Ahh, that's better...

Bamboozled from the latest leg of my zig-zagging Google search, fruitlessly probing the so-far barren boundaries of boolean logic, I stumbled here, what appears as a welcome rest-stop in a comfy chair, to take a break for 10 minutes and ask a real question, to real folks, and I hope you'll be able to help me in my quest :-)

I'm searching for a children's short fantasy paperback I read at school that I'd like to read again (the usual situation), and for which I only have a few scant details my memory is (fairly) certain of.

The general story was told in the first person, through the eyes of a young boy who went exploring away from his family for some reason, and slipped and fell (I think) in a cave next to a stream or some other body of water. What followed was a fantastic episode in another world inhabited by what appeared to be other children, who were all engaged in exciting adventures that the main character was invited to join in.

Certain points I remember:

A lot of time appeared to pass in the world, days were interspersed with periods of sleep; sleeping was necessary, but only for a few minutes - you take a pill or lay on a special pillow, and you'd wake up completely refreshed in about 5 minutes.

They were able to fly using a contraption that I think they hung onto and steered by shifting their weight, I imagined a giant paper plane at this point, but I could be wrong.

Either way, the leading child in the new land showing the main character about is called Dindo, and he explains all the rules and keeps the boy safe and entertained. Dindo is a great pilot, and shows the boy his first lessons by throwing himself off a high ledge where the boy is compelled to follow...

All was well until the boy was injured when he had an accident, and Dindo told him he'd have to go back to his own world as they couldn't fix him in this world.

The only problem would be that he'd have to be given something to make sure he didn't remember where he'd been or how he'd gotten there - and whilst the boy started to protest, he found that he was starting to forget the names of those in front of him.

Back in the real world, the boy is found and taken home: he'd been missing for several hours (or was it even a couple of days?), was found unconscious and soaked, can't remember anything of when he was missing.

Trying to help, a doctor suggests to his parents that he keeps a dream journal to try and recall any details he might be suppressing, though as the boy remembers certain things he decides for some reason to keep two journals, one to give to his parents that would contain innocuous dreams, and one for himself in which he writes his actual recollections.

One of the passages he scrawls in his journal after a particularly vivid dream is 'Window goes over the edge...', but when he reads it in the morning it makes little sense to him.

The nights continue in the same way for some time, until at some point he recognized the initial W looks more like a D, and the dammed up memories flood back into his wakeful mind.

The story ends with the boy returning to the spot where he fell, calling Dindo to take him back but getting no answer from the water.

Strange story, I'd really like to read it again. I've probably built it up so much in my mind that it feels like an epic novel for the impression it left on me but the reality is likely to be somewhat diminutive - though the gratitude I'd have for any help in finding it would be more the former than the latter!

Thank you for your time once again.

  • 1
    Yessss, pander to us geeks, PANDER!!
    – Möoz
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 2:26
  • I mean, welcome to SFF, good luck on your quest.
    – Möoz
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 2:27
  • 2
    Also, when was "at school"? Was it last year? 5 years ago? 10? 45?
    – Möoz
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 2:33
  • 1
    Thanks Mooz! Gotta pander to the people, the people got the power - erm, answers... hopefully. Wow, I need sleep! This must have been about 25 years ago, the library had a range of books from various eras but I got the impression in was a 'recent' publication, i.e. 1970's or 80's.
    – James Dodd
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 2:43

1 Answer 1


I know this book! A birthday present about 36 years ago and still a favourite.. it is Under Plum Lake by Lionel Davidson, who also wrote as David Line. Looks like it was reissued a few years ago by Reinkarnation. The character from the undersea world is called Dido and the book does somehow have a strange and slightly eerie tone.

A young boy, Barry, explores a cave on the Cornwall coast and discovers a highly advanced subterranean civilization called Egon. Located somewhere deep beneath Earth's oceans, Egon is unknown and inaccessible to humans unless an Egonian chooses to bring them there. On all such occasions, the human being's memories of Egon are erased and replaced with false memories before being returned to the surface.

  • Pixy! You found it! What a fantastic read, I remembered a lot, and yet, like Barry in the story, I couldn't quite piece it all together to find it. Thank you thank you thank you, so much! This has ticked off a pretty big box from my childhood - on to the next one when I remember it! Love to all and everyone here, thanks again :-)
    – James Dodd
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 23:16

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