Last year, Old Sam’s Inktober adventure began with two petrified gargoyles atop a mountain in The Forest of Woods. In the mountain follows an enthusiastic reunion with Madame Madeleine and Old Sam has a special encounter with Victoria Bat. She is the queen of a people of water bats, all of whom are mysteriously petrified.
On the mountain, they meet Emilia Hedgehog and Alberta Eagle guarding a nest of eggs with water flies. Eggs that mysteriously disappear. Then our friends meet Armando Armadillo, a private investigator who manages to tell them that a gate has been opened to Almaos, a world in another dimension. As a result, strange things happen on both worlds.
In search of answers, they meet a Water Fairy and a naughty dog in a black hole, who guards a pile of magic books. That naughty dog turns out to be Pallandor, a sorcerer’s apprentice on Almaos who inadvertently set in motion a whole series of events. Thus, a demon on Almaos was given free rein. That demon wants to petrify our world and have all life on Almaos destroyed by water.
Fortunately, good forces are also at work on Almaos. A wanderlust lady named Sally and Panlor, a Water Dragon manage to bring the eggs back to our world with water flies. Together with Old Sam and his friends, they manage to restore the balance between our two worlds. All’s well that ends well. Time for celebration.
The next morning after the party, everyone says goodbye to each other and Old Sam and Josefien also continue their way. They still want to go back to Old Sam’s forest and soon they leave the High Trees Forest and The Land of the Water Creatures behind. A beautiful view awaits them. Green fields full of daisies, as far as the eye can see. A beautiful blue sky with white clouds here and there. Birds chirp through the air. The sunlight dances around them.
‘It’s nice to see something different than all those tall trees and those dark caves’, says Old Sam.
‘Yes,’ says Josefien, ‘finally blue sky and sun again. It will take a while before we encounter the green of your forest. Let’s enjoy this trip.’
Sam nods and together they continue their way along winding paths through the meadows. Every now and then they stop to take a cat nap. At night they snuggle up to each other to stay warm. During the day they tell each other good stories while walking and enjoy each other’s company. They are so absorbed that they do not realize that they have been followed by a mysterious cloud for a while. What is striking is that they see less sun.
“I think that cloud is holding the sun back,” Josefien says, giving Old Sam a cup.
The moment she says that, the cloud suddenly moves very quickly in their direction. Old Sam and Josefien stiffen in fright. The cloud comes to a stop right in front of them and holds out a hand containing an envelope. Carefully, Old Sam takes the envelope from the cloud hand. His name is written on the front. The cloud hand gestures and Old Sam opens it.
A long sigh of wind escapes from the envelope and then, in an elongated tone, the word “Dreammmmm” sounds. It slowly gets dark and Old Sam and Josefien just fall asleep. The cloud slowly creeps over them like a blanket, further and further..
Slowly, the sound of the word “Dreammmmm” ebbs out of the envelope. The cloud surrounds Old Sam and Josefien as if in a cocoon. Then the cloud blows on the fingers of his cloud hand. A whooshing and whistling sound sounds. The cloud blows again.
Another cloud rushes in and comes to a stop above the cloud cocoon. Suddenly there is movement at the bottom of the new cloud. Threads of water appear. With all kinds of little spiders attached. Their body in the shape of a heart. With 6 legs with hands in the shape of a heart. You rarely find such cute-looking spiders.
The heart spiders weave the threads of water. They are getting longer and longer. They continue until they reach the cloud cocoon with Old Sam and Josefien. One of the spiders is a bit larger and wears a crown and has a scepter in her hand. That too ends in a heart. Who would that be?
“Glad you’re here, Queen Spiderheartttt,” sighs the Cloud Cocoon.
‘It’s great that we managed to get hold of these two’, Queen Spiderheart beams, ‘you did a great job, Cloud Cocoon’.
“Yesaaaaaaa,” sighs the Cloud Cocoon, “we had to wait a long time but now we have zzzzzzze.”
‘Why did you call us?’, asks Queen Spiderheart.
“They’re too heavy for me to lift up and bring up,” the cloud cocoon sighs.
‘We can solve that problem’, says Queen Spiderheart.
She makes a gesture to the hearts. They immediately go to work and attach the wires of water to the cloud cocoon. Then they quickly climb back up.
“Bring it in,” Queen Heart Spider shouts, waving her little scepter upwards. A stream of hearts surrounds the threads of water that slowly shorten. For example, the Cloud Cocoon containing Old Sam and Josefien is lifted upwards. Until the cocoon has completely disappeared into the cloud of the heart spiders.
‘So,’ says Queen Spiderheart, ‘it worked out nicely. Let’s travel on immediately before we’re late.’
The people of the hearts immediately go to work. A mast is hoisted and a beautiful sail is spun. A breath of wind makes the cloud move slowly. She glides through the air. With a crew of hearts. With Old Sam and Josefien as guests on board, still covered by the Cloud Cocoon. On her way to her destination.
Queen Spiderheart is also still on the Cloud Cocoon. She waves her scepter and taps Old Sam’s forehead first and then Josefien’s. A heart appears. A heart that grows. It looks like a balloon. Until it suddenly snaps and disintegrates into 1000 splashes of water. Old Sam and Josefien wake up gasping for breath. The first thing they see are spiders. Lots of spiders. Spiders that all look at them very seriously. As if they are a tasty snack. Josefien lets out a loud cry and Old Sam jumps in front of her with clenched fists.
“Leave us alone,” he shouts. The spiders are silent but all come a step closer.
Old Sam looks around. He and Josefien are surrounded by spiders. He has no idea where they are. They just walked through green meadows with daisies and now the whole world is white. Cloud white. A cloud-white world that also swells. He has to make an effort to keep his balance. When he looks up, he sees a sail. A large sail of spun spider silk. It looks like they are on a ship but he has no idea how he and Josefien ended up here.
The last thing he remembers is that suddenly a cloud came towards them. A cloud handed an envelope to him, and when he opened it, a sound came out. A word was said. From that moment on, he doesn’t know anything. As if they fell into a very deep sleep and were taken somewhere else.
The spiders no longer move. They look at Old Sam and Josefien silently. Then the sound of tapping sounds. It’s like someone hitting the ground with a stick.
“Make room, make room,” it suddenly sounds.
The spiders make way and a path is created. At the end of the path is a special appearance. It is the queen of the heart spiders. She stands there with her crown on it and the stick with which she just tapped the ground is her scepter. Slowly, she walks forward.
“You don’t have to be afraid,” she tells Old Sam, “we’re not doing you any harm.”
All the heart spiders nod and look at Old Sam and Josefien with wide eyes.
“On the contrary,” says the queen, “we even need your help.”
“Well,” Old Sam grumbles, “you have a special way of asking for help.”
He and Josefien look around suspiciously. The Queen can say that they have no evil in mind, but is that really the case?
“Take a step back,” the queen of hearts tells her people, “I understand that you think it’s very special that we found Old Sam and Josefien, but you have to give them a little space.”
Reluctantly, the spiders take a step back. It gives Old Sam and Josefien the opportunity to take a good look around. Up close, they couldn’t see what the spiders look like at all. Everyone always thinks spiders are scary. But these spiders do look sweet with their body and paws in the shape of a heart in the same shape.
“Wait,” exclaims Josefien, “how do you know our names?”
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “and who are you?”
“I am Queen Spider Heart and I live with my people in this cloud world. My sister lives on your world, in the Mother Tree. I told her about the great danger that threatens our world and she told me how you, Old Sam, saved her world. That’s why we’re looking for you, Old Sam, only you can save us.
There they are, Old Sam and Josefien. On a ship of clouds, surrounded by countless heart spiders, face to face with Queen Spider Heart. Who needs his help and knows who they are. A thousand questions at once shoot through their heads. How do they get here, who are these heart spiders, why do they need his help, what is the danger that threatens them.
Josefien interrupts his stream of thought when she says in a prickly way: ‘Well, you could have asked that normally’.
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “we probably would have gone with you too.”
“We couldn’t take that risk,” says Queen Spider Heart, “our enemies are lurking and you were about to be ambushed.”
‘An ambush’, says Josefien, ‘I don’t believe that at all’.
“No,” says Old Sam, “I don’t believe that either. It was a bright day and there was nothing or no one to be seen in fields or roads.’
Queen Spider Heart looks at the pair.
“It’s true that you felt that nothing was wrong. That’s because you’re mostly looking around you and not up.’
Old Sam and Josefien look at each other.
‘That’s not entirely true’, says Josefien, ‘we did see the cloud that came to bring us the envelope’.
‘That’s right,’ says Queen Spider Heart, ‘but you didn’t see it until the cloud flew in front of the sun. That was the only way to get your attention.’
“That’s true,” Old Sam says.
‘What was in that envelope?’ asks Josefien.
‘That was dream wind’, says Queen Spider Heart, ‘it makes you sleep very well’.
“Well, we’ve noticed,” Josefien says, stretching like only a cat can.
“But we still don’t know why you didn’t just ask us to come on board,” Old Sam says, “what kind of ambush was waiting for us?”
Queen Spider Heart clears her throat and looks at Old Sam and Josefien.
“What you didn’t see was the dark cloud that was after you. In those clouds dwell evil spirits. They want to kidnap you to prevent you from helping us. We had to act quickly because you hadn’t been able to dodge them much longer and that had been a real problem.
