Taggerung by Brian Jacques

Taggerung (Redwall, Book 14)

One of my absolute favorite books!!!

Sawney Rath awaits the coming of the Taggerung. Legend honors the Taggerung as the strongest beast alive. Sawney Rath's own father was the Taggerung, but Sawney himself is not. He was not fated to be, or so the omens say. Sawney Rath's seer, Grissoul, informs Sawney of the Taggerung's birth, where it will be found, and by what mark it will be identified. She says that the Taggerung will come from the Abbey of Redwall, that it will be found be the stream, and that it will have a flower-shaped birthmark on one paw. While reading the omens, it seems that she used a certain ant to show where the Taggerung would come from, and where he would be found. The ant was allowed to crawl on to Sawney's paw, and when he flung it away after it had served its purpose, he failed to notice that it landed in a basin of water, and it swam!
Sawney Rath and several of his clan go to the stream where Grissoul says they will find the Taggerung. They find baby Denya, an otter, taken to the stream by his father to let the water run over the newborn otter's back. He is slain by Sawney's vermin and Denya is taken to be reared by Sawney as his own adopted son.
The Taggerung, nicknamed Tagg, grows up knowing no other life than that of a vermin. He is, indeed, a powerful beast. None are as strong as he. But after a while, Sawney notices that he has a soft spot in him. Vermin are supposed to be merciless tyrants. Why is it that Tagg never kills a creature if he can help it?
Tagg soon begins to wonder why he is the only otter in the clan. He begins to have dreams about a strange place with red sandstone walls, that he is sure he has never seen before, and yet, he feels as though he'd entered it once. In his dream, a strange mouse comes up to him and says one word, "Denya!" Tagg asks Sawney about it, asking if they'd ever been to a place with other otters like him. Sawney tells him to forget the dream, but somehow, Tagg can't.
When Sawney orders him to skin a creature alive, Tagg refuses and flees. He realizes he can't possibly be a vermin; with a soft spot in him and being the only otter for miles around, it isn't right. He searches for the place in his dreams, Redwall Abbey…


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