[Picture of Sisla]

Sisla, the Elf Dog

© Rick Kephart

Chapter 1

My name is Sisla, and I am a dog. You are probably wondering how I can be writing this if I am a dog. In fact, I am no ordinary dog, for my master is an elf, named Bardin. He has taught me to speak in the languages of animals and fairies (just yesterday I finished learning the language of humans) and he has magic paper that will write down whatever is said to it. That is how I am writing this.

Even though humans do not often meet the people of fairyland, it does happen sometimes. Not all the ones here are friendly, and I am writing this just in case a human may one day face the same danger that we faced that time last summer. I'll tell you how we survived, so that you may know what to do should it ever happen to you!

I'll begin by telling you about Bardin the Elf and me. I started out as a normal little dog. I was abandoned as a little puppy. My first owners were mean. My mother had a litter of puppies, and they only wanted to keep the prettiest, so that left me out! I am not a pretty dog at all. They tied me up in a bag and dumped me in the woods, and left me there to die.

I almost did die, but then Bardin found me. He took me home, and took care of me. His cat helped too, my friend Firl. Firl is a pretty little cat (much prettier than I am), and we're best friends. And because we've been taught by an elf, we can talk to each other.

[Picture of Bardin] Firl and I are both very small; I'm not even quite as big as Bardin! Elves are much smaller than humans, remember. Bardin, who is pretty big for an elf, would hardly be as tall as your knees! He looks something like a young human boy, but his ears are pointed and are as high as his head, and his hair is long and blue. His clothes are made of mint. He's always very nice to Firl and me.

We all live in a house in the inside of a giant, hollow tree. It's like a real home, with furniture and pictures on the wall, and even a little kitchen where Bardin can bake his muffins. The tree is magic. It protects us from anyone who might try to come after us. And it grows wonderful fruit, a different kind each month. This month, it's growing giant cherries.

The trouble all started with a human girl. The woods where we live are so far away from everything that we hardly ever see a human anywhere around here. But there was a family out camping where they shouldn't have been.

Firl and I were playing, chasing each other around. Suddenly, Firl stopped.

"Listen," she said, "Hear that?"

I stopped and listened. Firl's ears are a little better than mine, but I could hear it too. No doubt about it, there was a human coming! It's easy to tell a human's footsteps, and we could tell they were coming this way!

"It sounds like a human child," I said. "I'll go see if I can find her and get rid of her."

It's not that we hate children. We like all humans, that's why it's important to keep them away. The tree's magic can kill them.

I found her picking flowers. Before she saw me, I crept up and started barking, to try and scare her away. She jumped, but when she saw me, she started talking to me! I kept barking, but she thought I was just trying to play. She was very nice; I wanted to play with her, but that would put her in danger from the magic tree.

I stopped barking, and started growling and showing my teeth. Now she did get the idea, and backed up away from me. I growled louder, and looked as mean as I could, and came toward her.

She ran away from me. But she ran the wrong way! She ran right toward the magic tree! I tried to run around her, and chase her the other way, away from it. But she was faster than me. She got to the magic tree, and before I could do anything the poor little girl started climbing up the magic tree!

Chapter 2
[Picture of the girl in the magic tree]

"She's up in the magic tree!" Firl cried.

I started barking for Bardin to come out. By now the girl knew she was in trouble. Firl and I still could not see what was wrong.

Bardin came running out of the tree. "What's wrong?" he asked. Before we could answer, he heard the little girl crying, and he looked up and saw her in the tree.

"What's a human girl doing up in the magic tree?" he asked. "It's going to kill her!"

"Help!" the girl cried when she heard Bardin.

"Come down! Hurry!" Bardin called up to her.

"I can't! I can't move!"

Then we could see why. Her arms were getting longer and longer. They were turning brown. A leaf came out of her right elbow. Her arms were turning into branches. She was turning into part of the tree!

"The tree is taking her," Bardin said.