Old Sam and Josefien look at each other. A dark cloud in which evil spirits live and who were about to kidnap them. A cloud world that is in danger And where cloud ships sail around with heart spiders. What kind of adventure they have now found themselves in again.
“Then what is that danger that threatens your world?” asks Josefien.
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “and why am I the one you have to help?”
Queen Spider Heart clears her throat.
“I’d like to tell you,” she says, “but I think it’s better to wait until we get to our destination.”
‘Why is it better to wait?’, Josefien asks, ‘you can tell us now.’
‘We are currently on our way to a special place where everyone from the cloud world comes together for an important meeting’, says Queen Spider Heart, I think it is better that we all explain the danger that threatens our world.’
“Okay,” Old Sam says, but where are we headed?”
Queen Spider Heart gives a nod to a group of heart spiders. They trip away only to return a moment later with a rolled-up piece of paper. They put the paper in front of Queen Spider Heart’s feet and roll it out. A map will appear. A map of the world of Old Sam. During the roll-out, small clouds also appear. The clouds remain just above the map.
Then the paper in the middle also starts to move. The mountain drawn there rises from the paper.
“Wow,” says Josefien, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“No,” Old Sam says, “neither do I.”
Mesmerized, they continue to look at the map and watch a whole world unfold.
“Look,” old Sam says, “there’s my forest. With my tree growing out of my tail in my very first adventure.’
They watch Old Sam’s forest unfold on the map. But not just Old Sam’s forest. Also Ravenland and The Castle of Lost Time where Madame Madeleine lives. They also see The Misty Land where they once rescued Elly. In that adventure, Old Sam met Josefien and since that time they have been inseparable and travel around together.
Then something else unfolds on the map. Something that moves.
‘Look,’ says Queen Spider Heart, ’there is the cloudship we are on now.’
Old Sam and Josefien look and suddenly see other things moving. Things that come their way very quickly.
Oude Sam en Josefien bevinden zich op een wolkenschip in het gezelschap van Koningin Hartenspin en haar volk. Ze zijn ontsnapt aan donkere wolken met kwade geesten die op het punt stonden om Oude Sam en Josefien te ontvoeren. Nu zijn ze onderweg naar een vergadering waar iedereen uit de wolkenwereld samenkomt. Daar horen ze welk gevaar deze wereld bedreigt en waarom hun hulp nodig is. Waar die plek is wil koningin hartenspin laten zien op een magische kaart. Waar het schip waar ze op zitten ook over de kaart zweeft. Maar niet alleen hun schip..
‘Wat is dat?’, vraagt Josefien en ze wijst naar een donkere wolk die zich ook over de kaart voortbeweegt.
‘Dat is de wolk met de kwade geesten die jullie willen ontvoeren’, zegt koningin Hartenspin.
De donkere wolk beweegt zich in dezelfde richting als het wolkenschip van koningin Hartenspin.
‘Ze achtervolgen ons’, zegt Oude Sam.
‘Ja’, zegt Koningin Hartenspin, ‘we zijn ze nog niet kwijt. Maar hulp is onderweg.’
Ze knikt even naar de hartenspinnen die de kaart hebben uitgerold. Die pakken de randen van de kaart vast en schudden met het papier. Er komen nog meer wolken los op allerlei plekken op de kaart. Wolken met de prachtigste vormen.
Uit Ravenland stijgt een wolk in de vorm van een vogel op die een duikboot voorttrekt. Uit Het Woeste Waterland stijgt een heel eiland op met allemaal bijzondere gebouwen. Uit Het Kasteel van de Verloren Tijd komt een prachtige koets tevoorschijn die wordt voortgetrokken door een vlinder.
Dan klinkt een kakelend geluid op uit het land van de mistige wezens. Langzaam worden ook de contouren van een groot schip zichtbaar.
‘Luister’, zegt Oude Sam, ‘het is net of ik Iezo de Papegaai hoor.’
‘Wie is dat?’, vraagt Josefien.
Iezo de Papegaai is scheepsmaatje op het schip van Kapitein Roodbeen’, zegt Oude Sam.
‘Oh ja’, zegt Josefien, ‘het schip dat permanent op huwelijksreis is met Elly en Clifford Kikker. Wat bijzonder dat daar ook een wolkenvariant van bestaat.’
‘Er zijn parallellen tussen onze wereld en die van jullie’, zegt Koningin Hartenspin, ‘maar ook heel veel verschillen. Het is voor de meeste wolken wel zo makkelijk om een vorm te kiezen die al bestaat op de plek waar ze rondzweven. Dat gebeurt heel vaak. Let er maar eens op. Dit schip lijkt inderdaad op die van Kapitein Roodbeen en Iezo de Papegaai maar het is wel een wolkenschip. Het zou raar zijn als zij echt aan boord zijn.’
‘Ja’, zegt Josefien, ‘het is altijd wel bijzonder hoe wolken ergens op kunnen lijken.’
‘Wie er ook aan boord is’, zegt Oude Sam, ‘de vraag is hoe zij kunnen helpen om onze achtervolgers kwijt te raken.
‘Daar hebben we een beetje magie bij nodig’, zegt koningin Hartenspin terwijl ze met haar scepter over de kaart zwaait en een regen van gouden glitters laat verschijnen..
Old Sam and Josefien watch as Queen Hearts Spider with her scepter makes a shower of golden glitter appear over the magical map of the cloud world. The glitters spread and dance through the air towards the cloudships they then cling to.
‘Why do they do that?’ asks Josefien.
“Wait and see,” says Queen Spider Heart.
All cloudships are now completely enveloped by a layer of gold glitter at the bottom. They move slowly towards the dark cloud that haunts them.
“It seems like they’re going to fly higher and higher,” says the Old Sam.
‘They do,’ says Queen Spider Heart, ‘just watch what happens next.’
Our friends see how all the cloudships are now flying higher than the dark cloud. He doesn’t seem to notice anything and keeps flying in the direction of their ship. Then the golden glitters slowly begin to detach themselves from each cloudship. They no longer do this as loose glitters, but together they take on a new form.
“They look like tears,” Old Sam says.
As he says that, we see tears of golden glitter slowly drip down. The first tear hits the top of the dark cloud that haunts them. Then the second. And the third. And then even more. It’s going to be a rain of tears. Every tear sinks a little into the cloud cover. It starts to rumble In the dark cloud.
“It’s like a thunderstorm,” Josefien says.
“It is,” says Queen Spider Heart, “now you can see what happens in clouds when it thunders on your world.”
Old Sam and Josefien look on mesmerized. Suddenly they see a flap being thrown open in the middle of the cloud cover. A procession of small black cloud creatures work their way out, tripping over each other. They all have a Ninja mask on. Then they form a group with each other. As soon as their feet start moving and they start running, a loud thunder sounds.
They move around like crazy, flying from one side of the cloud to the other and trying to grab the droplets and prevent them from hitting the cloud cover. In turn, the droplets try to avoid the small black cloud creatures. That doesn’t always work. The moment the cloud creatures catch a drop, they turn it into a lightning bolt. And so the dark cloud thunders and lightnings slowly on.
But there are too many. The cloud creatures can’t handle it and the drops of golden glitter cause the cloud to get heavier and heavier.
‘It seems as if they are going to fly lower and lower’, says Josefien, ’they will hit us later.
“Indeed,” exclaims Old Sam, “this is not going to be okay.
He puts his arm around Josefien as the dark cloud sinks further and further and comes their way.
Old Sam and Josefien are on Queen Spider Heart’s cloudship. They are haunted by a dark cloud that is getting heavier and heavier due to a rain of golden glitter tears. The cloud protests violently and it thunders and it lightnings through the small cloud creatures who try with all their might to prevent the golden glitter tears from sinking into the cloud cover. Meanwhile, the cloud is getting closer and closer and a collision does not seem to occur.
Old Sam put his arm around Josefien.
“Do something,” he shouts to Queen Spider Heart, “we’ll be hit and they’ll catch us.”
Queen Spider Heart is already busy with her people. They weave a web In the shape of an umbrella. The lightning bolts that are getting closer and closer are thus ricocheted off the shield that protects them.
Then the dark cloud skims over them. The cloud has become too heavy and the black cloud creatures seem to have lost the battle. The cloud takes a nosedive to the ground and the group of black cloud creatures falls apart with a loud thunder. As soon as each creature touches the ground, it turns into a black muddy drop of water. Together they form a puddle of the dirtiest water imaginable. The smell of mud and sulfur fills the air.
“Wow,” Josefien shouts, waving her paw in front of her, “I’ve never smelled anything so dirty.”
Old Sam rolls his eyes.
“Help,” he shouts, “I’m getting dizzy.”
Before anyone can do anything, Old Sam sinks through his paws. The heart spiders run across the cloudship in panic. Queen Spider Heart looks around with wide eyes.
“What’s the matter with Old Sam?”, she exclaims.
Josefien has now rushed to Old Sam. She wants to grab him but at the last moment she stops her movement. The heart spiders approach the pair, but Josefien suddenly stands proudly upright.
“Stop!”, she shouts very loudly, “don’t touch Old Sam.”
Everyone on the ship is startled and stands still.
“Why can’t we touch Old Sam?”, exclaims Queen Spider Heart, “we must help him.”
