Story 1

Sam was a perfectly normal boy. He went to a perfectly normal school, lived with his perfectly normal parents and played with his perfectly normal friends.
However, under Sam’s bed lived a very strange and most unusual scary monster. Every night, before Sam went to sleep, he could hear it, growling and hissing. But, Mum and Dad just thought he was being silly!
“It’s real!” he cried one night, “it will eat me if I go back to bed!”
“There’s nothing there, Sam,” sighed Mum.
“…What does it look like?” asked Dad.
But Sam didn’t know what it looked like; he was too scared to peek under the bed.
“I don’t know,” he admitted.
“Exactly, that’s because there’s nothing there. Go on, back to bed with you,” Dad replied.
Defeated, Sam shuffled back to his room and curled up under his blankets. Why didn’t Mum and Dad believe him? The monster was quiet now, so Sam drifted off to sleep.
The next day, Sam went shopping with Mum and Dad, and he got to go to a toy shop! Sam loved going to the toy shop and playing with all of the toys – but one toy in particular caught his eye. ‘Furri-Lux, Your Friend in the Dark’, it said on the box. “What’s this?” asked Sam.
Mum picked up the box. “It’s some kind of monster toy,” she said.
“Oh,” replied Sam. He already had a scary monster under his bed, the last thing he needed was another one!
“It seems to be a nice monster though,” said Mum, as she saw how scared Sam looked, “one that fights off all the bad monsters! It has little bugs in its tummy that glow when it’s night time to scare away bad monsters, then it sleeps during the day.”
“Oh, okay,” Sam realised. ‘That doesn’t seem so bad!’ he thought to himself, a little more curious about the toy now.
“You have to look after it though, like a pet,” warned Mum.
“Cool!” said Sam excitedly. His very own monster pet, imagine that! Sam had never had a pet before. Suddenly this monster toy seemed like a great idea! Dad wandered over to them, “what have you got there?” he asked.
“This is Furri-Lux! He could help scare off the monster under my bed! Can I have him? Can I have him pleeeeeaaaase?” begged Sam.
“Hmmm, I don’t know,” said Dad. “Will you help me do the dishes?”
“Will you tidy your room?” asked Mum.
Mum and Dad looked at each other. “Okay,” they said, “but only if you’re good!”

Story 2

Sam was helping Dad with the washing up just like he promised. He couldn’t wait to play with Furri-Lux, though!
“How does he glow, Dad?” asked Sam, as he picked up Furri-Lux’s box.
Dad stood beside him and read over the instructions.
“You grow bacteria inside its tummy,” he replied.
“What’s that?” asked Sam.
“They are very, very small things, so small you can’t even see them unless you have a special microscope. There are good kinds of bacteria and nasty kinds, though. Do you remember how I always ask you to wash your hands before you have dinner or after you’ve been to the bathroom?”
Sam nodded.
“That’s because there are some bacteria that can make you very sick, they’re the nasty kind. So, we wash our hands to kill them with soap so that they can’t hurt us,” replied Dad.
Sam picked up the little tube of Furri-Lux’s bacteria. “Does that mean these bacteria are the good kind?”
“Well, they’re okay to look at through Furri-Lux’s tummy, but they’re still not good for our tummies. That’s why we still need to wash our hands with lots of soap after we feed Furri-Lux and take it to the toilet,” replied Dad.
“So what are the good bacteria then?” asked Sam.
“Well, they’re the ones in our tummy already! That’s where they live. They help you turn all the food you eat into energy to run around and play all day!” smiled Dad. “Hmmm, okay,” said Sam. He picked up a bottle of yellowy brown water called ‘Monster Food’.
“That’s what Furri-Lux’s bacteria need so that they can grow while it’s sleeping and glow nice and bright at night,” said Dad. He put on a pair of stretchy gloves, “you need to be very careful for this bit,” he warned Sam, “so I’ll do this for you.” He took the lid off of Furri-Lux’s Monster Food and then off of the frozen bacteria. Using a little tiny piece of wood, called a ‘toothpick’, Dad scraped a bit of bacteria out of the tube, then wiggled it around in the Monster Food. He had to be careful he only got Furri-Lux’s bacteria in the bottle or he might make the monster sick.
“Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see Furri-Lux glow tonight. It takes time for the bacteria to grow enough,” Dad told Sam, as he put the lid back on the bottles and put the bacteria back into the freezer. “We need to let Furri-Lux sleep for a while now, maybe he’ll glow tomorrow night,” Dad said, as he wrapped the Monster Food in a warm towel and put it high up out of the way.

