When Gillian takes up cousin Paul's dare and walks through the abandoned railway tunnel alone, feeling her way with a rowan branch, she drives an old witch out of her longtime captivity. The resulting turmoil--unseasonable snowstorms and spooked animals--is the sort of thing British country villages must be accustomed to by now. But though the furious witch is inventively scary (she turns ice into glass and Paul into a tree) and though her chief opponent--the gamekeeper people roundabout call ""the lord of the wood""-- has impressive mythological credentials, there's nothing here to frighten even the most timid. Even when the children encounter the wizard/gamekeeper in his most fearsome aspect, with a ""frost-white flickering fire"" issuing from his fingertips, the sight gives Gillian a ""warm, safe feeling."" Smoothly orchestrated witchcraft with barely a hint of terror.