"We have to do something!" I yelped.

"The only thing we can do now, is get help from someone who is stronger than the tree's magic. Hurry, come with me."

As we ran along beside Bardin, I asked him, "Who is stronger than the tree's magic?"

"A troll."

I couldn't believe it. "A troll!" I said. "But you said never, never go near a troll, because they are evil!"

"They are evil," Bardin said. "But it is the only way we can save the little girl before she is made into a part of the tree forever!"

Firl was scared, and ran along closer to me.

We all stopped when we got to the nearest troll's home. At least it wasn't a bridge troll; they're even worse than forest trolls.

We could go no farther. Outside the door, was the troll's pet cockatrice. It looks a little like a snake or a lizard, but with a sharp beak and claws. It was almost twice as big as Bardin. They are big, strong, and very mean and cruel things, and being a troll's pet would make one even meaner. They are so awful, some people think that they can kill somebody just by looking at him!

It roared when it saw us. "He must keep it there to guard his house," Bardin said to Firl and me. It did a good job!

It had a heavy iron collar bolted around its neck, with a big black chain hooked beside the door.

"Troll!" Bardin called out. "Please come out. We need your help!" [Picture of Troll]

The troll came lumbering out, with a big grin. He was so ugly, I could hardly look at him. He wore a heavy coat, even though it was warm out, and it was moldy and rotted. He was a little shorter than Bardin, but very fat. His face was wrinkled and swollen.

The cockatrice snapped at the troll as he came out. The troll turned and kicked his pet, again and again. "Stupid, ugly thing!" he shouted at the cockatrice. Then he punched it so hard it fell over. The cockatrice was crying. I even felt a little sorry for the monster.

The troll walked over to us, and we all backed up a few steps. "What you want, elf?" he said, in a low, gagging voice.

"A little girl is in our magic tree, and it is killing her. We need you to get her out, before she dies. I don't have much gold, but I'll give you all I have if you will save her."

"Won't hear of it," the troll said. "I'll do it just to be nice."

Firl and I looked at each other. "Just to be nice" did he say? But trolls aren't nice at all!

"What do you want from us?" Bardin asked him.

"I'll do it just to be nice!" the troll said again. "Now take me there, so I can save your little sweetie!"

Bardin led him back to the tree. He was scared, I could tell. We all knew that troll was up to something, but we didn't know what! But what could we do, but lead him back to the tree?

Chapter 3

Bardin was almost running, to get to the girl before it was too late. Just before we got there, I noticed that the troll's pet cockatrice was running along with us too. Its chain was hooked onto the troll's belt. I wondered why the cockatrice was coming too. I was worried about that!

When we got to the tree, we found the girl's sneakers at the bottom of the tree. The were split apart, like they had burst open from the inside.

The girl's feet were gone! Her legs were wood too now. They were already part of the tree. Her legs were like branches, coming out of the tree. Her arms had grown very long, and were covered with leaves. But it still wasn't too late! Her head was still there. Her eyes were closed, and she was crying.

"I can get her down," the troll said.

The troll hit the side of the tree. Then he gave it a punch, so hard that some of the bark fell off. He kept hitting it, until the branches were shaking.

He kept hitting it harder and harder, until the little girl fell out of the tree. As soon as she fell out, her arms and legs were skin again, instead of wood, and she was back to normal.

I ran over to her as soon as she hit the ground. She fell pretty far; I was afraid she was hurt.

The fall did knock her out. I licked her on the face until she woke up.

The girl smiled when she saw me. But then she looked over and saw the troll grin at her, and she got scared and screamed. She tried to get up, but fell back down again.

Bardin came over to her. It's good she wasn't afraid of elves!

"Is your leg broken?" Bardin asked her.

"I think I just twisted it," she answered. "Who are you? What is going on?"

"I'm Bardin the Elf. You climbed up into my magic tree, and it almost killed you. The troll saved your life."

