In the small town of Meung, it's customary for the local townsfolk to grab their weapons and congregate in one place whenever there's some kind of threat. Such a threat could take the form of an invasion by Huguenots, French Protestants fighting a bitter war against the Catholic king.
But on this particular occasion, all the commotion has been caused by an unprepossessing eighteen-year-old called d'Artagnan. The young man and his horse present a truly bizarre sight to the people of Meung, who congregate in their droves around the Jolly Miller tavern to get a good look at the new stranger in town.
Too big to be a youth, too small to be a grown man, he looks like a farmer's son. The only clue that he isn't is the sword he's carrying with him, which whacks against his calves when he walks. It's also apparent to the excited crowd that d'Artagnan is from Gascony. Apparently, they can tell this by his high cheekbones.
If anything, the people of Meung are even more fascinated by d'Artagnan's steed. It's a strange creature, to say the least—an old yellow nag with a yellow hide and without a hair in its tail. This ancient Bearn pony—fourteen to fifteen years old—has a funny walk, which, combined with its other unusual characteristics, makes an unfavorable impression on the people of Meung; an impression that extends to its rider.