The Toads Of Grimmerdale

A novella by Andre Norton. Followed by Changeling

Publishing History

  • Flashing Swords! #2, ed. Lin Carter, Dell, 1974
  • The Many Worlds of Andre Norton (hardcover) [aka. The Book of Andre Norton (softcover)]. ed. Roger Elwood, DAW, 1974
  • Lore of the Witch World, DAW, 1980
  • Spells, ed. Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh, Signet, 1985
  • Barbarians II, ed. Robert Adams, Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh, NAL Signet, 1988
  • Grand Master’s Choice, ed. Andre Norton & Ingrid Zierhut, NESFA Press, 1989
  • Wizards’ Worlds, Tor, 1989

Timeline Notes1

  1. p150. Chapter 1
  2. p150. Hertha (narrates): 'The drifts of ice-crusted snow were growing both taller and wider.' - winter. 'Such things happened in times of war. She [Hertha] guessed that when matters worked so Kuno had not been backward himself in taking a woman of the enemy.' - the invasion of High Hallack by the Hounds of Alizon.
  3. pp150-151. 'Two years ago she [Hertha] could not have though so of him [Kuno] or any man! When yet the war had not neared the Hold.'
  4. p151. 'The Dales were free in truth… It had required all the might of High Hallack, together with strange allies from the Waste, to break the invaders, to hunt and harry them back to the sea from which they had come. And that had taken a score of years to do it.' - story appears to be shortly after defeat of the Hounds of Alizon.
  5. p152. 'Two tens of days yet to the feast of Year Turn. This was the last of the Year of the Hornet, next lay the Year of the Unicorn, which was a more fortunate sign.'2
  6. p156. '…the battle of Ruther's Pass two years gone.'
  7. p159. Chapter 2
  8. p160. Trystan (narrates): 'What the invaders from overseas had not early raped, looted for shiploads sent back to their own lands, they had destroyed in a frenzy when the tide of war began to wash them away.' 'Having stripped the country bare, and this being the midwinter, the enemy had made a last defiant gesture with that great fire. It would be a long cold line of days before the coming of summer, and even then men would go pinched of belly until harvest time—' This story takes place around Winter Solstice aka "Midwinter Day" & "Yule" (see: Year of the Unicorn, Amber out of Quayth & Dragon Scale Silver.)
  9. p164. 'Had the lords of High Hallack not been driven at the last to make such a bargain with the unknown when they signed solemn treaty with the Were Riders? All men knew that it had been the aid of those strange outlanders which had broken the invaders at the last.'
  10. p168. Chapter 3
  11. p176. Chapter 4
  12. p185. Chapter 5
  13. p188. Hertha: "What of the three months since on the road to Lethendale?" When Hertha was raped.
  14. p189. Trystan: "As to three months ago— I was Marshal of Forces for Lord Ingrim before he fell at the siege of the port." - Three months ago the last of the Hounds were finally driven from the shore of High Hallack which would place it at the end of summer/beginning of autumn.
  15. p195. Lethendale is 'By horse… perhaps two days west' of Grimmerdale. Trystan: "Allow me, say, three score days, and I will come riding again to Lethendale." to see Hertha again.

Timeline Analysis

Year Name Event
Year of the Hornet Defeat of Alizon by the Dalesmen. Hertha is raped by a Dalesman soldier. Midwinter Day.
Year of the Unicorn Follows Year of the Hornet. Hertha is due to give birth.


Once again, it seems unlikely the war in the Dales could have lasted 20 years. The extra twelve years needed would have had to occur after the Year of the Gryphon since Kerovan cannot be more than 23 that year. Given that the Hounds were already starting to run out of Kolder-supplied weapons in the second year of the war it seems unlikely they could maintain the offensive for nearly eighteen more, especially after the Were Riders entered the fray.

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