"Just trying to be nice," the troll said. The little girl smiled and thanked the troll, but we knew he was up to something.

The troll walked around the tree, looking at it and feeling it. I was worried, and it looked like Firl and Bardin were worried too.

"That's my dog Sisla," Bardin said to the girl, "And that's my cat Firl."

I went up to show her I was friendly. I almost didn't see the troll's cockatrice snap at me! It would have gotten me, if Firl hadn't knocked me out of the way. Cockatrices like dog and cat meat. They also like to eat human beings. I wonder if that was the cockatrice we heard about, that got that little baby boy last year.

"Please be careful with your monster," Bardin said to the troll, when he saw that it had almost had me for dinner!

"Pardon me!"the troll said, and he tugged on the cockatrice's chain and choked it. He kept jerking it, and making the cockatrice gag and choke. The troll thought it was funny. He kept it up, until the cockatrice was lying on the ground, crying. The the troll went back to looking at the tree, dragging his cockatrice along the ground behind him.

"That troll is mean," the girl said.

The troll looked at her, with a look that scared her very much. "Me, mean? Oh no, not at all. You don't want my creature to eat nice Mr. Elf's cute little dog and cat now do you? I was just being nice, just like I saved you just to be nice."

The girl smiled when he said that. The girl stopped smiling when the troll added, "Now, it's your turn to be nice! And your nice deed will be to give me your magic tree!"

Chapter 4

Firl and I looked at each other, and we both looked at Bardin. Bardin was just standing there, with his mouth open in surprise.

"You can't have it!" Bardin said. "It's our home. We would have no place else to live."

"Aw," the troll said, "Isn't that too bad! But it does make it even nicer of you to give it to me like you have done. Thank you most deeply. You are so kind."

The troll hooked his cockatrice next to the door. Then he went inside.

"What are we going to do?" I asked Bardin.

"I don't know how we can get past the cockatrice," he said sadly.

"This is all my fault," the human girl said. She started to cry.

There were sounds of breaking glass and pots from inside the tree. "He's breaking my kitchen," Bardin said. Then he called, "Please, troll, at least let me have my things from inside the tree! Everything I have in the world is in there."

"How nice of you to give it all to me!" the troll called from inside the tree.

The girl tried to get to the door, and get the cockatrice. The cockatrice was only about half as big as she was. But the cockatrice was very fast, and does eat people.

It was brave of the girl to try to get past the cockatrice, since she could only kick at it with bare feet since her sneakers were broken.

The cockatrice got the bottom of her skirt in its beak, and started grabbing at her leg with its claws. The cockatrice was winning.

I ran around behind the cockatrice, and barked at it. The cockatrice turned around to see me, and the girl ripped her skirt out of the cockatrice's mouth.

I ran away just in time to get away from the cockatrice. It was really mad now! It had just lost its lunch (the little girl) and dessert (me). It tried to pull off its chain to get us.

"Let's go back to the troll's house, and try to think of something to do," Bardin said, and led us back.

"I'd like to come too," the girl said. "This is all my fault, and I'm so sorry. Maybe I can do something to help."

We all went back to where we had found the troll. We went inside. The girl had to crawl in because it was too small for her to stand up inside.

It was not a nice place. It smelled so bad, we could hardly stand it. The girl held her nose.

We were careful to walk on the dirt and garbage on the floor. There were places where there was black, slimy stuff on the floor, that really smelled bad. We didn't know what it was, and didn't want to get any of it on us, so we were careful not to step in that.

There were spider-webs all over the walls, covered with big, dead flies and bugs.

"Doesn't that troll care what his home is like?" Firl asked.

"I think he made it look like this on purpose!" Bardin said. "I think he set up all those bugs in the webs. I bet he even brought in that stinky black gunk to put all over his floor."

"Does your cat talk to you?" the girl asked when she saw Bardin answer Firl. She doesn't know much about elves! I wished I could talk to her, but at least I knew what she was saying.

