The Famine in Gallowmere was a terrible famine during the reign of King Peregrin.
Gallowmere thrived under King Peregrin's rule for the first 50 years of his reign. However, one year the crops began to fail. The king tried everything he could to save his people, but he was met with misfortune at every turn: marauding rabbits, diseased toads, swarms of roaches and plagues of rats would destroy food shipped from neighboring lands.
The King then turned to his Court Magician, Mazok the Muddled, for help. Mazok was incredibly incompetent however and his spells turned the pumpkin crop into man-eating pumpkin plants. His next attempt would end up in the creation of the Jabberwocky, which cut a bloody path through the kingdom, slaughtering so many that the meagre harvest could feed the survivors. The rampaging Jabberwocky was eventually chased away from the kingdom by hero Dirk Steadfast.
The famine forced the King's hand into accepting help from a new magician, the sinister looking Zarok. Zarok did turn the kingdom's luck around, likely because he was the cause of the famine to begin with. Zarok would go on to enchant the King and plot his eventual invasion as the King's hand.
^a In a Q&A on Facebook, Chris Sorrell said "I picture Dan dying in his mid thirties, King P in his late sixties". King Peregrin dies a few days after the Battle of Gallowmere (1286). This places his birth between 1217-1219, or c. 1218. This also makes it possible to approximate when the famine happened, as it is known to have happened 50 years after the King's Coronation.