One day in the Smurf Village, Empath, Smurfette, and Polaris Psyche were together in the forest with Narrator and Piper, the four of which were listening to Piper playing a tune from his flute. None of them said anything to each other as they sat in rapt attention, letting Piper perform his music without any interruptions whatsoever, not even Empath and Polaris communicating with each other using telepathy.
When Piper stopped playing, he asked, "So how do you gentlesmurfs like it?"
"Oh, that was one of the most beautiful tunes I have ever smurfed from you, Piper," Smurfette said with a sigh.
"There is a noted exuberance and expressed happiness in your music, fellow Piper," Polaris said.
"So does that mean you like the music, Polaris?" Empath asked.
"It is just simply an observation of the performance of the music, fellow Empath," Polaris said. "However, this one is curious about Narrator also being with us to listen to the performance."
"I just happen to be interested in the type of music that Piper plays, Polaris," Narrator said. "While most of the other Smurfs may enjoy the new styles of music that have been produced since the Smurflings came out with 'Smurfbop' some years ago, there are some Smurfs like me who just like the older and simpler styles of music that you can't find anywhere else."
"And besides that, the flute has always been my favorite instrument," Piper said. "I could feel my spirit dancing everytime I play it, just like the magic flute that we have."
"Oh, I know what you mean, Piper," Smurfette said as she stood up and twirled around and around.
"This one has heard about this magic flute of yours," Polaris said. "It is a legendary musical instrument that can make whoever listens to its tune dance, as this one can recall."
"It's not just legend, Polaris, it is real," Narrator said. "We have even used it some time ago to get Gargamel, Azrael, and Scruple out of the forest. It is a musical instrument so powerful that we have to be careful who we let use it, including the humans."
"From what this smurf heard about the flute, it had almost cost our friends Johan and Peewit their kingdom when it fell into the wrong hands," Empath said.
"Oh, indeed it almost did, but then we smurfed up another flute for Peewit to use, and now we have both our flutes back and safe among us, away from that nasty man Matthew McCreep," Piper said.
"This smurf heard that this was how we met Johan and Peewit," Empath said. "This smurf and Polaris would be eager to hear the complete tale of how this happened with the magic flute."
"Indeed this one would find it truly fascinating," Polaris said, agreeing with Empath.
"Oh, please, Narrator, tell us the story," Smurfette pleaded.
"Well, since we have some time before we need to go back into the village for anything important, let me tell you everything that I can remember and be a witness to, which happened five years before you returned home, Empath," Narrator said.
As Narrator told the story, Empath, Polaris, and Smurfette saw what appeared to be a jousting tournament in session. He knew from books that jousting was a sport that humans of nobility engaged in, that they usually lasted until one opponent successfully knocked the other off his mount. Sitting in a booth were two people Empath had recognized from his fellow Smurfs' recollections: the elder man in royal robes and a crown who was called King Audric, and the younger smaller person in a green tunic and red hat who was called Peewit. King Audric was entertaining a middle-aged woman by the name of Lady Arnica on the day that the jousting tournament took place.
Peewit watched eagerly as the two contestants in armor rode toward each other on their mounts, with their lances aimed toward each other. And then suddenly, as they got close, one of the contestants unseated the other in a single blow.
"Hurray!" Peewit shouted. "I won the bet! Sire, I believe you owe me a few sovereigns."
King Audric looked bored and frustrated, and then realized Peewit was looking at him, expecting to pay up on the bet that was made. "Oh, very well, Peewit," he muttered, handing the young man the sovereigns.
"Thank you, Your Majesty," Peewit said. "These will be put to good use."
Then Lady Arnica noticed a young man with dark hair cut in a pageboy style, dressed in armor and being seated on his mount. "Your Majesty, who is that handsome young man?" she asked.
"That would happen to be Sir Johan, my good lady," King Audric answered. "He will be wearing my colors today at the tournament."
"Sir Johan looks rather young to be a knight," Lady Arnica commented.
"He's actually a squire, my good lady," King Audric explained. "But he's proven himself to be worthy of the title, and so he stands in my court with the honors of knighthood. Today his opponent will be Lord Spottlebottom, the black knight."
Lady Arnica noticed the big bearded man in black armor being seated on his mount. He had a look of sneering confidence on him that made him feel sure that he was going to win the contest.