Josefien shakes her head.
“No,” she says, “we don’t have to help Old Sam. I think the smell of this smelly mud puddle made Old Sam dizzy. I suspect he has a vision now. He often has that when he’s dizzy.’
Everyone looks on tensely. Then they see Old Sam slowly wake up again and open his eyes.
“I had an encounter with a toad,” he says, “a very ugly toad and bringer of bad news.”
Everyone is looking at Old Sam with open mouths. They have just escaped the dark cloud that haunted them. With the help of all the other ships, they dropped a shower of golden drops on the dark cloud. It became so heavy that it could no longer stay in the air. Even the cloud creatures with their thunder and lightning could not prevent that calamity. The dark cloud fell apart and became a big smelly mud puddle on the ground.
The smell of the mud puddle caused Old Sam to become dizzy and have a vision. A vision of a very ugly toad and bringer of bad news.
‘A very ugly toad?’, says Josefien.
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “a very ugly toad. He was very big and was covered in all kinds of ugly places.’
‘Ieuw,’ says Josefien, ’that doesn’t sound very attractive indeed.’
“No,” says Old Sam, “he wasn’t. But he couldn’t do anything about it, he became like that because of the mischief that threatens this world.’
“Oh,” exclaims Josefien, “do you know what mischief that is?”
“No, not that,” Old Sam says, “but I’ve seen what this toad looks like and if that’s all in store for us.” brrr, I don’t have to think about it.’
‘What did he tell you during your meeting?’, Josefien asks and looks at him curiously.
The people of the heart spiders gather around them. They are also curious, as is Queen Spider Heart.
“Tell me,” she says, “I want to hear the rest about your vision too.”
Old Sam clears his throat and begins to tell.
“This toad ran back and forth in a dark room. It smelled as bad as it did just above the mud puddle. It seemed as if he was waiting for me because he welcomed me and invited me to sit down. When I did, he sat down himself, in an old-fashioned leather armchair. He began to speak, but I could not understand everything in my vision.’
‘Why couldn’t you understand everything?’ asks Josefien.
“Some of the words were in a different language,” says Old Sam.
‘Mm’, says Queen Spider Heart, ‘did the toad also say its name?’.
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “his name is Pedro.”
“Ai ai ai,” exclaims Queen Spider Heart, “I think you met Pedro Toad.”
That name makes all the heart spiders jump up and bounce around like crazy.
Old Sam had a vision. A vision in which he met a toad that seemed to await him. Old Sam didn’t understand everything he said. Some words were in another language. He knows what the toad is called. A name that Queen Hearts Spider recognizes. A name that makes her say ai ai ai and all the heart spiders bounce around like crazy.
“Pedro Toad,” Old Sam repeats.
‘Who is that?’, Josefien asks.
“And why do the heart spiders bounce around so much when they hear that name,” says Old Sam.
Queen Spider Heart swings her scepter around and urges the heart spiders to calm down.
“Calm down,” she says, “I’m also glad Pedro is sending us a message like this.”
“Do you know Pedro?”, Old Sam asks.
“Yes,” says Queen Spider Heart, “I am very glad that you saw him in a vision. That means he’s still alive.’
“I think you should tell us a little more,” Old Sam says.
‘Yes,’ says Josefien, ‘I’m very curious about that story.’
“Come sit down,” says Queen Spider Heart, “I’ll tell you in a minute. But first we have to let our ship sail again. Come spider hearts, hoist the sails and light the anchor.’
Queen Spider Heart puts all the heart spiders to work and slowly the ship starts moving again. She waves to the other cloudships and they sail on as well. They leave the smelly mud pool with the disintegrated black cloud creatures behind.
‘Can the dark cloud do no more harm like this?’, Josefien asks.
‘Not for the time being,’ says Queen Spider Heart, ‘and I hope that we will be very far away if they manage to become a dark cloud again.
“I hope so too,” says Old Sam, “all that thunder and lightning to stop them was a little too much for me.”
“I don’t know if we can do that again to stop them that way,” says Queen Spider Heart, “so let’s hope we don’t run into them again.”
She sits down and gets ready to tell the story of Pedro Toad. Old Sam and Josefien sit down with her and the heart spiders gather around them.
“Now let me tell you about Pedro Toad,” she says, “he was the most handsome in all of Toadland, and the son of the Toad King. But Pedro wanted to make his own fortune and went on an adventure. Until one day the news came that something bad had happened to him and he seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth.
The fleet of cloudships has started moving again. They have left the dark cloud that has become a mud puddle behind them. Now Queen Spider Heart has time to tell the story of Pedro Toad to Old Sam and Josefien. A toad that was once the most beautiful in the country and wanted to make its own fortune but disappeared during its journey. The Pedro Toad that Old Sam met in his vision is very huge. What would have happened to him on his journey..
“Do you know what happened to him?” asks Josefien.
‘No,’ says Queen Spider Heart, ’that is a great mystery. That’s why I hope Old Sam heard more in his vision.”
Josefien turns to Old Sam.
“Tell me,” she tells him, “did Pedro tell you what happened to him?”
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “he told me what happened to him. Although I couldn’t understand some words very well, so it was sometimes a muddled story.’
‘Perhaps because Pedro was last seen in Lake Land, says Queen Spider Heart, ‘at the Spanish Word Waterfalls.’
‘oh,’ says Josefien, ‘I’ve heard of that. If you walk under that, your words will get confused.’
“Your words are confused,” Old Sam says, “well, that’s right with how Pedro tried to tell me his story.”
“Tell me,” says Queen Spider Heart, “we have always wondered how Pedro ended up at Spanish Word Waterfalls. He knew it wasn’t safe there.’
“I don’t think Pedro knew where he was,” Old Sam says, “at least that’s what he told me.”
“How could he not know where he was,” Josefien says.
‘Yes,’ says Queen Spider Heart, ’that’s weird. Pedro knows this environment very well.’
“Pedro was enchanted,” Old Sam says.
“Enchanted,” everyone exclaims in unison.
“Yes, enchanted,” says Old Sam.
‘By whom?’ asks Queen Spider Heart.
“Through the same dark cloud that haunted us,” says Old Sam, “in it lives a very evil spirit who, together with his cloud beings, wants to destroy everything that is beautiful in our world. That spirit enchanted Pedro and made Pedro unable to see properly. As a result, he went wandering and the evil spirit knew that Pedro Toad can no longer help the world to make it more beautiful.
What an adventure. An encounter with Pedro Toad who is enchanted by an evil spirit. A spirit that wants to destroy everything beautiful in our world. A ghost who lives in the dark cloud that haunted them and that they could only just defeat. Because of the spell of that evil spirit, Pedro Toad has gone astray and ended up under Spanish Word Waterfalls. Therefore, Old Sam could not understand everything he said because his words were confused.
‘What happened at the Spanish Word Waterfalls?’, asks Queen Spider Heart.
“What I could tell from his story,” Old Sam begins, “is that he got all confused and got lost under the waterfall. By chance he stumbled upon a dark cave and decided to hide there.’
‘How good’, says Queen Spider Heart, ‘at least now we know that he is still alive and safe.’
‘What I think is crazy’, says Josefien, that he has grown so big.’
She looks at Old Sam.
“Was that part of the spell?”, she asks.
“I don’t think the bad spirit of the dark cloud can do that at all,” says Queen Spider Heart, “at least not that way.”
“That’s right,” says Old Sam, “there’s another reason why he became like this.”
‘Tell me,’ says Josefien, ‘I’m very curious.’
“That’s because of the place where he went to hide,” says Old Sam, “very special things were brought there.”
‘In the cave?’, Josefien asks, ‘who brought things there?’
“The Spanish Word Waterfalls,” says Old Sam.
“Oh well, of course,” exclaims Queen Spider Heart, “The Spanish Word Waterfalls also take a lot of chatter cockles with them.”
“Chatter cockles,” Josefien says with furrowed brows, “I’ve never heard of that. Cockles, they are very tasty with a spicy sauce.’
“These are other cockles,” says Queen Spider Heart, “these chat all day long, and with the help of a little acid rain, they attach themselves to everything that lives and moves.”
‘The dark cloud must have caused that acid rain,’ says Josefien, ‘what a sad thing that is. Poor Pedro, no wonder he hasn’t shown himself again.’
“That’s not the reason,” says Old Sam, “because the chatter cockles are now stuck on Pedro, he can’t leave the cave. Thus, the dark cloud has ensured that he is not bothered by Pedro and that he cannot help to save this world.
Pedro Toad is locked in a cave at Spanish Word Waterfalls. He can’t get out because he’s covered in chatter cockles. They have fixed themselves on his body with the help of the acid rain from the dark cloud. Thus, the evil spirit has prevented Pedro Toad from helping to save this world. What should our friends do now..
“We have to go and free him,” Josefien exclaims.
“We certainly have to,” says Old Sam, “I don’t know how yet, but Pedro plays an important role in saving this world.”
“I am sending our fleet of cloud ships to Spanish Word Waterfalls,” says Queen Spider Heart, “there is no point in going to our important meeting without Pedro Toad.
She gestures to the heart spiders to change course. They also signal the other cloud ships. Slowly, the fleet changes course. On the way to The Spanish Word Waterfalls in Lake Land.