"We can't live here forever!" I said to Bardin.

"I know," he said to me. "But I don't know how to get our home back yet. Let's try to think of something."

"You really can talk to them, can't you!" the girl said.

Bardin just smiled.

"Will we ever get our magic tree back?" Firl asked. I went over to Firl and rubbed against her. "We've got to," I said.

Chapter 5

"Don't you have any magic strong enough to fight the troll?" I asked Bardin.

"Not against a troll!" he answered. "It would be like trying to send a paper airplane all the way to the moon. Magic couldn't even get near him."

"Could I help?" the little girl asked.

Bardin looked her over. "I don't see what you could do," he said. "You don't even have any magic."

"But I'm bigger than you or the troll, or even his monster!"

"The last time you tried that, it almost ate you up!" Bardin said. I think he was getting mad at her. It was her fault we were in this mess, and she's thinking she can beat the troll! "She's only trying to help," I said to Bardin. Even though it was her fault, I didn't think Bardin should be mad at her for wanting to help.

"I wonder if we could get Zim to help us," Bardin said, thinking out loud.

Zim! I had heard of her before. She's a mean and scary fairy, but they say she is good. But the stories I've heard about her were all so scary, I never wanted to meet her! I've had nightmares about the Dreaded Zim and her Hot Arrows, flying on the back of her bee. I hoped we could get back our Magic Tree without having to get help from her.

"I can't stand this smell any more!" the human girl said. "I'm going outside to get some air." And she hurried out of the troll house.

While Bardin was trying to think of something to do, Firl went over to him and asked a question.

"There's something I've been wondering, Bardin," Firl said to him. "If the troll is so much stronger than we are and our magic is, and he wanted our magic tree, why didn't he just come and take it before now?"

Bardin thought about it for a minute. "I never thought about that before. I have no idea what kept the troll from taking our tree before now! Maybe if we knew that, we'd know a way to get rid of the troll now."

I went over and looked outside. I couldn't see the girl anywhere.

"Bardin!" I barked. "The girl! She's gone!"

Firl and Bardin looked at each other. We were all thinking the same thing: she's gone to try to fight the troll again, alone!

"We've got to stop her," Bardin said. We all started running at once to the Magic Tree. "I don't think I mentioned to her that the bite of a troll has poison."

We were too late! When we reached the Magic Tree, she was already fighting with the troll. She was staying far enough away from the cockatrice that it couldn't reach her. She had been throwing stones into the Magic Tree, and the troll had just come out.

Bardin tried to yell for her to stop, but it was too late.

"You can't take my friend's home! Get out of here!" The girl yelled at him. She was really mad. So was the troll.

"Pesky human," the troll snarled. "I'll put an end to you!"

The girl tried to kick at the troll, but with bare feet, since she lost her sneakers when her feet turned to wood up on the tree. She still thought she was big and strong enough to hurt the troll by kicking him! I guess she didn't know how tough troll skin is, because she hurt her toes when she kicked him.

Even though it didn't hurt the troll, he was mad. He jumped at her leg. He held her ankle, and bit into of her leg with his dirty little teeth.

The girl screamed, and tried to shake him off her leg. He hung onto her ankle, until he was sure he had gotten plenty of poison into her, and then let go, and was tossed off her leg and onto the ground. He picked himself right up and said, "That will take care of you," and he went back into the tree.

Chapter 6

The little girl still didn't know the troll bite poisoned her. She tried to walk away. She got a few steps, then she cried out and fell down. She dragged herself along the ground a little bit, and then she passed out.

I went over to her and tried to wake her up. I barked, and licked her on the face, but she couldn't wake up.

"It's no use," Bardin said. "It's the troll poison."

"Is she still alive?" Firl asked.

I told Firl that she was still alive. At least the poison didn't kill her.

"Is she going to die?" I asked Bardin.

"I don't think so," he said. "If she had gotten enough poison to kill her, I think she would be dead already. But she may never wake up again for the rest of her life."

