The evil log and
the colourful wind
and Samuel had walked a long way past
the Hewlip bush, but there was still
no sign of the road. Nor was there
any sign of dangerous creatures.
Maybe the Truth Pixie had got it wrong,
Samuel thought. Maybe this wasn’t
the most dangerous part of the forest.
They kept walking until they reached
a log. The log was lying by the side
at such an angle on the grass slope
that it was the easiest thing in the
world for Samuel to sit down on it,
and read some more of the book.
His legs, which were tired and sore
from his wet trousers, stretched out
in front of him.
‘Come on Ibsen. Sit down!’
Ibsen stayed standing and looked suspiciously
at the log. True, the log did seem
a bit strange, but Samuel couldn’t
work out why.
‘Suit yourself,’ he said
to the dog, as he seated himself next
to a knot in the wood and opened up
Samuel turned to the first page of
the book and began to read. It was
Trolls are the most horrible creatures
in the whole of Shadow Forest. These
are the creatures a human should be
most scared of meeting as they are
horrible right down to their bones.
Not only do they steal people’s
goats, but they also kill any humans
they can get their hands on. They
come out when it is dark and can smell
human blood from a great distance
away, and are drawn to it like bees
They are generally very strong, and
use their strength to drag people
back to their homes, where they cook
them alive in a giant pot. All trolls
have three-toed feet and they are
universally ugly but the type of ugliness
varies greatly. There are two-headed
trolls. No-headed trolls. One-eyed
trolls. Four-armed trolls. Despite
their differences of appearance, trolls
are all equally dangerous and should
be avoided at all costs.
Weakness: Trolls have
no weakness at all. They are pure
Samuel thought about Martha, and realised
he had to find her before it got dark.
He had a terrible image of her being
cooked in a giant pot.
The image stopped when he saw that
Ibsen was now growling at the log.
‘What’s the matter?’
Samuel asked him. ‘It’s
only a log.’
He turned the page.
The Nøkken is another very
dangerous type of creature, and also
loves nothing better than to eat a
In their natural state a Nøkken
looks rather similar to a very large
brown lizard, but with jaws more suited
to a crocodile. However, most encounters
with a Nøkken begin when they
are in their unnatural state.
Because Nøkken are slow-moving
creatures, they depend on disguise
to lure their prey. Their most common
and successful imitation is of a log,
enticing people to take a seat on
Then, once the victim is seated, the
Nøkken will swiftly turn its
head and snap its jaws, often devouring
the weary traveller in one bite.
He looked down at the ground at his
shadow and then noticed why the log
had looked so strange. It had no shadow.
None whatsoever. It was as though
Samuel was sitting on thin air.
Ibsen was still growling.
Samuel remembered the Truth Pixie’s
The creatures with no shadows are
the deadly ones . . .
The knot in the wood had changed.
Samuel looked at it, and gasped in
The knot blinked.
Like an eye.
No. Not like an eye. It was an eye.
An eye that was looking very hungrily
up at him.
Samuel glanced back at the book trembling
in his hands, and read the small print.
Weakness: The Nøkken is so
greedy it will eat anything that is
put in its mouth.
closed the book and tried to work
out why the Nøkken’s
greediness was a weakness. Or how
that was going to help him escape
in one piece.
He tried to pretend that he didn’t
know the Nøkken was a Nøkken,
and counted backwards in his head.
He stood up and ran as fast as he
could, following Ibsen, just as the
log developed crocodile jaws and twisted
around to snap in the direction of
the tasty human flesh.
But the Nøkken kept snapping
Snap. Snap. Snap.
And Samuel kept running through the
trees, following Ibsen, his legs getting
heavier with every step. And then
he remembered. The clutch of Hewlip
leaves in his pocket.
He pulled them out, holding the yellow
leaves behind in the way he had done
on sport’s day when he was in
the relay squad, waiting for his team-mate
to catch the baton.
Only this time his dad wasn’t
there to cheer him on.
Snap. Snap. Sna-
Samuel let go of the poisonous leaves
and pulled back his hand at just the
The Hewlip dropped onto the Nøkken’s
brown, leathery tongue and was quickly
swallowed. The Nøkken stopped,
as a yellow foam spilled from its
Samuel kept running and felt something
punch into his stomach. He bent double
and fell to the floor, watching as
the Nøkken’s head began
to swell, the blood bubbling under
And then there was the wet, splattery
sound of its head exploding. A spray
of brown flesh coated Ibsen and Samuel,
bringing with it a strange, yeasty
smell that reminded him of his dad
making bread on Sunday mornings.