“Is this a convenient route?”, Old Sam asks.
‘How so?’, Josefien asks.
“I think we’ll get over The Misty Land in a minute,” Old Sam said
‘Yes,’ says Queen Spider Heart, ‘but there is no other way. If we have to fly around it, we lose too much valuable time.’
‘That’s where the Misty Creatures live,’ says Josefien, ’they’re dangerous, aren’t they?’
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “that’s why I don’t like the idea of flying over The Misty Land.”
‘What can happen?’, says Queen Spider Heart, ‘we are flying high in the air here. I don’t think they see us at all.’
“I hope not,” says Old Sam, “I don’t want to meet the misty creatures that live there again.”
“No,” says Josefien, “you told me that the misty creatures like to make things disappear. I don’t want to get lost in the fog forever.’
“Let’s just be careful,” says Queen Spider Heart, “and pay attention.”
Old Sam nods. There’s nothing else on it.
“Let’s make good use of our travel time,” he says, “we also have to come up with a plan to save Pedro from the cave.”
Old Sam and Josefien sit down on the deck of the cloud ship. Queen Spider Heart looks around for a moment but then sits down. Soon they are busy talking and no one is paying attention to what is happening around them. So they don’t see that something big is suddenly rising on the horizon.
The fleet of cloud ships has changed its course and is now on its way to Spanish Word Waterfalls. There Pedro Toad is locked in a cave. He can’t get out because he’s covered in chatter cockles. He’s too big to go out through the opening. Now they have to sail over The Misty Land with their cloud ship. The misty creatures that live there like to make things disappear. No one wants to get lost in the fog, looking for the things that have been lost. So they have to pay attention, but they also have to come up with a plan to free Pedro. And they don’t see that something big is rising on the horizon.
‘How do we get the chatter cockles to let Pedro go?’, Josefien asks.
‘We need a magic potion for that’, says Queen Spider Heart.
“Where do we get it?”, Old Sam asks.
‘Yes,’ says Josefien, ‘where do we get it? We’re on a cloud ship and I haven’t seen a potion shop on board.’
Everyone laughs at the thought of a potion shop on a cloud ship.
‘That would be useful’, says Queen Spider Heart, ‘but I’m afraid we really have to pick it up on the way.’
‘Where then?’, Josefien asks.
‘In a very special place’, says Queen Spider Heart, ‘a dear friend of ours has to help with that.’
Old Sam and Josefien look at Queen Spider Heart curiously.
‘Who is that?’, Josefien asks.
“I don’t think you know her,” says Queen Spider Heart, “although it is an imposing sight.”
Now Old Sam and Josefien have become completely curious. Who is that imposing apparition that is supposed to help them get a potion to help Pedro escape. And where is that special place that Queen Spider Heart is talking about. They are so busy that they don’t notice that something big on the horizon is getting closer and closer. Until all the heart spiders start jumping up and down nervously.
“What are they doing?”, Old Sam exclaims.
‘Yes,’ says Josefien, ‘what are they bothered by?’
Queen Spider Heart holds sway around.
“Silence,” she shouts, “otherwise I can’t understand what you’re saying.”
Then she gestures to one of the heart spiders to get closer. It chatters a bit in her ear and that causes Queen Spider Heart to jump up. Old Sam and Josefien jump up in fright.
“Hold on tight,” the queen shouts as a large castle looms just in front of the fleet of cloud shells…
Old Sam and Josefien are aboard Queen Heart Spider’s cloud ship. The ship is part of a whole fleet of cloud ships. Together they are on their way to The Spanish Word Waterfalls to free Pedro Toad. For that, they need a potion. A dear friend should help with that. A special appearance that Queen Heart Spider thinks they don’t know. They were so busy talking that they didn’t notice that the cloud ship was heading for something big. A special castle with all black cats in the window. And a white cat. A collision with the castle seems unavoidable.
“Hold on tight,” Queen Heart Spider shouts again, “and brace yourself.”
“Oh dear,” Josefien exclaims, squeezing the first one she can grab very hard.
“Ouch,” Old Sam shouts, “don’t squeeze like that.”
“Sorry,” Josefien squeaks, “but I’m so afraid of a collision.”
That fear is not entirely unfounded. The castle really looms right in front of their ship. A collision seems unavoidable.
Then Queen Hearts Spider swings her sceptre around. A stream of gold glitter shoots towards one of the other cloud ships. A very special cloud ship in which a carriage is pulled by a beautiful butterfly. On the goat of the carriage is a special figure, wrapped in a large cloak. The figure stands up and raises his hand. That hand seems to exert an insufferable pull on the gold glitters. They naturally move in that direction and thus form a solid form.
“What’s happening,” Josefien hissed behind Old Sam’s back where she’s been hiding
‘See for yourself,’ says Queen Heart Spider, ‘I’m hopeful that a touch of magic can help here.’
That touch of magic is no longer a stream of gold glitter but has taken the form of a dagger. The coachman of the special cloud ship leans in front and cuts the handles of the butterfly with 1 stroke. Freed from her burden, the butterfly shoots forward.
Then she hesitates for a moment. She flies to Queen Heart Spin’s cloud ship, takes a nosedive, and skims over Old Sam. He jumps away in fright, on top of the railing of the ship.
“What are you doing?” he exclaims.
“Go away,” shouts Josefien, “leave Old Sam alone.”
The butterfly doesn’t stop and takes another nosedive, rushing past Old Sam. He can no longer keep his balance and falls down. A cat always ends up on its paws, but not if you fall down on the wrong side of the railing. Old Sam tumbles through the air and Josefien lets out a loud cry.
“Helppppppp,” she screams, “do something.”
But there is nothing to do. Old Sam falls and for the cloud fleet of Queen Heart Spider, a collision with the castle seems unavoidable. Panic breaks out. Is this the end of the adventures of Old Sam..
Queen Spider Heart and her fleet of cloud ships are heading for a collision with a castle full of cats that suddenly appeared in their path. A touch of magic was supposed to save them but instead Old Sam is now tumbling down. The butterfly, which pulled one of the ships and could have prevented a collision with the castle, pushed Old Sam off the railing. Total panic has broken out. The heart spiders bounce over each other on the cloud ship of Queen Spider Heart and Josefien is completely stiffened with fright.
‘How is this possible?’, exclaims Queen Spider Heart , ‘what have you done?’
She turns to the coachman of the cloud coach. He lets out a loud and triumphant laugh.
“Haha,” the coachman shouts with a loud and nasty laugh, “don’t think you can escape me.”
“Oh no,” exclaims Josefien, “it’s the evil spirit from the dark cloud. He’s back.’
“Oh no,” exclaims Queen Spider Heart in turn, “how did you get on board my fleet. What did you do with Butterfly?’
“It doesn’t matter,” he exclaims with a false laugh, “you’re too late. You are doomed to fail. The world will be mine. Bye, bye!’
He opens his cloak and pulls out a large wand. He stomps 3 times on the trestle of the carriage and with a big thud he is gone. The smell of sulphur and mud fills the air.
“Ieuwwww,” Josefien shouts.
“This really won’t be the last thing I smell,” exclaims Queen Heart Spider.
Determined, she grabs her sceptre and stomps on the ground three times. Small golden glitters come loose and shoot through the air towards the butterfly. The glitters that meet in the air form small hearts and attach themselves to the butterfly’s wings. She seems to come out of a kind of daze and suddenly shoots through the air and swings ropes towards her carriage. They automatically attach themselves to the goat. With her carriage in tow, she heads decisively towards Old Sam and catches him in her carriage.
“Yeahhhh,” Josefien shouts, and together with the heart spiders, she bounces back and forth.
The butterfly shoots back up like a rocket towards the huge castle that looms before them. The doors of the castle swing open even further and the butterfly with the carriage with Old Sam in her wake dart in and make a crash landing. Then the doors slam shut with a loud bang and the castle disappears into thin air.
Old Sam still can’t comprehend what happened to him and remains dazed. Then he hears footsteps coming his way. A figure bends over him. Two eyes look at him. Large wings spread.
“Am I in cat heaven?”, he asks.
“Certainly not,” says the figure, “I am much but not an angel.
Old Sam has been rescued by the same butterfly that pushed him off the railing of Queen Heart Spider’s cloud ship. Butterfly was enchanted by the evil spirit from the dark cloud, but she came back to her senses through the golden glitter magic of Queen Spider Heart . The evil spirit has disappeared with a great thud. But not only that, the castle now too. In the castle, Old Sam lies dazed on the ground, not knowing what has happened to him. Then he hears footsteps and a large-winged figure bends over him. A form that assures him that she is a lot but certainly not an angel.
“Take a good look, Old Sam,” says the figure, “you already know me.”
Old Sam still sees a little blurry and tries to watch as he feverishly thinks about who he knows with such large wings.
“Are you the Sweet Little Dragon?”, he asks.
“No, certainly not,” says the guise, “and not Alberta Eagle if you go any further guessing.”
Slowly, Old Sam regains his sight. Then he sees two pairs of cute clogs. With brightly coloured hearts. He looks up and sees a scarf on with cheerful flowers. Then a face with big sweet eyes and a crazy hat where her eagle owl ears stick out.
“Odette Eagle Owl,” Old Sam shouts.