"We'd better take her to someplace safe," Firl said. I agreed. But I didn't know how we were going to move her.

Bardin tried to lift her up. He put his hands under her shoulders, but could she was too big and heavy for an elf to move!

Then he tried to pull her. He held her under her arms and pulled until his face turned red. But he couldn't move her at all.

Then I had an idea. "Maybe I can help," I said. "Try pulling her again, and I'll pull on you!"

Bardin put his arms under her arms just like he did before, and I got the back of Bardin's clothes in my mouth, and we both tugged.

Maybe it would have worked, if Bardin's clothes were stronger! I just ended up with a mouth full of mint leaves that tore off his back. They sure were good! But we still couldn't move the poisoned girl.

"We can't just leave her here in the middle of the woods," Firl said. We both knew she was right. But what could we do?

"Maybe Bojo can help us," Bardin said.

"Who is Bojo?" Firl and I both asked together.

"Come and see," Bardin said. He pointed to a small hill that was very close.

He led us over to the hill. Then, he started dancing around, jumping high in the air. And he sang:

Bojo, Bojo, wake up please.
Bojo, Bojo, help us please.
Bojo, Bojo, we need you.
Bojo, Bojo, yes we do.

He sang that about nine or ten times, until the hill started shaking. Then the hill started to stand up! As it stood up, all of a sudden we could see what the hill really was: a giant! [Picture of Bojo]

He stood up, yawning and stretching. He was so tall, I wondered if he could see us at all, down here on the ground. But he looked down and did see us.

"My old friend Bardin," he said, scratching his thick beard. "What is it you need? Let's get it done, so I can get back to sleep. I just went to sleep six years ago. I am so tired!"

"This human little girl was bitten by a troll. She's still alive, but she can't wake up. We should take her someplace safe, but she's too heavy for me to lift or pull."

The giant reached down, and picked her up in his hand. He held her up to his face to look at her. "Poor little one," he said sadly. "Where do you want to take her?"

"The troll took my home, but he gave us his. It's not very nice, but it's all I've got," Bardin told him.

"Lead on, friend Bardin," the giant said, yawning.

Bardin led the giant to the troll's horrible home. The giant put the girl inside, as gently as he could.

"Pleasant dreams," the giant said, and he sat down, and a minute later he looked just like a hill again.

Bardin, Firl, and I went inside to stay with the little girl.

Chapter 7

We all sat around the human girl, who didn't look like she would ever wake up again.

"Bardin," I said, "Couldn't the giant help us get back our tree?"

"Bojo? Oh no, of course not. He's always much too slow and sleepy to be able to fight anybody."

"What are we going to do?" Firl asked.

I wondered if the troll might be able to cure the girl. I told my idea to Bardin. He agreed, and said it might be our only hope. He said he would go and speak to the troll. Firl and I stayed with the girl.

After a little while, Bardin came back. The troll was with him.

"The troll is going to help her," Bardin said.

"Yes," the troll said, "I can help her. And I will, too. I'll do it -- just to be nice!"

Firl and I knew what that meant! But what could he want? He already had our tree and everything we had.

The troll went and got a big pot. It was full of dust, and had some black slime in the bottom. He turned it upside-down, and shook most of the dust out.

The troll made a fist over the pot, and water dripped out of his fist. He did that until the pot was full.

Then he took the pot over to the girl, and poured it all over her ankle where he had bit her.

Then he found a shovel, and scooped up some of the stinky gunk up from the floor, and slopped it on the girl's legs.

"Will she be alright now?" I asked the troll.

"Of course. A pot of hand water will take care of all the poison. That's all she needed."

"What was the black gunk for, that you put on her legs?" Bardin asked.

"Nothing. I just thought it would be funny to dump it all over her legs! She does look funny like that, don't you think?"

"I think that was mean," I said. It made me mad. But then, after I said that I got scared and ran around behind Bardin's legs.

