Summary of The Worst Witch All at Sea

 The Worst Witch All at Sea- Book Summary

Plot Summary

The Worst Witch All at Sea is the fourth book in the widespread children's book series written by Jill Murphy. The book continues the adventures of Mildred Hubble, a young witch who struggles to manage her magical abilities and often finds herself in trouble at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches.

Book Summary

The Worst Witch All at Sea begins with Mildred Hubble returning to Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches for the summer term of her second year. Instead of the usual black-and-grey-checked dresses, Miss Hardbroom swayed Miss Cackle to replace them with a plain black dress. Though Miss Cackle politely agrees with Miss Hardbroom, she likes the old uniform. Meanwhile, while entering the academy, Mildred crash-lands on a pile of snow as her cat, Tabby, attempts to jump off the broomstick. As Mildred is fully covered in ice with icicles hanging from the brim of her hat, her best friend, Maud Spellbody, appears. As the pupils begin to assemble in the yard, Ethel Hallow emerges and tells Mildred that Miss Cackle wants to see her in the study right away. Mildred was nervous thinking that Miss Cackle might have seen her crash landing and is now going to punish her for that. Maud comforted her and wished her luck. As Mildred proceeds to go, she asks Maud to look for Enid, their other friend. 

At the office, Miss Cackle suggests that Mildred must replace Tabby as she is pretty useless. Miss Cackle informs her that last term, a third-year witch, Fenella Feverfew, transferred to Miss Pentangle's Academy and has left behind her extremely well-trained black cat, Ebony. Fenella couldn’t take Ebony with her as they have owls at Miss Pentangle's instead of cats. Miss Cackle also tells her Tabby will be perfectly suitable as a mouser. Mildred, not wanting to give up Tabby, couldn’t disobey Miss Cackle. Down in the kitchens, Mildred reluctantly hands over Tabby to Miss Tapioca (school cook), who gives her Ebony in exchange. Mildred is so upset about the incident that she doesn’t tell either Maud or Enid about it until after the assembly. 

At the assembly, Miss Hardbroom notifies everyone that Mr. Rowan-Webb, the frog-wizard from the previous term who Mildred saved from the lily pond, has invited all the second-years’ students to spend a week's holiday at his castle, Gloom Castle at Grim Cove. Since the Castle is near the beach, Miss Hardbroom has also sent orders for bathing costumes.   

On the morning of departure, unable to bear the thought of spending a week without Tabby, Mildred sneaks down into the school kitchens, lets Ebony out of his cage, and instead hides Tabby inside.

Upon reaching the Gloom Castle, pupils find that it is falling apart- the armchairs have springs and stuffing sticking out, there are no proper beds (except for one, which Ethel Hallow immediately declares for herself) other than old sleeping bags, piles of pillows, and what appear to be hospital trolleys. Mildred gets an old sleeping bag under the window and realizes she must divert her attention away from Tabby.

Mildred finds a boat attached to a Wharf and decides to hide Tabby in its cabin. After a wonderful day on the beach and doing water activities, Mildred tries to sneak some kippers to feed Tabby. But Ethel catches Mildred, who then acts as if looking for some mythical treasure chest on Cat's Head Rock, located in front of the cove. As the two girls head back up the cliff stairs, they witness Miss Hardbroom flying down to the beach on her broomstick with Morgana, her own black cat. After landing, Morgana instantly runs towards the boat to feed on the kippers that were actually meant for Tabby. Miss Hardbroom discovers both Tabby in the cabin and Morgana eating kippers. While stepping on board to investigate, she slips on a kipper, hits her head, and falls unconscious. 

On the other hand, Mildred sneaks out to feed Tabby again but is confronted by Ethel, who sarcastically tells her that she has untied the boat and let it drift out to sea. Worried about Tabby’s safety, Mildred tried to get to the boat. On the beach, Mildred discovers Morgana and a broomstick (not realizing it is Miss Hardbroom's) inside a small cave. She takes the broomstick to fly out to the boat, where she discovers not only Tabby but the unconscious Miss Hardbroom. A few minutes later, they bump into Cat's Head Rock. Mildred secures the boat by tying it onto an odd-looking chunk of rock and falls asleep. 

As Mildred wakes up, she discovers that Maud and Enid have found them. The two girls inform Mildred that everyone was worried about her and Miss Hardbroom's disappearance and that several search parties had been sent out. Mildred tells them that there is something odd about the old rock on which the boat is tied. The three of them pull it out and find that it is the mythical treasure chest. 

After getting back they find that Miss Hardbroom has revived, and her injured head is also taken care of. Although not seriously wounded, Miss Hardbroom is advised to be bedridden for the rest of the holiday. Mr. Rowan-Webb announces that the treasure discovered will be used to repair Gloom Castle and refurbish the Cackle's Academy. Whereas, Mildred is allowed to keep Tabby as a reward for her efforts. Also, without the knowledge of everyone else, Mr. Rowan-Webb gives Mildred a present from the chest, which includes a gold necklace of two frogs with emeralds for eyes facing each other and shaking hands. 

In the end, Mildred enjoys the rest of her holiday, feeling as if she is the luckiest girl in the world instead of the worst witch in the school.