He jumps up and laughing they fall into each other’s arms. Old Sam remembers well how they met Odette Oehoe in his adventure in Riverland. There she saved the little dragon from the stomach ache she had gotten from eating from a sour lemon tree. He’ll never forget her first words.
“I care,” she said then, “sometimes I provide cheerfulness, sometimes clear thoughts, sometimes soul stirrings, and sometimes little dragons that have eaten from sour lemon trees.”
What a beautiful adventure that had become. They saved the world from the Time Snakes.
“What are you doing here?”, Old Sam asks.
“I received a letter,” says Odette Eagle Owl, “a letter that told me that you are on your way to a meeting of the cloud people but that you will never get there. And if I wanted to convey the message about how you can help this world to you.’
Old Sam looks at Odette Eagle Owl in surprise. He had forgotten for a moment that she often gets messages about the future.
“Are you going to tell me here, in this cloud castle with all the cats, what’s going on with this world,” Old Sam says.
“Yes,” says Odette Oehoe.
“Not at all,” laughs a nasty voice. With a big thud, a demon suddenly appears in the great hall of the castle. Old Sam and Odette Eagle Owl can’t go anywhere. What fate awaits them..
Old Sam finds himself in the castle that disappeared into thin air with a big thud as soon as he flew in with the carriage with the butterfly. The shape with the large wings that bent over him turned out to be none other than Odette Eagle Owl. An eagle owl who likes to take care but also receives messages from the future. She has received a letter from the cloud people. Old Sam was on his way to a meeting with the cloud people but would never get there. So Odette Eagle Owl was asked to tell him what’s going on in Cloudland. But she doesn’t get a chance to do that because with a lot of nasty laughter and a loud bang, a demon has appeared.
“Leave us alone,” Old Sam shouts as he jumps up and stands in front of the demon with a high back.
“I didn’t think so,” says the demon, “Odette Eagle Owl isn’t going to tell you anything, Old Sam.”
“How do you know who I am?”, Old Sam bellows.
“He knows that from me,” a voice suddenly sounds.
“Who’s there?”, Old Sam asks, “show up.”
“Yes,” Odette Oehoe shouts, “show up, especially if you are who I think you are.”
“Then who do you think I am?”, asks the voice that now suddenly comes from another corner of the dark hall.
“I think you’re the counterpart of Old Sam in the cloud world,” says Odette Oehoe.
Surprised, Old Sam looks at her. A counterpart, in this cloud world. He’s never heard of something like that before.
“Will you tell me that there is an Old Sam in the cloud world,” he says to Odette Eagle Owl.
“Yes,” she says, “Queen Spider Heart has told us how there are parallels between our world and yours.”
‘That’s right,’ says Old Sam, ‘but there are also a lot of differences.’
‘That’s also true’, says Odette Eagle Owl, ‘it’s so easy for most clouds to choose a shape that already exists where they float around. Yet in this cloud world, the Old Sam is a different Old Sam.’
“That’s right too,” says the voice that claims to be Old Sam’s counterpart in the cloud world.
“Yes,” the demon cackles, “it’s someone else here.”
The demon steps into the light and finally becomes visible.
“oh,” says Old Sam, “you’re the coachman of Butterfly’s carriage.”
“Hey he,” the demon laughs, “it was time you realized that. You’re not as smart as they say, Old Sam. But come, no more dawdling. You and I are going for a ride.’
The coachman grabs behind him, in a bag, and pulls out a saddle . What’s going to happen next..
Old Sam and Odette Eagle Owl find themselves in the great hall of the castle that mysteriously disappeared, just before it was due to collide with Queen Heart Spider’s cloud ships. There they meet a demon. That turns out to be the coachman of the butterfly vessel with which Old Sam was kidnapped. There also appears to be a counterpart to Old Sam in the cloud world. A counterpart that they have heard the voice of but have not yet seen. And where they might not get the chance to meet them, because the coachman has pulled out a saddle. Apparently he and Old Sam are going for a ride.
“I’m not going to take a ride with you at all,” Old Sam hissed viciously, “who do you think you are?”
“I don’t think you have much to say here,” says the coachman, “it’s time for you to do something.”
“Yes,” says the mysterious voice, “it’s time for you to do something, Old Sam.”
“Show yourself to Old Sam first,” says Odette Oehoe.
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “I’m very curious what you look like.”
The coachman roars with laughter.
“You will soon know very well what your counterpart looks like, Old Sam,” laughs the coachman, “because we’re going to take a ride on her back.”
The coachman reaches back into the bag and pulls out a handle.
“Come here,” he says.
Slowly, a figure emerges from the darkness of the hall. A white form. Of clouds. It’s Old Sam and it’s not. But it’s a cat. A white cat of clouds.
“Who are you?”, Old Sam stammers.
“I’m you and yet I’m not. I’m Sam, but I’m not.’
“Yes,” says the coachman, “and you can fly and Old Sam can’t. Hurry up, and I’ll saddle you up and we can leave.’
“Leave,” says Old Sam, “where to? And what’s your name if you’re not me?’
“I’m Wasam, a white cloud cat, and I can travel through time and space. Come, trust me and sit down.’
‘What about me?’, says Odette Eagle Owl, ‘should I stay here?’
“Yes,” says Wasam, “you have to take care of the black cats in the windows while we’re gone.”
During all this, the coachman grabbed Old Sam and put him in the saddle. He stomps on the ground three times with his wand and with a big thud the white clouds hangover disappears with Old Sam and the coachman on her back. When they reappear and Old Sam’s eyes are used to the dark, he sees it on something very large and plump . What is it..
Old Sam met Odette Eagle Owl in the great hall of the cloud castle. There they see a demon. That turns out to be the coachman who had enchanted Butterfly. Old Sam needs to get to work. He has no choice according to the coachman. He puts Old Sam in front of him on the saddle that lies on the back of Wasam, a white cloud cat. After stomping on the ground three times with his wand, they disappeared into thin air. Odette Eagle Owl stays behind in the cloud castle. Someone has to take care of the cats in the windows. Odette Eagle can do that very well. But where did Old Sam and the coachman end up?
“Jeez,” Old Sam says, “what’s that?”
“That, Mr. Old Sam,” says the coachman, “that’s Pedro Toad.”
“Are we behind The Spanish Word Waterfalls?”, Old Sam asks in surprise.
“Yes,” says the coachman, “where else should Pedro Toad be.”
“What happened to Pedro?”, says Old Sam, “it seems like he doesn’t move anymore.”
That’s right. Pedro Toad doesn’t move anymore. Old Sam walks around him. The white cloud cat follows him like a shadow.
“Don’t sit on my heels,” Old Sam says.
“But I like that,” says Wasam, “I’ve never been as close to my counterpart in your world as I am now.”
“Rather, help me find out what happened here,” Old Sam says.
“Can you solve it is a much more interesting question,” says the coachman.
Old Sam notices that he has started to sound less and less false. He takes another good look at the coachman.
“Who are you,” Old Sam says, “and why did you bring me here? We were already on our way to Spanish Word Waterfalls.’
“It all took far too long,” says the coachman, “besides, you wanted to pick up a potion on the way. While Pedro just needs your help right away, Old Sam.’
“Yes,” Wasam purrs the white cloud cat softly, “your help Old Sam. And mine.’
Old Sam looks at the pair. Why does the coachman want him to help Pedro? And what role does the white cloud cat have in this story? As he sits like this and plays all these questions through his head, he gets cold. Not just cold. Very, very cold. So cold that he struggles to move. It looks like his cat paws are stuck. They’ve gotten so heavy.
“What’s going on here?”, Old Sam exclaims.
“That is the frost,” says the coachman, “and there is nothing we can do about it.”
Old Sam is in a cave behind Spanish Word Waterfalls. With the coachman who brought him there on the back of Wasam, the white cloud cat. There they find Pedro Toad. But Pedro doesn’t move anymore. Old Sam is thinking about everything that has happened. He notices that it has become increasingly cold in the cave. So cold that he can hardly move. His cat paws are almost frozen. Large ice clumps are already forming around his body. What’s going on here anyway?
“Help,” Old Sam shouts, “I’m freezing.”
“You also have to keep moving,” says the coachman, “sitting still is not an option here.”
Old Sam moves himself with difficulty. From the weather, he starts walking around Pedro Toad. Then all of a sudden it lights up.
“This is what happened to Pedro,” he says.
“That’s right,” says the coachman, “and you must help undo it.”
“Me?”, says Old Sam.
“Yes, you,” says the coachman.
“Why me?”, says Old Sam.
“Because you’re the only one with powers special enough to save my son,” the coachman says.
“Your son?”, Old Sam says with wide eyes of surprise.
“Yes, my son,” says the coachman.
“Are you Pedro’s mother?”, Old Sam says, still surprised.
“Yes,” says the coachman, “that’s me.”
“But you don’t look like a toad at all,” Old Sam says, “and I thought you were a man’s coachman.”
“Yes,” says the coachman, “I am enchanted. As a result, there is now a bad counterpart to my appearance in the cloud world. And it causes all this misery.’
“Josefien would say wow now,” Old Sam says, missing her terribly for a moment, “what a story. So you are Pedro Toad’s mother, you are enchanted and now there is a bad counterpart of you in the cloud world.’
“Yes,” says the coachman, “and I can’t do anything about it.”
