Fairyland is full of shapeshifters; they’re part of the natural balance. But occasionally you’ll come across a shapeshifter who has gone out of control.
Such a one is Nigel the Nuisance, who uses his shapeshifting to show off. He practises for hours every day, like a human who’s addicted to the gym. His aim is twofold: to be more interesting than all the other shapeshifters, and to achieve more changes per minute. He gets a tremendous buzz from these workouts and can’t bring himself to give them up.
Nigel has been through so many changes he’s forgotten his original shape. He sometimes finds himself changing shape when he doesn’t want to, or turning into things he doesn’t want to be. This can cause a lot of trouble, for himself and for anyone who hangs out with him.
Shapeshifters generally change into plants or animals, to trick unsuspecting humans or to blend into the background when they don’t want to be seen…
This is giving the other shapeshifters a bad name, and they’ve disowned him.
Nigel also has a problem with telling the truth. Many fairies will mislead humans with the odd tall tale; but Nigel tells stories all the time, to humans and fairies alike, and his fellow fairies have had enough. As far as they’re concerned, Nigel has overstepped the mark.
Poor Nigel! He only wanted a bit of attention, but instead he’s become like the goofy kid in school that no one wants to play with. Because of his disruptive behaviour, the Fairy Queen has made him live on a lonely little island in the middle of a lake, away from everyone. This is hard for Nigel, because shapeshifters are sociable by nature and enjoy each other’s company.
When Steven arrives in Fairyland, alone, friendless and homesick, Nigel latches onto him straight away. He knows a true friend would help Steven get home, but he doesn’t want to lose the boy’s companionship; so, after one halfhearted and unsuccessful attempt to help Steven find the way out of Fairyland, he does all he can to convince the lad that going home is impossible.
Nigel truly wants to be Steven’s friend, but unfortunately he’s not that good at it. He can’t resist the urge to tease and play tricks on Steven, and his uncontrolled shape-changing gets them both into terrible danger.