"I would like to place a bet," Lady Arnica said. "Ten sovereigns on the Black Knight."
"Ten sovereigns it is, my lady," King Audric said. "I hope that your champion succeeds."
Then with trumpet sounds, Sir Johan and Lord Spottlebottom took their places on the field and charged at each other. The next few moments were suspenseful as both the king, the lady, and Peewit watched. And then suddenly, Sir Johan successfully unseated Lord Spottlebottom in a single blow, causing his armor to shatter into pieces.
Lord Spottlebottom felt his head reeling from the impact of hitting the ground. "You know, I should have been a dancer," he muttered to himself.
"Hurray! He did it!" Peewit shouted. "You really showed him that time, Johan!" He hopped down from the booth in order to greet his friend.
Lady Arnica was about to ask a question when the king gave her a look, which indicated to her that she needed to pay up on the bet. "Who is that strange young fellow?" she asked as she paid the king the sovereigns.
"His name is Peewit," King Audric answered. "He's the court jester and entertainer. He likes to play music, but the problem is that he can't sing. So I have hidden his mandolin."
Soon Peewit emerged from a tent carrying a mandolin
"OH NO!!! He's found it."' King Audric shouted, clutching at his crown as if ready to tear it off his head.
"And now, noble ladies and gentlemen, in honor of the triumphant victory over Lord Spottlebottom by my dearest friend Sir Johan, I shall play for you and for my friend a little composition that I call 'The Ballad Of Friendship'," Peewit announced before he started playing. In a voice that sounded like a young boy going through the growing pains of becoming an adult, he sang:
Listen to me and I'll sing you a song.
It shouldn't take long to sing you a song.
Listen now and I'll croon you a tune,
A magical tune of friendship.
Oh, I never pass up a chance to perform
A strum on my harp or blow on my horn.
Now gather 'round as I serenade
A magical ballad of friendship!
As Peewit played his tune and started singing, the people started departing from the tournament one by one: first with the peasants, and then the stable hands with their horses, and then with the armor bearers, and then with the people serving the refreshments, then the guards, then all the nobles and royalty. And as Peewit continued to play, the sky turned dark and it started raining. Undeterred by the gradual loss of his audience, Peewit continued to sing:
Friendship, friendship, that magical thing!
It makes me dance, it makes me sing!
Friendship, friendship, let everyone know...
I found a magic of friendship!
Johan was the only person still out there in the tournament grounds with Peewit. After removing his armor, he grabbed his cloak and escorted Peewit safely into the castle, where they would both go to their separate rooms.
"You liked my song, didn't you, Johan?" Peewit asked.
"Well, you see, Peewit, there was just...," Johan started to say.
"You don't have to say it," Peewit said, believing he knew what his friend had to say. "There was just something about the music that really made you feel all warm inside. I could feel it when I was playing."
"That's at least how you can put it," Johan said, unsure if he really wanted to be very honest. "Well, have a good night and sleep well. I will see you again in the morning."
"You have a good night's rest, Johan...you've earned it," Peewit said as he raced into his room.
It was now morning, and King Audric was resting peacefully in his bed, lost in slumber, when he was suddenly awakened by a knock on his door. It was Sir Johan.
"Sire, there's a traveling merchant calling for you in the courtyard," Johan said.
"A traveling merchant?" King Audric said. "What does he want?"
"I don't know, Sire, but he insists on talking to you personally," Johan answered.
"Oh, very well," King Audric sighed, realizing that he wasn't going to get anymore rest for the morning. He dressed himself in his royal robes and followed Johan to the courtyard where the traveling merchant waited.
"Your Majesty, thank goodness that you're here to meet with me," the merchant said. "My name is Ezlo, and I'm looking for a young man who resides with you by the name of Peewit."
"You've come to the right place, then," King Audric said. "What is it that you wish to do business with him for?"
"Oh, I just happen to be the person to sell him some goods that he might have an interest in," Ezlo said.
"I'll have somebody send for him at once to meet you," King Audric said. He then turned to a guard. "Please bring Peewit here to the courtyard at once."
"Yes, Your Majesty," the guard said, as he left his post to go inside and fetch Peewit.
"Tell me, Ezlo, these goods of yours...they wouldn't happen to be food, would they?" Johan asked.
