The Magician Series TrilogyFind Out More About Jenny Nimmo
The Snow Spider
Book 1: The Snow Spider
By Jenny Nimmo
Unlike most Novembers, calm days seemed less endless that autumn. Gwyn had to wait three weeks for a wind. It was the end of the month, and the first now had fallen on the mountain.

During those three weeks he found he could not broach the subject of his ancestors, though he dwelt constantly on Nain's words. Since his birthday the atmosphere in the house had hardly been conducive to talking about it. His father was more remote and silent. His mother was in such a state of anxiety that, whenever they were alone, he found he could only discuss the trivia of their days: the farm, the weather, and his school activities.

But every morning and every evening, Gwyn would open his drawer and take out the yellow scarf. He would stand by his window and run his hands lightly over the soft wool, all the time regarding the bare, snowcapped mountain, and he would think of Bethan.

Then, one Sunday, the wind came, so quietly at first that you hardly noticed it. By the time lunch had been consumed, however, twigs were flying, the barn door was banging, and the howling in the chimney was loud enough to drive the dog away from the stove.

Gwyn knew it was time.

"Who were my ancestors?" he asked his mother.

They were standing by the sink, he dutifully drying the dishes, his mother with her hands deep in the soapy water. "Ancestors," she said. "Well, no one special that I know of."

"No one?" he probed.

"Not on my side, love. Your grandfather's a baker, you know that, and before that, well.I don't know. Nothing special."

"What about Nain?"

Gwyn's father, slouched in a chair by the stove, rustled his newspaper, but did not look up.

Gwyn screwed up his courage. "What about your ancestors, Dad?"

Mr. Griffiths peered, unsmiling, over his paper. "What about them?"

"Anyone special? Nain said there were magicians in the family.I think."

His father shook the newspaper violently. "Nain has some crazy ideas," he said. "I had enough of them when I was a boy."

"Made you try to bring a dead bird back to life, you said," his wife reminded him.

"How?" asked Gwyn.

"Chanting!" grunted Mr. Griffiths. It was obvious that, just as Nain had said, his father had not inherited whatever strange power it was that those long-ago magicians had possessed. Or if he had, he did not like the notion.

"The magicians are in the old legends," mused Mrs. Griffiths. "One of them made a ship out of seaweed, Gwydion I think it."

"Seaweed?" Gwyn broke in.

"I think it was and."

"Gwydion?" Gwyn absentmindedly pushed his wet dishcloth into an open drawer. "That's my name."