Slipper-on-the-Water is one of twelve Minnipin villages in a valley known as the Land Between the Mountains. Slipper-on-the-Water is special, as it is home to a clan known as the Periods, descendants of the patriarch Fooley the Magnificent or the Great Fooley who constructed a balloon and flew to the land beyond the mountains and came back bringing a case of curiosities some four hundred, forty years ago. They hold high offices in Slipper-on-the-Water, have a very high opinions of themselves and have a "Council of Periods" that rules the village.
Also living in the village are a group of Minnipins referred to as "Them" by the other villagers: Gummy, a carefree poet who writes silly poems, Walter the Earl, who hunts for treasure that he believes to be hidden in his back yard, and Curley Green, artist and painter. These Minnipins shun the tradition-based existence of other Minnipins and do things such as wear different-colored cloaks and have different color doors. Two other Minnipin villagers who later become one of "Them" are Muggles, who is a candymaker and runs the Fooley Museum and Mingy, the village Money Keeper.
One night, Muggles wakes up and sees what she at first thinks is the sunrise in the Sunset Mountains in the West but were actually fires. She also sees Gummy staggering around back to Walter the Earl's house. At first she thinks that seeing the fires on the mountains was just a dream, but later on in talking to Gummy and realizes that it was not a dream.
While digging for treasure, Walter the Earl burrows into a chamber under his house and discovers many iron chests that contain ancient scrolls, swords, armor and military trumpets which are very old. The scrolls reveal that Fooley the Magnificent was a foolish person who stole a ride in a toymaker's balloon at a fun fair and somehow made it back as a hero.
The mayor returns from the annual meeting of village mayors with news that there will be a contest to find the most prosperous, happiest, prettiest, the finest village in the Land Between the Mountains. The winning village will win the most valuable thing in the valley: The Gammage Cup, Vessel of Wisdom.
The villagers are excited to participate in the contest but the Periods members convince the rest of the villagers that "They" will ruin their chances to win the Gammage Cup because they don't want to conform to the norms of the village (having green doors and green cloaks). During a town meeting some of the Periods want to "outlaw" them. The Mayor tries to fix the situation, but Walter the Earl prevents him from doing so and says that they will be "outlawing Slipper on the Water". Mingy, the curmudgeonly money keeper who resists spending money for "fancying up the village" is also outlawed.
The "Outlaw" group paddles up the Watercress River, then up the Little Trickle to Gummy's stone cabin on The Knoll. They moved in but find out that it was too small for all of them to live inside and decide to sleep outside until a new house is built. Tis leads them into a hectic work pattern in which noth seems to get done until Mugglse steps forward to organizetheir working efforts. After much work and progress is made, they have a chance to go exploring the Old Mines in the Sunset Mountains. Walter the Earl brings an iron sword from the treasure that he found. While they are in the cave, it glows (as a warning) as they heard odd tapping sounds in the caves. After they return to The Knoll they begin to doubt what they have seen in the cave, however when a similar phenomenon occurs a short time later they are convinced that something dangerous is afoot. Supposing that the legendary enemies of the Minnipins known as The Mushrooms have returned and are preparing to attack, they decide to hold a council of war.
After much disscussion, Muggles decides that Mingy is the best member to scout out who or what is in the Old Mines. He would hike to Mingy's Rock to watch from a distance and leave a message by the rocks in case he was captured. The rest of the "Outlaws" will be close in the hill behind Mingy's Rock with swords in case he needs help. Everyone is in place and Mingy spies movement of several creatures on the face of the mountain. They were a head taller than Minnipin, hairless with mushroom colored skin and wore tight, brownish-white clothes that let their round bellies bulge out. These were the Hairless Mushrooms and there were 200 or more of them coming, all with big ears and very smelly. Mingy tries to get back to the others but gets his foot stuck between some rocks. The rest of the Outlaws rush to save Mingy as their swords become hot and glowing. They chase most of the Mushrooms away but four of them injure and capture Mingy. Gummy follows them into the Old Mines cave and returns after he is hit by a poisonous spear.
The group head back to Gummy's cabin on the Knoll to tend to Gummy's wound which is getting worse. His wound gets so bad that he is delirious and can't be moved, so it is decided that Curly Green and Muggles stay and defend him while Walter the Earl would head back down to Slipper-on-the-Water to raise an army to fight the Mushrooms.
Walter the Earl tries to tell the Periods mayor and council about the coming Mushrooms army but they would not listen. He decides to ask some of the Minnipin friends to spread the word to the rest of the village to join his army.
Deep in the Old Mines caves, Mingy's hurt foot woke him up and he saw that the Mushrooms wanted to kill him but the biggest belly Mushroom boss said no. In the argument, one of the Mushrooms was scratched by a poison spear and Mingy saw that a pot with some white stuff was used to fix him up and Mingy thought it might fix up his foot too. After the Mushrooms left to fight, he put some white stuff on his hurt foot which got better and thought how he could help the Minnipin army to fight the Mushrooms.
Walter the Earl was arming the Minnipin villagers with the magic swords when the village council of Periods told them go home because Walter the Earl was telling them a fake story. In the meanwhile the Mushroom army was at the bottom of Gummy's Knoll and began their war chant as they slowly climbed up towards the cabin where Gummy, Curly Green and Muggles were hiding. When the Minnipin villagers hear the war cry, they all knew that the story was true and moves to rescue Gummy, Curly Green and Muggles.
The Mushroom army attacked the cabin where Gummy, Curly Green and Muggles were hiding. Gummy became weak because of the poison and Curly Green was knock out while Muggles fought the Mushrooms who tried to get in thru the windows and doors. Just as they were about to break in, the Minnipin army attacked and a fierce battle ensues. As the Mushrooms flee back into the Old Mines caves, Mingy sets a heap of sleeping mats on fire, making it impossible for the Mushrooms to escape. They rush back out to escape the flames and are defeated by the Minnipin army. Mingy happily comes out of the cave holding the pot with the white stuff to cure Gummy and all the injured Minnipins soldiers.
The Period village council was sorry that they made the Outlaws leave the village and didn't care about winning the Gammage Cup contest anymore. On their way back to the village, Gummy and Curly Green announce their engagement, as do Mingy and Muggles.
The villagers hang garlands and streamers to celebrate the safe arrival home of the soldiers and the five Outlaws, who are now respected, and paint all the doors of the houses different colors. The mayor gives a speech, so does Muggles and someone strikes up a song where everybody goes out into the meadow beyond the village to celebrate.
While the villagers celebrate, the three judges of the Gammage Cup contest arrive. Witnessing the happy scene, they decide that Slipper-on-the-Water is the most deserving village and leave the Gammage Cup in the town square.
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Famous quotes containing the word plot:
“The plot thickens, he said, as I entered.”
—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (18591930)
“We have defined a story as a narrative of events arranged in their time-sequence. A plot is also a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then the queen died of grief is a plot. The time sequence is preserved, but the sense of causality overshadows it.”
—E.M. (Edward Morgan)