"Oh no, young man, what I have to sell wouldn't be fit for anyone to eat, for they would certainly cause indigestion," Ezlo said. "Here, let me show you a sample of my goods." He pulled a sack from his wagon and laid out before King Audric and Johan what appeared to be musical instruments. "There! And I also have a harp, a lute, a psaltery, a vielle, some other instrument, a big one. I don't know what it's called, but it sure makes a lot of noise."
King Audric and Johan watched as Ezlo demonstrated each of his products. "You came all the way here to my kingdom...to sell musical instruments?" King Audric asked after the demonstration ended.
"But of course, Sire," Ezlo said. "I have heard that this Peewit has an interest in music, so I had..."
"You wretch!" King Audric said. "Pack it all up at once!"
"But, Sire, I don't understand why you want to me to go so soon," Ezlo said. "Is there a problem with..."
"Uh, Peewit is just not interested in your goods today," Johan said, helping to pack up Ezlo's belongings. "He regrets to inform you that he's...got all the instruments that he needs."
"But why would you not let me hear from him directly?" Ezlo said, sounding confused. "I'm sure that there must be a good reason for..."
"There is a good reason," King Audric said. "If you don't leave here immediately, I will have you arrested for trespassing, and you will be hanged!"
Ezlo gulped. He grabbed his sack, placed it back on his wagon, and got his horse to gallop as quickly as possible to get him out of the castle.
"Well, so much for Peewit's visitor," Johan said. "Now we'll have to tell him that..."
"Tell me what?" a voice from behind him asked. Johan and King Audric saw that Peewit had just arrived in the courtyard. "I heard that there was a merchant here. Where did he go?"
"Oh, Peewit, I'm sorry we couldn't keep him here for much longer," King Audric said.
"He was in such a hurry that he had to inform you that it will take some time for him to return," Johan said.
"Oh...well, that's unfortunate," Peewit said. "By the way, Johan, what did you think of the Ballad Of Friendship that I played for you yesterday at the jousting tournament?"
"Well, you know, honestly, I was thinking...," Johan said, fumbling for what to say.
"I know what you're thinking, that it wasn't my best performance," Peewit said. "And I finally realized why it was so. There was a note in the melody that I was playing wrong with my mandolin, and so I spent the night wondering what it is that made the melody sound like that, and then by morning the answer came to me."
"Oh, please, Peewit, tell me what you discovered," Johan said.
While Johan was talking to Peewit, King Audric noticed something on the ground near Peewit that was plainly visible: a small flute. He slowly walked over toward the flute to discreetly pick it up before Peewit would notice it.
"You've got to hear how it sounds now, Johan," Peewit said as he started to turn.
Suddenly the king fell onto the ground, right on top of where he found the flute. "Sire, are you all right?" Johan asked, sounding concerned.
"Oh...me? Of course I am, Johan," King Audric said. "It's just that...I'm feeling rather tired, and since it's a nice day this morning, I was thinking of taking my rest here."
"Your rest here, Sire?" Johan said. "You sure this is what you want?"
"Of course this is what I want," King Audric answered in a demanding tone. "And now I would like for my royal pillow to be brought down here so I can be comfortable taking my rest here."
"Then I shall go to your bedroom immediately to get it, Sire," Johan said.
"Not you, Johan," King Audric said. "I want Peewit to do this. Peewit, would you please go into my bedroom and fetch me the biggest pillow on my bed? I would like to rest here."
Peewit looked at King Audric rather strangely while considering his request. "Well, all right, Your Highness, if that's what you want, then I shall go get the big pillow from your bedroom."
"Thank you, Peewit, that is what I want very much," King Audric said, sounding as if he was eager to rest.
Johan watched as Peewit headed out from the courtyard and went inside. Meanwhile, the king tried to communicate through hand signals what it was he was hiding, but Johan didn't understand what it was the king was trying to say.
"He's gone inside, Your Majesty," Johan said.
"Good, now help me up from the ground," King Audric said.
"Are you sure you didn't want to rest here?" Johan asked as he helped King Audric up onto his feet.
"Oh, don't be foolish," King Audric said sharply. "If I really wanted to be out here resting in the courtyard, I wouldn't be trying to hide this little item that I have found."
The king handed Johan the item. "It's a small flute. Where did it come from?" Johan asked as he took a good look at it before handing it back to the king.
"It's probably something that the merchant dropped on his way out," King Audric said. "Not that it matters. The important thing is that we must destroy it before Peewit notices it."