Samuel was disgusted, but also relieved.
After all, he hadn’t had his
legs snapped off.
His relief didn’t last long,
In fact, it lasted only until Samuel
stood up and read the wooden sign
he had collided into.
In carved, curved letters it said
The Truth Pixie had told him about
the Light Elves who had lived there.
And with the memory came the sight.
Low houses, built with grass bricks,
shaped like upside down Vs, scattered
across the hillside in a pattern that
was as random as the trees.
Then, amid the houses were the Light
Elves themselves. They had milk-white
hair and skin, and no shadows to mark
their existence. As motionless as
statues or some three-dimensional
photograph, their eyes and mouths
gaping in terror. Hands in the air,
legs lunging forward, frozen as they
had tried in vain to flee the Shadow
Samuel looked behind him and saw the
Nøkken’s headless body
slumped on the ground. He was about
to start running away from Elfhelm
when he saw something floating in
the air towards him.
Watery colours, moving down from the
sky, like a rainbow set into motion.
He looked at the colours and remembered
why the Truth Pixie had warned him
The wind that drew strength from the
spirits of the Light Elves.
Samuel looked towards the village,
and knew that was his only escape.
‘Run!’ he shouted to Ibsen,
for the second time in the last ten
He held the book close to his chest
and ran, with the dog, dodging the
statues of the elves and running around
and over their sloping houses.
Then they stopped, both of them, as
they saw the colourful spirits were
coming towards them from the other
direction as well. For a moment they
just stayed there, as still as the
elves around them.
Ibsen nudged his nose into Samuel’s
leg, bringing him to his senses.
‘Into that house,’ Samuel
said, diving for shelter. He tried
to reach the door but before he reached
it, the Osterei wind blasted against
As well as colours – yellows,
greens, reds – the sound this
wind made was different too. It didn’t
whisper, like normal wind. It giggled.
The giggles were getting louder as
the wind was getting stronger, and
Samuel thought for a second he saw
faces amid the colours. Elf faces,
like the ones that belonged to the
pale and unmoving creatures in the
village, but now whooshing past like
grass outside a car window.
He saw Ibsen stagger backwards, struggling
against the force of the wind, and
so Samuel grabbed onto the dog’s
But it was no good.
There was nowhere to hide as the mischievous
wind gained force, scooping Ibsen
off the ground.
‘I’ve got you!’
Samuel shouted, still holding onto
the dog’s leather collar.
He had spoken too soon. Ibsen shot
back out of the collar and up into
the air. Then The Creatures of Shadow
Forest flew out of Samuel’s
other hand, before Samuel himself
was soaring high above the trees.
Up and up and up . . .
In the distance he caught a brief
glimpse of the edge of the forest,
and the green grass and white wooden
‘AUNT EDA!’ he shouted,
hoping she was able to hear. ‘HELP!’
But then he was flipped upside down,
and lost the view of the house.
‘Flip you, flip you, spin you,
spin you,’ giggled the voices
that came out of the wind. And Samuel
was flipped and spinned far more times
than when he had gone on the rollercoaster
with his dad. The voices kept on going:
‘Up and down and round and round,
never stop till you hit the ground.’
Samuel sped over another village.
A village of stone houses, but it
wasn’t the deserted village
near the border. The houses were in
a crooked line this time, not a circle,
and each had a rabbit enclosure behind
them and a patch of grass in front
with some kind of bench.
He could see the dog flying through
the air in front of him, out of reach.
Then the book, flapping its covers
like wings. Samuel’s hands managed
to catch hold of it and began flicking
through the pages. This was not the
easiest thing in the world to do spinning
around in the air, but if he managed
to find out who or what was doing
this to them he might be able to stop
it happening, just as he had stopped
the Froogin music from killing him.
When he came to page 17 this is what
The Osterei are the colourful and
mischievous spirits of dead elves,
who come together to form a powerful
wind that whisks you high into the
air and transports you to another,
more dangerous part of the forest.
Their one aim is to make sure you
get so lost, that you can never escape.
Weakness: The Osterei will gently
die down if you declare ‘I am
lost’ three times.
Samuel finished reading and in the
largest voice he could find said:
‘I AM LOST. I AM LOST. I AM