39 pages 1 hour read

James Herriot

All Creatures Great and Small

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1972

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Chapters 1-10

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapters 1-10 Summary

All Creatures Great and Small opens with Herriot recounting a particularly difficult calving. The night is cold, the activity physically strenuous, and worse, Uncle, a relative of the Dinsdale family who owns the farm, continuously compares James to another, more experienced vet. James miraculously delivers the calf alive, but his labors still go unappreciated.

In Chapter 2 the story steps back in time to describe James’s job interview with veterinarian Siegfried Farnon. It is a hard time for newly qualified vets to get work, so James is determined to make a good first impression. Siegfried has forgotten about the interview and James has a long wait, but it allows him to meet some Yorkshire residents. Unable to understand the local terms for animal diseases, James is daunted by the prospect of taking the job. When Siegfried finally arrives, he brings James along on a few visits and lets him show his skills. James is aware he is being tested, and he does his best, even when a horse uses him as a resting place and a cow kicks him repeatedly. Siegfried offers him the job, which he gladly accepts.

James’s first solo case involves a horse with colic that belongs to a local lord.