When Strawberry was young, she was constantly picked on for her looks. Her mom defended her just fine, but after she died Strawberry felt she needed to leave… Find a new family. She ended up in the forest. Here she befriended a colony of mice. She was made to feel at home immediately. However…
When Strawberry got the the village of the mice, they were the unhappiest mice she had ever seen! There had to be something wrong. But what..? Nobody would say anything.
Then one night, Archie told her. It was because of the witch!
Strawberry was startled. The witch? A real witch?? Archie told her the story. Before the witch had arrived, the mice and the birds got along just fine. They were neighbours and would help each other if neccesary.
The colony of mice had grown and grown and half of all mice had gone to live in a different part of the forest. Of course they would still see each other on birthdays and other happy occassions! The birds usually celebrated along – they lived in the middle.
Then one aweful day the witch came. She bewitched all the birds, turning them into her personal slaves. The birds didn’t realise they had been cursed. They could not recognise the with. None of that! All day long the birds would mine gold for the witch. And they had turned really, really mean! They would no longer allow the mice to cross their part of the woods to visit relatives… There was much sadness. The mice could clearly distinguish the with between their former friends, even though she tried hard to look the same. But it didn’t matter… the birds could not see!
Archie’s friends Lil’ Flyin’ Piglet and Fjodr in the beginning sent messages across since they could fly, as opposed to the flightless birds. But it wasn’t long until the mean birds now used catapults and big stones! That was the end of all communication. Everybody was sad.
When Archie’s parents went to visit their family, Archie came along. Unfortunetaly his granduncle, professor Ad Vice (who knows everything) was not at home. Nobody had heard from him in ages and no one knew where he was… Although this was not uncommon, it didn’t time very well. Archie took it upon himself to try and find an answer in his granduncle’s library. He knew the professor wouldn’t mind!
He searched all night. He thumbed through numerous old, thick books. And then, at last, he found the answer! A herb, that breaks every witch’s curse. At first he was thrilled, bit then he felt disappointed… The herb only grew in a land far, far away. It would take a very dangerous trip to get there… And then whomever made the trip also had to get back in one piece… With the herb.
Who could do it..? Who was brave enough to try..?
There was much discussion on the matter. Archie wanted to go with his friends. His parents felt he was too young. Strawberry said she would come too. She was big and could run really fast. The grown up mice couldn’t leave the little village: they’d be spotted inmediatelly by the birds and be stopped from leaving. What could they do..? Only Archie and his friends weren’t really paid attention to by the birds – so long as they didn’t attempt to fly…
Finally it was decided upon. Strawberry would go. Archie would go. Knut would go. Lil’ Flyin’ Piglet would go. Fjodr wanted to go but his parents said he had to study (he was very angry, but it didn’t help). Bertie had to look after his younger siblings so he had to stay at home as well. Brian really wanted to help his friends, but he was very afraid.
They packed food for a fortnight. It would tie them over the trip, there and back. They would surely find water underway. Archie had meticiously copied the map he had found in the book. They were all set to go!
Leaving one by one, so the birds wouldn’t notice, they went on their way. They all gathered at the big tree. To their surprise Brian was there too!
It was a long and difficult journey with lots of challenges. At one point they entered Catalamaland. This is where all the little and big cats and lama’s live. Very scary! While Brian and Archie were constantly being ambushed by little cats, a few big ones slinked after Strawberry.
They noticed that all cats were very afraid of the lama’s because they would spit and their spit really stank. Appearantly it wasn’t easy to wash off either! So when the big cats came too close, Strawberry pretended to have a go and spit at them. They all ran away as fast as they could!
At long last, after fourteen days and nights and many adventures, they brought home the herb. Now all they had to do was brew a tea and make the witch drink it… But how could this be done..?
Everyone had an opinion. Lil’ Flyin’ Piglet yelled: ‘We went to get it, so we get to decide!’ But this wasn’t easy, because they all had a different opinion too… Strawberry said she would sit on the witch and someone could pour the tea in her throat. Brian said they could scare her and when she would open her mouth to scream, they could throw the tea in her mouth! Bertie said they’d best pretend it was a tea she mustn’t drink, so she would feel obliged to. After a heated discussion that took three hours, everybody agreed that Bertie’s idea was probably the best. It was quite a gamble, because they only had enough of the rare herb to make one cup of tea… And the witch would have to drink it all!!!
They talked and talked. At the end there was a vote, which solution they would go for. Almost everyone chose Bertie’s idea. After all, the witch had shown to be a very jealous type!
Robbie said he would tempt the witch to drink the herbal tea. After all, he was known for his concoctions. The witch would not be suspicious. Or so they hoped…
Brian was very afraid for his brother, but what could he do? Together with the others he hid and they watched as the witch came by on her morning stroll, finding Robbie in the middle of the road, making tea.
Brian could not watch! It was all too scary. The others kept watching. They held their breath. The with stopped! She came closer… In a screetching voice she asked: ‘What have you there?’ But Robbie, being Robbie, was already so into the making of the Perfect Tea, he seriously had not noticed her! Behind the bushes they could tell the witch was getting a little irritated. A bit louder she repeated her question. And she had to do so three more times!
Robbie looked up. He was not afraid. Or maybe he was… that she would not appreciate the drink! A bit surly he answered: ‘Shhht! Don’t brake my concentration! I just made the Most Delicious Tea ever!!’ He pretended to go and have a sip, bringing the cup to his face.
‘Oh no!’ The witch screamed. ‘If it is any good, it is mine!’ She moved so fast that Robbie’s hidden friends could not see exactly what happened. Maybe she used magic..? The next thing they saw, was that the witch was holding the cup and Brian didn’t seem able to move. He had a very, very annoyed look on his face.
The witch started to drink, a little slow, as to tease Brian. After the first sip she looked very happy. This was a very good tea! She finished the cup.
A loud beng. A lot of dust flew everywhere! No one saw anything for a moment. When their vision restored, they saw the witch… her pretend-looks had gone! She was her ugly self again! The friends looked around to see if any birds had witnessed the whole thing. A few birds indeed had. From the look of it, they finally remembered who they were. And they could see the witch for who she was!
After chasing the witch out of the woods they all had a massive party. It lasted almost until the next morning.