I would like to find the title to a book I read a long long time ago about a boy who had an ability to tell what people were like by touching them. Instead of, say, feeling a human hand he would feel them as an animal that they were like; if they were devious, sneaky, etc., he might feel as if he had grabbed a snake or something.
Another element I seem to remember is a tower with a witch or something of the kind that was always weaving something, and he would somehow leave the tower (magically, teleport, etc.) to go to some other land for a quest or something.
I think there may have been a couple books about this same person. I would likely have read this in the late '80s or early to mid '90s, but I don't have any idea when it may have been written. Sorry this is so vague; the story has stuck with me all this time but not really in detail I guess.