“Why not,” says Old Sam, “you’re standing here anyway. I don’t see anything stopping you.’
“That’s right,” says the coachman aka Pedro Toad’s mother, “but my hands are chained. Take a good look, Old Sam, take a good look.
Old Sam stands in a cave behind The Spanish Word Waterfalls. Along with Wasam, the white cloud cat, and the coachman. That turns out to be Pedro Toad’s mother. She is enchanted and therefore cannot save her son. There is also a bad counterpart of Pedro’s mother in the cloud world. That turns out to be the bad spirit in the dark cloud. Meanwhile, it is very cold in the cave and poor Pedro is completely frozen. Old Sam has to keep walking in circles because sitting still is not an option if he wants to keep moving.
“Why are your hands chained?”, Old Sam says, “I don’t see anything at all.”
“Look again,” the coachman says, raising her hands towards Old Sam.
Old Sam takes another good look. Slowly he sees the outlines of a bunch of chains become visible.
“Damn,” he says, “you are indeed chained. How is that possible?’
“When I heard that my son had disappeared and had last been seen near Spanish Word Waterfalls, I set out to look for him. I really searched for hours here in the area but couldn’t find him. But I found something else.’
“What else,” says Old Sam, “what then?”
“I found very tasty mushrooms,” says Pedro Toad’s mother.
“I didn’t know toads liked mushrooms,” says Old Sam.
‘That’s right’, says Pedro’s mother, ‘I’m a vegetarian and have had a great love for tasty mushrooms all my life. But there was something profoundly wrong with this one.’
“What was wrong with those mushrooms?” asks Old Sam.
“This was a poisonous mushroom. When I put it on, I got a huge stomach ache and I started to see completely double. It was like I had a vision. I saw myself change into the form I am now. I saw a chain that came flying through air and wrapped itself around my hands so I can’t do anything anymore.’
“Jeez,” says Old Sam, “that’s pretty special. I’ve never heard a story like this before.’
“I know,” says the coachman, “but I still think you can help me undo this poisonous spell.”
“How?”, says Old Sam.
“There’s a magic bag in my suit. I think you can get the key out of that that frees me from these shackles.’
Old Sam has been able to grab special things before. Would it work again? He inserts his paw into the breast pocket of Pedro’s mother. And indeed, he feels something. He pulls out a key. Very carefully, he inserts the key into the lock of Mama Toad’s chains. Is the key going to work or not? Slowly, with a scratching sound, the key turns in the lock. If it works, he can free Pedro Toad’s mother from her chains.
Old Sam stands in a cave with Pedro Toad’s mother. She is enchanted and her hands are chained so she can’t do anything for her son. It is now completely frozen. Wasam, the white cloud cat still spins around Old Sam, so much she likes to be close to her counterpart in this world. Old Sam has taken a key from a magic bag and turns it over in the lock that holds the chains around Mother Toad’s hands. It makes a scratching sound. Everyone is holding their breath.
“Is it going to work, Old Sam?” asks Wasam.
She has placed her head on his shoulder and watches as the key slowly turns in the lock.
“I think so,” Old Sam says as he turns the key one more turn.
Then a click sounds and the lock pops open.
“Yes,” Wasam shouts, and she jumps back and forth excitedly.
Old Sam stops her.
“Careful,” he says, “we don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
It’s a good thing Old Sam says this and they both sat down. The lock that has burst open frees itself from the chains and dances through the air. It shut out a chilling scream now that it can no longer hold the shackles of Mama Toad. Those chains feel the freedom and wrap loose. Mama Toad collapses. As if she no longer has the strength to hold her own now that her chains are loose. They dance through the air with a sweet rattling sound. It’s almost like they’re singing. Old Sam and Wasam listen again.
‘Mirror mirror on the wall, tell me, what beauty a mother’s heart brings to life’, it sounds again and again.
“It’s like a question,” Wasam says.
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “maybe we should give the right answer to help her.”
“But what’s the right answer,” Wasam says.
“That’s easy,” Old Sam says, “the answer is love.”
Then all kinds of things happen at once. It seems as if the chains are making a kind of whipping. The ice blocks around Pedro Toad are hit very hard. There’s a loud bang. The iceberg creaks, sighs and leans in. At the same time, it seems as if every second takes three times as long to pass. Then, with a series of loud bangs, the iceberg breaks into as many as 7,000 pieces. Slowly, what’s underneath comes to life.
“Mommy,” it sounds through the cave.
“Pedro,” it sounds from the ground. Mama Toad gathers all her energy, scrambles to her feet and runs towards Pedro. The two fall into each other’s arms as far as possible. Pedro is still covered in all the chatter cockles and still can’t move very well. Old Sam and Wasam watch as Mother and Son fall into each other’s arms. At the ceiling of the cave, stars suddenly twinkle. What a celestial sight..
Mama Toad is freed from her chains. Pedro Toad is freed from the iceberg that surrounded him. Mother and Son can finally hold each other again. Stars twinkle from the ceiling of the cave. A heavenly sight but how is this possible?
“Wow,” says Wasam, “how beautiful.”
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “but it’s a bit crazy. How can stars twinkle in a cave. They belong outside in the sky, don’t they?’
“Yes,” says Wasam, “I don’t know why. But I do know that you and I have something to do here together.’
“We?”, Old Sam says in surprise.
“Yes, you,” the voice of Mother Toad suddenly sounds, “I didn’t just bring you here to free me from my chains.”
“What else am I supposed to do?”, Old Sam asks.
“You can free Pedro from the chatter cockles,” says Mama Pad, “along with Wasam.”
Wasam happily spins around Old Sam.
“Yes,” she sighs, and a breeze rises in the cave. Old Sam looks around in surprise.
“How is that possible?”, he says.
“I’m a cloud cat,” Wasam sighs, “when clouds sigh, it blows.”
“Yes,” says mama Pad, “and when cloud cats let the wind blow, all the empty words are taken away and Pedro is freed from the chatter cockles.”
“What’s my role in the whole thing,” Old Sam says, “it sounds like you can do just fine without me.”
“It’s your job to make sure the chatter cockles don’t reattach to Pedro,” Mama Pad says.
“How do I do that?”, Old Sam asks.
“You have to lead the chatter cockles out of the cave,” says Mama Pad, “and lure them under Spanish Word Waterfalls. Then the perpetual water chatter will come and after that they can do no more harm.
Old Sam thinks it’s a strange story. Anyway, if he can help Pedro with that, he’d like to try. Wasam’s cloud wind has already loosened some chatter cockles. Old Sam walks towards the exit of the cave. The chatter cockles follow him. Once outside the cave he wades through shallow water towards The Spanish Word Waterfalls. Behind him, a long string of chattering cockles forms.
It’s a special sight. But no one notices that a pair of strange eyes follow the wondrous spectacle. The sound of Spanish Word Waterfalls drowns out the soft whispers that sound..
Old Sam has freed Pedro Toad’s mother from her chains, and Pedro himself is no longer surrounded by an iceberg. Now the chatter cockles still need to be loosened so that Pedro can get out of the cave behind The Spanish Word Waterfalls. The cloud wind of Wasam the cloud cat has already loosened a few chatter cockles. As if by themselves, they follow Old Sam out of the cave. He wades through shallow water towards The Spanish Word Waterfalls, but no one notices that the wondrous spectacle is followed by more than one eye.
Old Sam is now standing by the water of Spanish Word Waterfalls that comes down with a thunderous roar. The string of chatter cockles dances around him. Then suddenly a torrent of words comes down.
“Is that the water chatter?” asks Old Sam.
“Yes,” Wasam sighs, “just sit down Old Sam and listen.”
Old Sam sits down and listens. The chatter cockles still dance around him. The noise that the water chatter makes is so overwhelming that Old Sam gets a little dizzy. Time seems to slow down and a special connection between Old Sam and the water chatter is created. The words also seem to slow down and the chatter cockles comes to a halt. Very carefully they move towards the water chatter.
Then suddenly they start moving their shells back and forth. Every time a word from the delayed water chatter comes along, a chatter cockles takes a bite. The word disappears between their shells. This continues until they are completely full and have become top-heavy.
Then, with a thud, the chatter cockles sink one by one to the bottom of the shallow water in front of the Spanish Word Waterfalls. Slowly they sink into the muddy sand until there is nothing left of them to see.
An immense silence falls down as the roaring roar of the water chatter sits in the chatters, which are covered by a thick layer of mud and sand.
“Wow,” old Sam says, “how peaceful.”
“Yes,” Wasam sighs, “delicious.”
They both sit down and enjoy the wonderful tranquility. The Spanish Word Waterfalls itself gently rippling on now that it has been stripped of the water chatter. Old Sam and Wasam don’t see what’s going on behind them. There the eyes, which have been following the wondrous spectacle all this time, begin to move.
Slowly, three figures sneak up on Old Sam and Wasam. They look like witches, but they look very special. One has sweet curls peeking out from under her witch’s hat and she wears pink sunglasses. Another has all signs of ships on her witch hat. The third witch has beautiful long hair. All three wear beautifully moving dresses, as blue as the sea.
It seems as if the witches want to see what happened to the chatter cockles. Carefully, they lurk over Old Sam and Wasam. Their eyes get big and they jump up and start jumping around the pair.
“Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous,” the three witches cackle as they move their arms wildly back and forth.
Old Sam and Wasam brought the chatter cockles through the shallow water to Spanish Word Waterfalls. The water chatter that came down there was full of words that the chatter cockles then ate one by one. As a result, the chatter cockles became so heavy that they disappeared into the muddy sand. Old Sam and Wasam enjoyed the peace and quiet that came with it. What they didn’t see was three witches in beautiful blue dresses walking towards them. They now jump wildly with their arms moving on them.
“Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous,” they shout again.
Old Sam jumps a hole in the air in fright and then threatens to fall into the pool with the shallow water. Cats don’t like water so he desperately tries to prevent that and grabs onto the first thing he encounters. To no avail and in his trap he drags Wasam the cloud cat with him.
“Brrrr,” he shouts as he sits there in the pool of water.
“Yes, brrrrrr,” shouts Wasam, trying to shake off the water, pouring a shower of muddy drops over both of them.
It’s such a funny sight that the witches fall over cackling with laughter and end up in the pool too. There they are, two drowned cats and three soaking wet witches.
“Why are you scaring us so much?”, Old Sam shouts.
“Yes,” says Wasam, “I said Old Sam doesn’t like water.”
Old Sam looks at Wasam with wide eyes.
“Do you know them?”, he asks.
“Yes,” says Wasam, “these are the water witches of The People of the Ebelingen.”
“Water witches,” says Old Sam, “I’ve really never heard of that. Of water elves, but not of water witches. And I don’t know The People of the Ebelingen either.’
“Well, I do,” says Wasam, “the water witch with the pink sunglasses is Klask. She is the chief witch. The water witch with those ship drawings on her hat is called Sasun and she there with the very long hair is called Lien.
“Pleasant,” says Klask, with her sweet curls and pink sunglasses, “but we don’t really have time to explain everything. It’s dangerous here and you still have to save the world, Old Sam.’
“Why is it dangerous,” says Old Sam, “everything seems calm to me now that the chatter cockles have eaten the water chatter.”
‘It just seems that way,’ says Klask, ‘but the chatter cockles need to be removed from here as soon as possible. We are happy to take them to our boat.’
Suddenly they hear footsteps coming out of the cave. Everyone is looking that way. First, Pedro’s mother emerges. She looks happy. Then Pedro himself steps outside. Now that all the chatter cockles have been removed, he is back to normal self. His beautiful appearance makes all three witches hold their breath.
Old Sam and Wasam are so shocked by the three witches that they have fallen into the pool with the shallow water. Old Sam doesn’t like water so it was a very funny sight. The witches laughed so hard that they also fell into the water. They are still there when Pedro comes out of the cave with his mother. His handsome appearance has made the witches completely silent.
“Oh,” sighs Sasun, the witch with the ship’s marks on her hat, “he’s almost even more handsome than our Dragon Master.”
“Yes,” sighs Lien, the witch with the beautiful long hair, “let’s start another fan club.”
“Ladies, ladies,” says Klask the chief witch, “we are here to help save the world, not to admire handsome men.”
“Yes yes,” both water witches say, “you’re right, we need to collect the chatter cockles and take them to our ship.”
“What are you going to do with the chatter cockles?”, Wasam asks.
“We are going to cook them in witch’s cheese,” says Sasun.
“Yes,” Lien says, “our captain is going to feast again.”
“I hope they’ll taste good,” says Pedro, who has now arrived at the mud puddle with his mother, “I’m glad I lost them.”
He holds out his hand and, as the real lord that he is, helps the three witches get out of the mud puddle. Sasun and Lien almost faint now that they are so close to Pedro. Pedro just keeps going and helps Old Sam and Wasam get out of the mud puddle as well.
“Thank you, Old Sam,” Pedro says, “for saving me from the endless chatter of the chatter cockles.”
“You’re welcome,” Old Sam says, “but I understand we’re not quite done yet.”
“That’s right,” Klask says with her pink sunglasses, “let’s collect all the chatter cockles as soon as possible. Then we can take them with us.’
Everyone gets to work digging up the chatter cockles from the muddy sand. Even Old Sam and Wasam who don’t like water. The other two witches stay as close to Pedro as possible. It seems like they can’t get enough of his handsome appearance.
“Ladies, behave a little,” says Pedro’s mother, “I don’t want to lose him right away.”
Everyone laughs and in the meantime continues to pick up the chatter cockles. The witches all conjure up buckets for them to enter. When all the buckets are full, the witches reach out and gesture to Old Sam, Wasam, Pedro Toad, and his mother to grab them. In this way they form a circle around the buckets with chatter clams. Then the witches begin to sing. Their beautiful blue dresses move with the sounds like waves in the sea. A dazzling light appears that slowly fades and gives way to a huge beast. What’s about to happen now..
The witches want to take the chatter cockles to their ship. There they are cooked in witch’s cheese and eaten by the captain. In this way, the world is saved from the endless chatter of the chatter cockles. Pedro is glad to have gotten rid of the chatter cockles. He also likes the attention of the witches, but in the meantime the chatter cockles have to be picked up. When they are all in buckets, they all form a circle. The witches make a dazzling light appear with their enchanting voices. That light slowly gives way to another appearance. A huge beast appears. Everyone stiffens in fright. Except for the three witches..
“What kind of beast is that?”, exclaims Old Sam.
The witches laugh.
“Yes, come on down,” waves Klask, the chief witch with her pink sunglasses.
“Come on down?”, Old Sam shouts, “are you sure?”
“Yes,” she says, “look again, it’s one of our boats, The Round Whale.”
Old Sam takes another good look. It is indeed a boat. Not a whale but a boat with a dragon’s head and wings. With its round belly, it looks a bit like a whale. Then suddenly someone sticks his head over the railing. A tough guy with blown hair and fun eyes looks down on them.
“Witch cheeses of mine,” he calls down, “I missed you.”
“Captain Ebeling,” the witches exclaim excitedly, “we’ve caught all the chatter cockles, we can get on board.”
“Bring on those chatterer cockles,” shouts Captain Ebeling, “Dragon Master, pick them up.”
That statement makes Sasun, the witch with the special tattoos and Lien, the witch with the beautiful long hair, jump back and forth excitedly.
“Yes, Dragon Master, show yourself, show yourself!”
Then someone else appears and looks down over the railing. With his blond hair and blue eyes, he looks like he has sneaked out of a fairy tale book.
“Girls,” he shouts, “did you miss me?”
“Yes,” they shout, “can we get back on board?”
“Surely you can,” shouts the Dragon Master, and with a great pike dive, the dragon boat comes flying overhead, only to linger over the buckets of chatter cockles. Countless lines fly overboard. The witches tie the buckets. The Dragon Master and Captain Ebeling bring in all the buckets and put them on deck.
“Now you,” the captain shouts.
The water witches take each other’s hands and clack the heels of their shoes together. Small sparkles arise, more and more. The sparkles surround the witches, lift them up and bring them to the ship. Then the sparkles turn around and approach the remaining foursome..
What an adventure it is again. A dragon boat called The Round Whale. with Captain Ebeling and a Dragon Master on board who come to pick up the witches and the chatter cockles. The buckets of chatter cockles have been brought on board with lines and the witches have created a shower of sparkles by clattering their shoes together. Those sparkles brought the witches on board. And now the sparkles are coming towards the company left behind.
“Help,” Pedro Toad’s mother shouts, “what are they going to do?”
“Don’t be afraid,” Klask shouts, pushing her pink sunglasses back up her nose, “you need to move on, too.”
“Yes,” cries Captain Ebeling in his deep and heavy voice, “we’ll give you a lift.”
“That’s not such a bad idea,” Old Sam says, “but where do you take us?”
“Where you need to be, Old Sam,” says Captain Ebeling.
“Come on board first,” cries the Dragon Master, “the tide is now favourable to us, so I would like to move on.”
Old Sam, Wasam the cloud cat, Pedro Toad and his mother take hands and step into the stream with twinkles. They pick up the foursome and take them to the Dragon Boat.
“Wow,” old Sam says, “what a beautiful ship.”
“Thank you,” says Captain Ebeling, “honoured to be on board with us, Old Sam, I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Where do you want to go?”, the Dragon Master asks.
“I want to go to Josefien,” old Sam says, “I miss her terribly.”
“We still have a mission, Old Sam,” says Wasam, “we still have to save The Cloud World.”
“Yes, but,” says Old Sam, “what’s to be done, I still don’t know what’s going on.”
“We have to prevent the bad cloud spirit from continuing with his work,” says Pedro Toad, “and I was doing that until I was enchanted by him and got lost.”
“Yes,” says Pedro Toad’s mother, “the cloud spirit wants to poison all clouds so that only sour tears fall on this world when the clouds have to cry.”
“Brrrr,” says Wasam, “I don’t have to think about just crying sour tears.”
“No, I get that,” Old Sam says, “and I don’t think acid tears are so good for the world.”
“That’s right,” says Pedro Toad, “it only brings misery. Trees that no longer want to grow, water that can no longer be drunk, no one who is happy anymore, everyone who argues, maybe even wants to go to war because they can no longer live in peace with each other.’
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “that’s a massive problem that can’t be seen through anymore.”