"A good idea, Your Majesty," Johan said as the both of them headed inside. "There's something oddly strange about the flute that I noticed."
"Whoever made this flute must have been a poor craftsman," King Audric said, also looking at the flute. "It only has six holes in it."
"Now who would make a flute that only has six holes in it?" Johan asked, wondering.
"It probably was made for a child as a practice flute, or maybe some kind of toy," King Audric said. "Anyway, we'll never know for sure who made this flute, or why. And I'm sure Peewit will thank us for disposing of this flute before he even tries it."
"I'm sure the entire kingdom will thank us for disposing of this flute, Your Highness," Johan said.
"My hearth in the bedroom shall make a good place to make sure the flute is burned up, Johan," King Audric said as they both entered the bedroom. Johan watched briefly as the king threw the flute into the roaring flames.
"Sire, look out in the courtyard," Johan said, standing at the window. "It's Peewit."
King Audric joined Johan at the window and looked down at the young entertainer with the king's pillow, looking rather upset. "I have a sneaky suspicion that Johan and the king played me for a fool," he muttered loudly.
Johan and the king laughed at the scene before they turned away from the window. But then they both saw that thick green smoke was coming from the king's hearth. The king fainted at the smell of the green smoke.
"Oh no!" Johan said, carrying the king to safety out in the hall. "Guards! Servants! Somebody! The king's bedroom is on fire!"
Peewit heard Johan's cry and joined the guards and servants in passing buckets to douse the flames coming from the hearth. Peewit was at the head of the line, taking each bucket and emptying them onto the flames. Then he was given a pitcher, and he smelled what was in it. "It's wine." He then drank most of the contents from the pitcher and dumped the rest onto the flames. "It's good wine at that."
Johan was with the king out in the hall, trying to resuscitate him when he came to. "Oh...what happened to me?" King Audric asked. "Why did I pass out?"
"There was green smoke coming from your hearth, Your Highness," Johan said. "The servants are trying to put out the flames right now."
"Sire, the fire is out in your bedroom," one of the servants said as they left the room to return to their places.
Soon a young woman with orange hair and a pink royal dress appeared. "Uncle, is everything all right?" she asked. "I heard that there's a fire in your bedroom."
"I am fine, my dear Savina," King Audric said in a reassuring voice. "We have just taken care of a little emergency before it became a big one."
"Princess, there was thick green smoke in your uncle's bedroom, but we're not sure what caused it," Johan said.
"Thick green smoke?" Princess Savina asked, curious to know. "Not some kind of poison spell cast by an evil magician, I hope?"
"If that was the case, I would sure like to know who it was so I can stop him," Johan said.
"Johan! Princess! Your Majesty! Look what I found in the fire!" Peewit said, racing out of the bedroom carrying a small object in his hand. "It's a small flute, and the strange thing about it is that it only has six holes. Now I wonder who's the idiot who thought of burning this thing up in your hearth, Sire."
King Audric looked sideways at Princess Savina with a somewhat fierce glare as she tried to stifle her laughter.
Peewit looked at the flute rather intently. "I could sure make some great music with this flute...if only this thing can play. Let me try it out to see if it works."
Before the other three could say anything, Peewit put the flute to his mouth and blew into it, but instead of music, a cloud of thick ash came out and covered the other three.
They started at Peewit rather upset while he looked at the flute. "You know, maybe this flute could use a bit of cleaning first," he said.
"Peewit, please hand over the flute," King Audric said firmly.
But Peewit took the flute and started to walk away with it.
"PEEWIT, GIVE US THE FLUTE!" Johan shouted as he saw Peewit now run away with the flute.
Princess Savina sighed as she looked at herself. "Well, it looks like I'm going to have to clean myself up to be presentable again. If you'll excuse me..."
After Princess Savina left, Johan and King Audric talked among themselves. "It looks like Peewit's found another instrument to torment us with through his music, Johan," King Audric said.
"Majesty, that flute should have been burned up in your hearth, but it wasn't," Johan said. "And that thick green smoke that came from the hearth after you threw it in...it can't be just a coincidence."
"You're suggesting that this flute is bewitched or something?" King Audric asked.
"It's certainly no ordinary musical instrument, Sire," Johan said. "I can only wonder what else it's capable of doing."
"Maybe it will make Peewit into a better musician," King Audric jested, as the both of them laughed.