Michael Tolkien



The young woodsy called Leaflag wasted his early days and learnt no skills. Frightened of being punished and made to make up for this during the underground winter festivities, he decides to live among humans. On his idle summer travels he’d seen a doll’s house through a window, so he made for that, and wormed his way into favour with two children, swearing them to secrecy. But when it came to showing his powers he could only destroy or dismantle, and could not reverse his spells. He becomes selfish and arrogant when the children blame him for getting them into trouble. Losing patience they barricade him into the doll’s house and feed him on scraps. Then a mouse gnaws her way in and is delighted to shelter a respected woodsy, only to be taken advantage of and bullied, and when he can’t rescue her children from a cat’s jaws she rounds on him and leaves him to fend for himself.

Caught in a mouse trap, he’s rescued by Lisa who hopes to carry him to show her mother as proof of what’s caused all the mischief; but he takes off through an open window into the severe winter weather and back to the woods. He will face punishment and correction in the winter retreat.  Then after a year’s training he returns to make good the damage he has done, though the children can only guess at this, so much subtler now are his powers of coming and going among human haunts.


a narrative outline