"I'm not mean! I'm very nice. I cured your friend, didn't I?"

The little girl was now starting to move around! She didn't wake up yet, but she was getting better.

"Yes, she seems to be getting better," Bardin said. "Thank you."

"Now that I've done something nice for you, now you will do something nice for me! You're going to give me your dog and cat."

"What do you want with them?" Bardin asked. Firl joined me behind Bardin's legs.

"Why, to feed to my cockatrice, what else! He hasn't had a good meal like that for a long time. You will make my cockatrice so happy by giving him your dog and cat to eat!"

"Bardin! Don't let him take us!" Firl said.

"I don't want to be eaten!" I said.

"You can't have them," Bardin said.

"Yes I can!" the troll said, smiling. "You have to. I did something nice for you, now you have to do something nice for me. And your dog and cat are what I want. And if you don't send them to me, then I'll just have to send my cockatrice to get them for himself! And the cockatrice might not stop with just a dog and cat. I don't think he'll stop until he eats you and the girl too! That would be such a shame. But I'd have to do it, you know. So, I think you'll send your nice little dog and cat to the magic tree, so my cockatrice can eat them."

Bardin didn't say anything. I was really scared. I didn't want to be eaten! And that cockatrice was so mean, I know he would make it hurt as much as he could.

"Send them over before dinnertime today," the troll said, "Or my pet will be calling on you for dinner!" The troll laughed, and left.

Chapter 8

The human girl was starting to wake up, but Firl and I were too scared to care much. What could we do?

"Bardin," I said, "You won't let him take us, will you?"

"Of course not!" Bardin said. "We have no choice now. We have to call on the Mighty Fairy Zim."

I was afraid of Zim, but I was a lot more afraid of the cockatrice! I kept telling myself that Zim is really good, and she won't hurt us.

The girl was trying to get up. Firl and I went over to her, while Bardin went outside the Troll-house to call Zim.

I wished I could tell the girl what was going on.

"I feel terrible," she said to us. "You understand me, don't you? I wish I could understand what you say. Where did Bardin go? I wish you could tell me." So did we, but we couldn't tell her that.

I asked Firl to stay with the girl; while I went out to see Bardin. I wanted to watch how he called Zim. It was fun watching him wake up Bojo the Giant. Firl said she would, so I went out to watch.

I missed most of it. When I came out, I saw Bardin whistling and clapping his hands. Then all of a sudden, there was Zim, buzzing in on the back of her bumblebee! She went into the house ahead of us. [Picture of Zim on her bee]

It was a big bee she was riding, but she was very tiny. She was thin, but she looked very strong. She was pretty, but her eyes looked mean. She had a pack of arrows on her back.

"I haven't seen you for a long time, Bardin," she said to him. "I wish you would call me more often!"

Then the fairy flew over to the girl, and the girl screamed. It is scary to see someone riding a bumblebee right at you!

"Don't worry," Bardin said, running over to her, "She is my friend; she will help us."

"Is she the one who needs my help?" Zim asked.

"No," Bardin told her, "It's really Sisla and Firl who need you. A troll bit this little girl. Then he made her well, but now he wants Sisla and Firl to feed to his cockatrice."

The girl was upset when she heard that. So was Zim, who said, "A troll! I can't fight a troll. My magic arrows won't do any good against a troll."

"Isn't there anything you can do?" Bardin asked, sadly.

"We're going to need a plan. Magic won't work against a troll, but there are other things that will. I know a lot about trolls. I just have to think of something we can use against him."

I wanted to ask Zim a question, but I was still afraid of her. I wanted to ask why the troll didn't just take our magic tree any time he wanted. The tree isn't strong enough to stop him, so what kept him away until now? And why didn't he just let his pet eat us any time?

"I have an idea!" the fairy said. "I'll need Sisla's help. Sisla, will you help me?" I told her I would, and she said, "Good. Then you can help me get rid of the troll."

