The story opens with Geralt and Dandelion having stopped in Upper Posada to look for work. After spending a good deal of time trying to find out if there are any paying jobs to be had, the witcher concludes that the tales of the locals are nothing more than superstition and constitute no real work for a witcher. The pair decide to move on, heading towards the "edge of the known world".
As they approach Lower Posada, Dandelion notices a horse-drawn cart seemingly trying to overtake them. Nettly, a local farmer, catches up with them, saying there is indeed work for a witcher and that he too thought the folk in Upper Posada were talking utter nonsense. He suggests they continue on their way and discuss things in relative comfort.
Once in the village, the local elder, Dhun, tells of a 'deovel' whose mischief has become a problem, but under no circumstances should the creature be killed. Despite Dandelion's claims that there are no devils, Geralt agrees to take a look and see what he can do.
Out in the fields, amidst the hemp and hops, Geralt and Dandelion find the 'deovel'. Dandelion and the bleating 'devil' exchange a few words which only serve to provoke the latter; he takes aim and starts throwing iron balls at the witcher and his friend with a fair degree of accuracy, and they flee.
Back in the village, Geralt confronts Dhun and Nettly, and meets the community's old wise woman and Lille. After some discussion, an ancient book is brought forth, and the old woman 'reads' appointed entries from it. This way, the witcher and the bard learn that the devil is, in fact, a sylvan. The villagers had tried using the book's suggestions for ousting the beast—a suggestion which apparently left it well armed with iron balls. The old woman and Lille leave, taking the book with them; Geralt converses with the men some more.
The following day, back in the fields, Geralt tries to draw out the sylvan and speak. The devil refuses but suggests that if the witcher wants to play games, he's game. Geralt is in no mood for games, but suggests one: "don't do unto others what you would not have them do to you". This essentially leads to a tussle in the hemp from which the sylvan narrowly escapes. Geralt hears a horse and assumes that Dandelion has come to his aid on horseback. But there's a twist in the story, and the witcher is actually knocked down by the unidentified rider.
He stirs to find himself face down on the ground, bound, with the sounds of people talking in the Old Language not far away. He recognizes one of the voices as belonging to the 'devil', and soon learns that his name is Torque. The other speaker is an elf, Galarr. Next to the witcher, Dandelion is similarly bound.
Their captors, elves, notice their captives have awakened, and Toruviel approaches them, aggressively. She makes some rather disparaging remarks about human musical abilities and breaks Dandelion's lute. She then proceeds to torment Geralt. The witcher, despite being bound, manages to knock her off her feet and pin her down. He then headbutts her, breaking her nose, and the elves draw blades.
They're stopped by the arrival on horseback of Filavandrel. The relief doesn't last long, though, for the bard and the witcher are tied to a pine tree with belts. Geralt and Torque both try to talk some sense into the elves' heads, but it's of no use. The elves tell Torque to get out of the way and aim their bows.
Fortunately, it's at this point that the Queen of the Fields makes a quite spectacular entrance. The elves halt, lower their weapons, and kneel before her. Filavandrel pleads with her, but while she doesn't say a word, she seems to be communicating with him telepathically. Meanwhile, Torque cuts free Geralt and Dandelion, the latter having fainted. When Torque asks Geralt what to do about the poet, Geralt suggests a few quick slaps about the face, which Torque happily obliges.
After a moment, the elves get up, silent, saddle their horses and start to leave. Filavandrel bids Geralt farewell, Toruviel gives Dandelion a new lute, and they part ways. Filavandrel tells Geralt that he has reconsidered and hopes that the witcher will not let him down when they inevitably meet on the fields of battle. Geralt assures him that he'll do his best.
The story ends with the witcher, the bard and the sylvan around a campfire, wondering where to go next, reading the villagers' book.
- Dana Méadbh
- village eldress
- The short story ends with the words "Goodnight," said the devil. It is a Polish idiom to say "where the devil says goodnight", referring to a place that's in the middle of nowhere, in other words, at the edge of the world.
The computer game, while not directly based on any of the short stories nor novels, includes some references to this short story:
- The lute Dandelion's seen playing in The Witcher (PC) is the lute Toruviel gave him in this story. Both the bard and the she-elf refer to this story in the game.
- In The Witcher (PC), it's possible to read a book called Physiologus, which gives, among others, the Bestiary-entry for Witchman. The entry quote comes from this short story.
- A d'yaebl aep arse, a curse in the Elder Speech introduced in this story, can be heard in The Witcher (PC).