Old Sam, Wasam, Pedro Toad and his mother have now signed on to Captain Ebel’s dragon boat. The problem with the endless chatter of the chatter cockles is all but solved. They only need to be cooked in witch’s cheese and then Captain Ebel eats them. But that’s not the only problem. Old Sam also hears that the evil cloud spirit wants to poison all the clouds so that they can only cry sour tears. As a result, all life disappears because trees no longer want to grow, water can no longer be drunk and everyone quarrels with each other. Maybe even want to go to war because they can no longer live in peace with each other.
“You have to help me make the world beautiful again, Old Sam,” Pedro Toad says.
“Me?”, Old Sam says in a questioning tone, “how?”
“First we have to make sure everyone gets back together,” Pedro says.
“What exactly do you mean by everyone?”, Old Sam asks.
“Everyone here,” says Pedro Toad’s mother, “but also your beloved Josefien
“And Queen Spider Heart with her people,” says Pedro, “they are friends too.”
“We just need everyone in the Cloud World,” Wasam says.
‘Odette Eagle Owl, I think’, says Old Sam, ‘because she takes care of everything, including this world’
“We definitely need her on this important mission,” says Wasam, “otherwise let’s pick her up first.”
“So on to the Cloud Castle,” says Captain Ebeling, “Dragon Master, hoist the sails and unload the bunches.”
The Dragon Master throws the bunches loose and hoists the sails with the help of the witches.
“Where is the rest of the crew anyway?” asks the witch with the pink sunglasses.
‘They stayed behind on the other Dragon Boat’, says Captain Ebel, ’they are having a different adventure’.
“Wow,” old Sam says, “what kind of adventure?”
“We don’t have time for that right now,” says Captain Ebel, “but the Master Narrator is on board. I’m sure if you pour him a glass of Witch Gold sometime in the future, he’ll come up with the most beautiful stories.’
“The stories become even more beautiful when you mix Witch Gold with Ruby Red,” Sasun chuckles, “preferably in the bottle.”
“Enough chatter,” says Captain Ebel, “we have to save the world. This is no longer time to sit on your hands. Let’s sail!’
And so the Dragon Boat sails to the Cloud Castle where Odette Eagle Owl has stayed behind to take care of all the cats. Old Sam sits quietly on the foredeck musing during the journey. He does hope that the narrator of this story will make a little rush because tomorrow is already the last day of this adventure. Will all end well this time..
Old Sam is on his way to the Cloud Castle. Together with Pedro Toad, his mother and Wasam the white cloud cat. They are aboard The Round Whale, Captain Ebel’s dragon boat. The Dragon Master has hoisted the sails and the witches are now in the galley. There they will cook the chatter cockles in witch cheese. Old Sam doesn’t want to think about having to eat that, but Captain Ebel seems to love it.
“Will it be a long time before we get to the Cloud Castle?” asks Old Sam.
“Not if I lend a hand,” Wasam says as she sits down on the stern, takes a deep breath and blows.
The dragon boat jumps forward and sails on at high speed. It doesn’t take long before the Cloud Castle comes into view. But not just the Cloud Castle. It turns out that the entire fleet of cloud ships has now gathered there. Old Sam jumps on the railing and looks to see if he sees Queen Heart Spider’s cloud ship.
“Josefien,” he suddenly shouts, waving wildly.
“Old Sam,” Josefien also shouts back waving wildly as she also wants to jump on the railing.
That action isn’t that convenient, and she just tumbles down.
‘Noooooo’, Old Sam yells.
“Don’t panic,” Captain Ebel shouts, and he gives four strokes to the helm, causing the ship to take a nosedive, catching Josefien. Finally, Old Sam and Josefien are reunited. Delighted, they rub their heads together.
“I missed you,” Josefien says.
“Me too,” Old Sam says.
‘What happened?’ asks Josefien.
“That’s a long story,” Old Sam says, “but I’m so glad to see you here.”
‘Yes,’ says Josefien, ‘Queen Heart Spider thought it would be a good idea to have everyone gather here when we found out that you had been in this castle. We were hoping you’d come back here.’
“How did you know I’d been here?”, Old Sam asks.
‘Odette Oehoe sent us a letter,’ says Josefien, ‘and now that we are here we were able to help her to take care of all the black cats in the Cloud Castle.’
Meanwhile, Captain Ebeling has moored his dragon boat at the Cloud Castle.
“So,” he grumbles, “the Master Narrator would have been proud of this manoeuvre again.”
“You’ll tell him later,” says Pedro Toad’s mother, “we have to get to work and we need everyone to do that.”
Captain Ebeling sounds the ship’s horn three times. Everyone drops what they are doing and rushes to the hall of the Cloud Castle. There our gathered friends fall into each other’s arms, happy with the reunion and at the same time everyone is aware of the task of saving the world from the sour tears.
“How are we going to do that, Odette Eagle Owl?”, Old Sam asks.
“We need a very special touch of magic,” is the answer, “come on, leave me.
Odette Eagle Owl starts running around on her cute nuggets. She places Old Sam with Pedro Toad in the middle of the main hall. Around it she forms a circle with Josefien, Wasam and all the black cats that had been in the windows of the Cloud Castle until that time. In the third ring comes Queen Heart Spider with her people of heart spiders. Around it, she gathers all the cloud ship sailors and Captain Ebeling and his crew. Then she drifts back to the middle. She searches her plumage until she finds what she was looking for.
It is a small round bottle with magic potion. Odette Eagle Owl pulls off the cap and a stream of glitter comes out of the bottle. A string of glitter dances through the room, putting everyone in a golden light. Naturally, everyone grabs each other’s hands. That makes the golden light even stronger. Then Pedro Toad stands up. He makes a grab in the golden light and forms a ball with his hands. He keeps it to his heart. He walks to the doors of the Cloud Castle. Along the way, he says words that go straight from his heart into the golden glitter ball.
“Love,” he says, “and that all humans and animals want to live together in peace.”
Josefien gets up, makes a golden glitter ball and starts walking towards the door.
“That people listen to each other,” she says, “and leave the category of well-intentioned advice for what it is.”
Queen Heart Spider gets up and makes her own golden glitter ball.
“Respect for nature and all life on all worlds,” she says on her way to the doors of the Cloud Castle.
Odette Oehoe gestures for everyone to stand up and make golden glitter balls. Under her watchful eye, everyone puts his or her beautiful words in it. Everyone participates. Except Old Sam. It is in a trance and ensures that the flow of gold glitter continues. Wasam, the white cloud cat, behind him. She is waiting for her to play her part.
Everyone is looking for a place on the outside of the Cloud Castle. In front of the entrance, in the windows, on the battlements, it does not matter. Each spot is filled with someone holding a golden glitter ball, full of beautiful words from everyone’s heart.
The golden glitter balls illuminate the entire sky and the bad cloud spirit suddenly has no place to hide. With a loud thunder and roar, his dark form approaches the Cloud Castle. Odette Eagle Owl runs around like a real sergeant major and shouts that everyone should wait until the evil cloud spirit is really close enough. Then she gives a nod to Wasam. He takes a giant breath and then slowly blows it out while Captain Ebeling sounds the ship’s horn again.
That’s the sign everyone has been waiting for. Everyone holds up his or her golden glitter ball. Wasam’s cloud wind lifts the golden glitter balls and brings them to the bad cloud spirit. No one can withstand such a torrent of golden light, not even the bad cloud spirit. Slowly he changes from a dark form to a golden cloud. He grows heavier and heavier and eventually comes to a stop dazed in front of the doors of the Cloud Castle. There is Pedro Toad waiting for him.
“What you’ve done is behind us,” Pedro says.
“Yes,” his mother says, stepping out from behind him, “it’s time to become one again.”
She takes a step forward. The cloud spirit too. Then Pedro’s mother steps into the golden cloud and they merge.
“Bring all our love and good intentions around the world to everyone who needs it,” says Pedro Toad, “that is your mission now. Go.’
“None of that,” shouts Captain Ebeling, “first it’s time for a party!”
“Yes,” the witches exult, “feast with chatter cockles cooked in witch’s cheese.”
A large fire is built and the pan with witch cheese is removed from the galley of The Round Whale. They sing and they dance and they eat until everyone is tired and satisfied and goes to sleep. Old Sam and Josefien climb on the roof of one of the towers. So they sit there, enjoying the view of the beautiful cloud world in the moonlight.
“It was a beautiful adventure,” says Josefien, “even though I’ve haven’t seen you half the adventure. And chatter cockles with witch’s cheese are quit okay to eat.’
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “it sounded worse than it tasted. You know what I’d like to know?’
‘What else do you want to know?’, Josefien asks.
“What the readers think of this adventure. And what their favourite drawing was. And if they can’t choose, a top three is also good. Do you think they can let our storyteller know?’
‘Probably,’ says Josefien, ‘a message is sent in no time. I’m also very curious. And also whether we will have another adventure next year.’
“Yes,” Old Sam says, “you never know. In the meantime, let’s cherish all the wonderful adventures we’ve had together.’
Josefien sighs contentedly and looks industriously against Old Sam.
“Nurturing is always good,” she says, “making beautiful memories.”
“Yes,” says Old Sam, “and have a lot of fun in the meantime.”
And with those words, we conclude this sixth adventure of Old Sam in five years.
Perhaps we see you again next year!
With love from InK