad.
* ShoutOut:
** Wentworth's InsaneTrollLogic reaction to lots of candy is a reference to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buridan%27s_ass Buridan's Ass.]]
** The [=MacFeegle=] use a variety of battle cries, most of which are a reference something or another, like ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'' and ''Film/TwelveAngryMen''.
*** "We Willnae be fooled again!" is a reference to one of ''Music/TheWho'''s songs, though in-universe it refers to their former servitude to the Elves.
*** "There can only be wun 'ousand!" is a reference to ''Film/{{Highlander}}'', and in-universe refers to the size of the clan.
** Rob Anybody Feegle's name is a reference to the folk hero Rob Roy [=MacGregor=].
** The use of [[BrownNote weaponized]] [[SuckinessIsPainful bad poetry]] may be a reference to ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''. (It's also a reference to the supposed powers of Celtic bards.)
** "William the Gonnagle" is a reference to legendarily bad Scottish poet William [=McGonnagle=].
** The Wee Free Men parody ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs''. Really, really ''tough'' Smurfs. The [[TheSmurfettePrinciple one female in the clan]] is called Kelda and rules them as the one with the most intelligence.
** Tiffany's speculations about the "witch school" include mention of broomstick-riding lessons, and "Are ye a hag or no'?" is a Feeglish translation of a line from ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone''. Although Terry says that if the witch school is a reference, it's to ''Literature/TheWorstWitch'', which [[OlderThanTheyThink also has broomstick lessons]].
** The ballroom drome-dream resembles a scene from ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}''.
** The not-quite-voice ("Fwa waa fwah waa wha?") of Tiffany's dance partner (during the ballroom dream) is reminiscent of how adult speech is rendered in the various ''{{ComicBook/Peanuts}}'' animated features.
** A queen who lures children in with sweets rules over a land where it's always snowing and time doesn't pass at the same rate as the regular world, just like in ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia''.
** Feegle swords glow blue in reference to ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', although in-universe they're triggered by the presence of lawyers, not orcs.
* ShownTheirWork: The Feegles' speech is nearly all authentic Scottish English or Scots.
* ShutUpHannibal: Tiffany [[spoiler: to the Queen]].
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: JustifiedTrope because the Wee Free Men parody ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs''. Really, really ''tough'' Smurfs. The one female in the clan is called Kelda and rules them as the one with the most intelligence.
* SpoilerCover: The cover shows Feegles armed with glowing swords around the Toad. [[spoiler:Feegles' swords glow in the presence of a lawyer.]]
* SpotlightStealingSquad: Granny and Nanny, not to mention the Feegles - but Tiffany bears up pretty well, considering.
* StrayingBaby: Wentworth gets into trouble this way.
* TookALevelInBadass: [[spoiler: Tiffany.]]
* TrademarkFavoriteFood:
** Tiffany likes cheese. [[spoiler:Enough so to briefly hesitate when the dromes create some in her dream.]]
** Wentworth is obsessed with candy, though given that he's a young child that's hardly surprising.
* TrainingTheGiftOfMagic: Tiffany is recognised as having the right stuff to become a witch, despite some assumptions about her home environment, and her training begins.
* TwiceToldTale: To ''[[Literature/ChildeRowland Childe Rowland and Burde Helen]]'', though in this case [[spoiler:Roland is the one captured by the Elves, and it's the girl who has to rescue him]]. WordOfGod is that [[https://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.pratchett/msg/d5903104ea79c8c3?hl=en& Sir Terry wasn't familiar with this story]], and it's a coincidence "but it's eerie, innit? I think I might start pretending I had that in mind all along:-)". Strangly enough ''Tiffany'' seems to be aware of that story.
* UncannyValley: InUniverse. The Queen is said to look perfect. ''Too'' perfect, in a unnerving way that no human could.
* UpperClassTwit: Roland, the Baron's son. [[spoiler:He gets to be a lot less of a twit in the later books when he's free of the influence of Fairyland.]]
* ViolentGlaswegian: Every last male Nac Mac Feegle.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: The Feegles' only weak spot, apart from an inability to get out of pubs, is lawyers.