Poaching was an irresistible temptation to the blacksmith Thomas Thomson, stronger than the danger lurking in a warlock's woods. He defies the shadowless Hugo Gifford, gaming on his land and destroying his spells, till on Halloween Gifford kidnaps his wife Janet. Thomas' ten-year-old son Alexander has the magic rhyme to keep the goblins from congregating, given him by the young-old faerie woman he followed home from his father's forge; Thomas himself has God's own word of power, willed to all smithies through Tubal-Cain, to break the warlock's power. The dramatic force of The Spanish Letters is equalled, possibly excelled here; plot and tension build cleanly without extraneous events, the Scottish village scenery and dialect are impeccably drawn, the conclusion is traditional but smashing all the same. Another great spookster in a year of wonderful witchery.