|The War Of The Seven Springs|
|Original title||Les Schtroumpfs et l'abre d'or|
|Year of publication||1959|
The War of the Seven Springs is the title of a Johan and Peewit comicbook in which the Smurfs make their second appearance, albeit a brief one. It has currently been published in English by Papercutz as part of The Smurfs Anthology Volume 2.
While on a journey, Peewit's "shortcuts" get him and Johan lost. After they pass through a dark forest, a storm begins, so they take refuge in a nearby castle. The drawbridge is open, but nobody is around. Strangely, even though the castle is clearly abandoned, the furniture is still there.
Hours later at night, when they are sleeping, Peewit hears a sound and awakens Johan, who decides to investigate. After a while, they encounter a ghost from which they run until Peewit falls from a window, and then the ghost helps Johan to find a ladder to help his friend climb back, proving he intends his living visitors no harm.
The ghost explains that in life he had been Sir Aldebert Baufort, the last owner of the castle which belonged to his family for many generations. In his day, many long years before, the town he had lorded over had been a happy and prosperous one, his fertile lands yielding much in grapes and fueling his winery, thanks to the seven springs which flowed nearby. Sadly however, Aldebert was a heavy drinker and one given year, the grape harvest was really bad and the stored wine became sour. With the lack of wine, Aldebert had to drink water which made him unsociable and irritable. Then one day a witch named Sara kindly offered him a wish to lift his spirits, and Aldebert unwisely asked to have wine instead of water sprouting from the seven springs. The wish was granted, but new troubles started: his tenants were neglecting their crops to drink, everybody was doing his job badly, there was no food that wasn't made with wine, there were constant fights, and even the cattle were scattered and drunk. Aldebert eventually went to Sara demanding that she undo the wish, but she reminded him that he had just the one. When Aldebert got angry at Sara and tried to force her to take back the wish, she retaliated by causing the springs to go dry causing a severe drought. The thirsting townspeople moved away, leaving Aldebert alone. When he died, his spirit was taken to task by those of his ancestors for allowing his love of wine to ruin their land. Denying him a place among them, they cursed him to wander the castle for one night a month, until the seven springs were restored and an heir to the castle could be found.
Johan decides to help Aldebert. Informed that Sara has been gone for a long time, he goes with Peewit find out if she has any descendants living who can undo the spell. After hours under the sun, they meet a sheep-herder who refreshes them with milk, and when they ask him about Sara, he says his uncle, a village healer living at the end of the road, once told him about her. When they visit the healer, he tells them he has no idea if anyone inherited Sara's magic powers, but the wizard Panduro, who lives at the entrance of a nearby forest, should know. Despite the healer's warnings about Panduro, Johan goes to see him, along with a scared Peewit. When the intimidating Panduro greets them, Peewit runs away, but then returns to find Johan leaving the wizard safe and sound. Panduro has told him that the heir of Sara's powers is another witch named Rachel.
Three days later, they arrive at Rachel's house. She tells them Sara never revealed how to undo the spell over the seven springs, but then Peewit discovers one of the Smurfs' magic flutes, and realizes that Rachel must be connected to them. She acknowledges this, adding they lent her the flute, and will soon come to reclaim it. Right then, Papa Smurf arrives. After hearing out his human friends' story, he tells them he can make them a water-finder wand with a shrub that grows at the Cursed Land, assuring them it will be ready in three days, by the time they return to the site of the seven springs.
Three days later, Johan and Peewit meet at the arranged site with Papa Smurf and a group of Smurfs that bring the wand. Johan uses the wand to find water hidden underneath each spring and, at midnight, Aldebert's ghost is happy with the results, but he reminds Johan and Peewit that there is still one more thing for him to do in order to join his ancestors: one of his descendants must move into the castle.
The following day, several men arrive claiming to be the descendant of Baufort, and while they and their men fight about who is the real one, a servant of John Baufort, great-great-grandson of Aldebert, arrives, claiming that his master has the Bauforts' seal as proof that he is the real one.
The fake Bauforts make a temporary truce to get rid of John and steal his seal, and they imprison Johan, Peewit and the servant in the dungeon. John is at Besdorf, which is eight days away, and the fake Bauforts send a message to lure him over to trap him (sending one messenger of each, since no one trusts the others).
That night, Aldebert unintentionally scares the pretenders that he believes are his real heirs, but when Johan tells him the full story, he scares them delibrately until he succeeds in getting one of them to free the prisoners. Johan and Peewit escape, but the servant is recaptured.
Johan and Peewit go to Besdorf, but are delayed due to another of Peewit's "shortcuts". When they finally arrive, the fake Bauforts' messengers are already there warning John that Johan and Peewit are enemies. Consequently, John orders their immediate arrest.
In the local dungeon, Johan manages to tell the real story to John, and uses an old letter from Aldebert, with the Baufort seal stamped, as proof. Johan devises a plan to confirm to John the truth of his words: first, a fake messenger arrives claiming John's servant has escaped from the seven springs castle. At first, the messengers deny knowledge, until John tells he has a letter from his servant telling about his imprisonment. When he produces the "letter", the messengers confess and John then reveals it was just a blank paper.
Three weeks later, twelve riders arrive to the seven springs castle. The fake Bauforts believe they are their messengers and open the doors for them, just to find it's Johan with a group of knights. They take the drawbridge and give an attack signal to John, who was awaiting behind the hill. The battle is undecided until night falls and the ghost of Adlebert re-appears. He orders his false heirs to surrender to the real heir John. Those who don't are ambushed and captured. John frees his servant and settles in the castle, while Aldebert's ghost is finally allowed to join the spirits of his ancestors in the afterlife.
Peewit, just for fun, goes to the dungeon and tells the fake Bauforts that one messenger had orders to betray the others, so his master deserves a reward in freedom and money for contributing to the complete failure of their scheme, but nobody knows which one was the messenger's master. Each alleges to be the traitor, and while they begin fighting for the "honor" to be such, Peewit laughs at the result of his little joke.
- Both the Smurfs and the flute with six holes had previously appeared in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute.
- This story was used as the basis for the TV episode "The Haunted Castle".
- In the television cartoon version, the background of how Adelert's ghost became cursed was not mentioned; it is only said he was cursed by Sara, who never appeared even in flashback. Also, the Smurfs were given a more active supporting role as well.