The story follows two young Fernhachens, a race of ever-cheerful Zamonian people, as they venture into the newly-open-for-tourists Great Forest and come across all kinds of weird creatures, some friendly, some not so much.
The story is told by Hildegunst von Mythenmetz (known in English as Optimus Yarnspinner), who was in mentioned in The 13 ½ Lives of Captain Bluebear and then became the protagonist in The City of Dreaming Books. As usual, Walter Moers is just translating into German.
On occasion, whether it's appropriate to the story or not, Mythenmetz will chime in and stop the story dead in it's tracks to go ahead and just kind of talk about whatever he feels like. He calls these Mythenmetz'sche Abschweifungen.
The Great Forest is just filled with all of these tropes:
- Always Chaotic Evil: The troglotroll makes a come-back.
- Arc Words: Hexen stehen immer zwischen Birken!note
- Author Filibuster: The Mythenmetz'sche Abschweifungen. Taken to it's logical extreme when he fills an entire page with nothing but Brummli Brummli Brummli Brummli on repeat.
- Author Tract: In-Universe, Mythenmetz rants about the Zamonian education system.
- Ax-Crazy: Boris Boris, who likes to carry one around, just in case.
- Back from the Dead: The Spiderwitch.
- Big Bad: The Spiderwitch, who's Back from the Dead.
- Big Brother Instinct: Ensel is very protective of Krete and tries to keep a positive outlook the entire time (moreso than Fernhachens usually do).
- Big Damn Heroes: Boris Boris.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: The Sternenstauner.
- Body Horror: The witch's garden, where she turns the souls of those she killed into horrifying plant-animal-hybrids.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: So much that we are approaching there being No Fourth Wall.
- Caustic Critic: Laptantidel Latuda, if Mythenmetz is to be believed.
- Chekhov's Gun: A whole bunch are set up in the first Mythenmetz'sche Abschweifung although only the drawer full of raisins is fired.
- Also Boris Boris.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Oh yes, that's the Troglotroll!
- Complete Immortality: The Sternenstauner, although they bemoan the fact that they can't enjoy their immortality, as they are stuck to the ground and are suffering from The Fog of Ages and they may never know if they won't die someday anyway.
- Counting to Potato: Fernhachens count only in Zamonian mathematics which is based on the numbers one, two, three, four and then just continually doubling four (meaning 4, 8, 16, ).
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Boris Boris.
- The Cynic: A professor from the University of Gralsund named Humri Schiggsall has invented a new kind of super-pessimism based on a glass of water The argument goes as follows:Although this glass is now full, it will be empty once I drink it. That is depressing. If I don't drink it the water will evaporate. That is even more depressing.
- Once a student recommended just enjoying the moment, so Schiggsall replied that he was thirsty and threw the glass at the student who then had to be brought to the hospital.
- The Ditz: Boris Boris, who tried to eat the mushrooms linked to the Spiderwitch after which he went mad.
- Fantastic Racism: Mythenmetz voices his disdain about Zamonia issuing a general warning towards all species of witches.
- Fantastic Slurs: Du kannst mir mal die Schere spülen!note
- The Fog of Ages: The Sternenstauner are suffering from this, which is one of the reasons they aren't exactly happy with being immortal.
- Foreshadowing: Once the Spiderwitch is defeated, Boris remarks that there might be who-knows-what lurking underneath the Zamonian surface. This is explored in the next book, Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures.
- Immediate Sequel: Played with. From our perspective it could take place immediately after the end of Bluebear's tale, but In-Universe who knows when Mythenmetz wrote it.
- Immortality Immorality: The Sternenstauner, who request of Ensel and Krete that they sacrifice themselves to the Spiderwitch.
- Meta Fiction: Oh boy.
- Overly Long Gag: Brummli Brummli Brummli Brummli Brummli Brummli Brummli Brummli.
- Pet the Dog: For once, the troglotroll does a genuinely good thing when he helps Krete pull Ensel out of the meteor lake. He immediately goes back to his usual self afterwards, but still, for him, that's quite an achievement.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Mythenmetz feels very irritated about the firemen of the Great Forest being required to sing a four-line song on repeat, with what he feels are very poor rhymes.
- Mythenmetz also has a drawer full of green tea, which apparently makes him rhyme uncontrollably.
- Shout-Out: To many classic German Fairy Tales.
- Soul Eating: The Spiderwitch.
- Would Hurt a Child: The Spiderwitch. Not only would she do it, she actively enjoys sucking up a children's souls more than any other.