That night, Sam was too busy thinking about how he would tell all of his friends about his new monster toy that he fell right asleep…

Story 3

Sam woke up early, excited to go to school and tell all his friends about his awesome monster toy!
Mum showed him how to feed Furri-Lux by pouring the bottle of Monster Food into his mouth watching it go down into his tummy.
“They’re still growing,” whispered Mum, as they watched the cloudy water swirl around, “Furri-Lux needs to be able to see the sun so he can sleep, just like how we need to be in the dark.”
“Will they grow bigger so I can see them without a microscope?” Sam asked with big eyes.
“No, they won’t get bigger, but there will be more of them. Bacteria are able to split down the middle and make more of themselves.”
“Can I do that too?”
‘How cool would that be?’ Sam thought. He imagined having another Sam around to play with when his friends weren’t home.
“Nope, that’s something special that only bacteria can do,” laughed Dad, “it would be fun though, wouldn’t it?”
“Yeah!” shouted Sam.
He looked at the bottle of Monster Food and imagined lots of little bacteria swimming around.
They washed their hands, and then Mum picked Furri-Lux up and sat him on Sam’s windowsill, where he watched over Sam’s bedroom as Sam went to school.

When Sam got home, he was very excited to see Furri-Lux glow, but it wasn’t quite dark yet, so he was still asleep. As the sun started to set, he kept checking back to see if he had woken up and was glowing yet. As he was putting his pyjamas on, Mum tried turning the light off to see him a little better – but still nothing!
“Maybe he needs a little bit of help to wake up,” suggested Mum, “just like you do in the morning! Go and give him a little shake.”
Sam picked Furri-Lux up and shook him gently.
“You have to do that so that all the little bacteria can get to the oxygen at the top so they can breathe,” whispered Mum.
Suddenly, Furri-Lux started to glow!
“Wow!” gasped Sam.
“Very pretty, isn’t it?” smiled Mum, “but Furri-Lux is awake now, which means it’s time for you to go to sleep.”
Sam climbed into bed and watched the bacteria swirl around, giving off a gentle glow, as he drifted off to sleep.

Story 4

A couple of days and nights passed, and Furri-Lux did such a good job of keeping the scary monster at bay that Sam started to forget all about it!
However, a few days after he first fed Furri-Lux, Sam was beginning to get ready for bed when he noticed his monster wasn’t glowing anymore. He gave him another little shake, but he still didn’t glow. Sam thought about shaking Furri-Lux again, but he didn’t want to hurt him. So, he left him on the windowsill and sat on his bed, sad that his friend hadn’t come to look after him that night. Mum came through to say goodnight.
“Mum, he’s not glowing…” Sam said sadly, while pointing at Furri-Lux.
“Hmmm…” replied Mum, “I think perhaps he just needs to go to the bathroom. Looks like his bacteria need freshening up!”
Sam followed Mum as she took Furri-Lux through to the bathroom. She took the monster’s cap off from the bottom of the toy and held him over the toilet, then pulled a little handle out of her pocket. Mum then put this handle into Furri-Lux’s side and turned it, until all of the bacteria dropped out into the toilet. She took some antibacterial solution and added that to the toilet, too.
“Why did you put that in there too, Mum?” asked Sam, a little confused.
“Remember how Dad told you that you need to wash your hands with lots of soap to kill all the bacteria? These bacteria might go out through the pipes and end up in the ocean or in a field, and we don’t know if they’ll hurt any plants or fish when they get there. So, we mix them with this antibacterial solution first to make sure they can’t hurt anything. They won’t survive if they’re not inside Furri-Lux, but we’re just making extra sure, just in case,” replied Mum.
She wiped the monster’s filter dry with some toilet paper then flushed it all away before closing the tap and putting the cap back on.
“He needs new bacteria now, Mum, should I go and get it out of the freezer?” asked Sam.
“No, it’s okay. There will be some bacteria still stuck to the insides. When you put some fresh Monster Food in there they’ll be able to grow again and fill it back up.” Mum handed a new bottle of Monster Food to Sam, who then poured it all into Furri-Lux’s tummy. They both washed their hands and then placed the monster back onto Sam’s windowsill.
“You’ll need to give the bacteria some time to grow again,” whispered Mum, “Furri-Lux will glow again soon.”
Sam snuggled up into bed as Mum kissed him goodnight. It felt nice to know his Friend in the Dark would be back to look out for him very soon!

Friends in the Dark

Little Sarah loves her Mom and Dad
But they haven’t helped her with the problem she has
When Mom turns off the light Sarah’s quite sad
For the monster’s growling sounds very bad
Sarah would never cry but, boy, is she glad
When the door opens, and there is her Dad
“You are driving me mad!” Sarah shouts in a fright
For her father is holding a monster alright
“Relax, sweetie! This guy won’t bite!
Think of it as more of a knight…”
“A knight?” Sarah is no longer standing upright
Her dad brings it closer and it looks rather polite
“You shake it a bit and its tummy glows bright!”
Sarah thinks to herself, what a wonderful light
“It doesn’t look like a knight!” Sarah says in the end
With fuzzy fur and tiny horns somehow it looks like a friend
“What is its name?” Sarah asks content
“Furri-Lux, a monster on which you can depend”
“I love it Dad, it’s my new very best friend!”
“Tomorrow you’ll tell me about all the adventures you had!”


Bower Building, Wilkins Teaching Laboratory
University of Glasgow
University Avenue
G12 8QQ

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