Zim wasn't afraid of anything. If I had a fast bee to ride on, and had a pack of magic arrows, I wouldn't be afraid either!

I asked her what we come do, and she said, "I can't hit the troll with magic arrows. But I can hit his cockatrice! I will attack his cockatrice with my magic arrows. The troll will try to protect his pet. While he is busy doing that, you will attack the troll."

"Me?" I said. She expected me to fight the troll?

"The troll is a coward. If you can attack the troll and hurt him before he can hurt you, we'll win. And he should be so busy trying to help his cockatrice, that I don't think he will notice you in time."

"But what if he does?" I asked.

"Well, then we will have to think of something else!"

"But what will happen to me?"

"You don't want to know."

Chapter 9

We all went as quietly as we could go to the magic tree. As soon as we got there, Zim went to work.

Zim flew up very close to the cockatrice, but kept just out of its reach. She pulled out one of her arrows. As soon as she held it, it changed. It looked like a bolt of lightning in her hand! She threw it at the cockatrice. It blew up when it hit it. It was too tiny to do any good, but it did hurt the cockatrice, a lot!

Zim pulled out one arrow after another, and kept hurling them at the cockatrice. She never seemed to be able to run out of arrows.

Sometimes, the bee would get up close, poke out its stinger, and squirt something at the cockatrice, that hurt it.

The cockatrice was screaming, and swinging its arms around, trying to hit the fairy. But Zim and her bee were too fast.

After a couple minutes, the troll came running out.

"Stop that, you stinking fairy!" the troll yelled at Zim. Zim ignored him, and kept going after the cockatrice with her arrows.

The troll pulled a giant knife out from under his shirt. First he just kept swinging at the bee, but he couldn't hit it. Then he stopped, and watched carefully, to see just the right time to strike.

That's when I went into action!

I crept up on the troll. Zim was right, he didn't notice me. When I was close enough, I jumped at the troll's leg!

I bit into the troll right above his foot. It made the most awful taste in my mouth, (it lasted for weeks). But I didn't let go. It was the first time I ever bit anybody hard enough to draw blood.

The troll shook his leg as hard as he could, but I wouldn't let go. When his leg started bleeding, the troll started to cry!

That surprised me; I didn't think a troll would cry! But he was.

"Stop it! I'm bleeding!" the troll said, with tears in his eyes.

Zim stopped going after the cockatrice, and flew over to me.

"You can let him go now," Zim said.

I opened my mouth and jumped away, before he could toss me off.

"You hurt me!" the troll said, still crying. "That's not fair. I'm getting away from you people. You're no fun. I'm going far away. I hope I never see any of you ever again. And don't try to find me, or I'll sick my cockatrice on all of you." He went to the cockatrice, and took its chain off the wall. "Come on," he said to his cockatrice, "We're leaving, and never coming back." Then the troll ran off limping, dragging his cockatrice behind, as it tried to lick its sores from the bee and the magic arrows.

Bardin was singing and dancing around, he was so happy to get his magic tree back again.

Finally, I asked Zim if she knew why the troll didn't just come and take our magic tree any time he wanted to, and she told us.

"The trolls like to think that they're good," she said. "Even though they are very bad, they tell themselves they're good. He wanted to think that he had a right to take your magic tree, and that he had a right to feed you and Firl to his monster. They always have to find some excuse for being bad, so they can do bad things but still think they're really being good."

"How did you learn so much about trolls?" the human girl asked.

"I'll tell you some other time," was all she would say. Then she told me I was a hero, and she flew away.

"Good-bye!" I barked. The girl waved. Bardin was still dancing.

When Bardin finally stopped, he said to the human girl, "You should go home now. don't tell anybody about us! That's very important. If you'll promise never to tell anybody about any of us or anything that happened here today, you may come back again and visit us sometime."

And that was how we got rid of the troll; now you'll know how to do it too, if it ever happens to you, my dear human readers!

The End

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