THE MIGHTY BARRIBAL - Episode 1, 2, 3, 4

These are the first four installments of the serialization of the Mighty Barribal.  Each day will feature the next installment of the story.

Episode 1

The days were getting shorter in what was a sure sign of winter approaching, and so sharp little Ocelot, always thinking one step ahead, prepared for the future with a good stack of firewood.

Sign Up for E-News

“That’ll be nice and cozy once the snow gets here,” he thought. “I’m ready for everything now!”

Well, not quite everything, as we shall see.

One blustery morning in late fall, as he was checking on the draft of his chimney, his old friend from the neighborhood, Squire Olivier B. Bomble, came driving up to his cottage in a surprise visit.

“You didn’t expect me here today, did you now?” exclaimed the motoring gentleman. “But not to worry; I took care of everything. A drop of cod liver oil in the gasoline, a few aspirins in the coolant, and plenty of fresh air in the tires. In other words, young friend, all’s ready for a great road trip!”

“What road trip?” Ocelot asked dubiously. “And why now?”

“Because it’s cold and it’s damp is why now,” said Squire Ollie. “But down south the sun is shining and it’s nice and warm to boot. And that’s just the ticket for a gentleman with my fragile constitution—especially after all the hardships of this past fall. Now then, young friend, don’t always put yourself first. You wouldn’t want me to travel all alone, would you? So there!”

With this torrent of words, he ushered Ocelot to the patiently waiting Old Flash, and moments later the traveling party set out for the warm and sunny south. But it wasn’t long before a cold wind kicked up, tearing at the soft top roof, while smoldering clouds coursed ahead of them through a leaden sky.

“They are also going south,” Ocelot observed with a shiver. “So how would that make things better down there?”

“The sun eliminates all bad vapors and that’s a fact,” explained Squire Bomble. “Give it an hour or so and you’ll be glad that you came along.”

Little did he know what was really awaiting them down the road...


Episode 2

The Old Flash trundled on—over hill and over dale—giving its all, but the farther south it went, the colder it got. The wind had grown into a full-blown storm and the linen top proved no match for the roaring elements. Before evening fell, both occupants of the vehicle were chilled to the bone.

“I’m not enjoying this very much,” said Ocelot. “At least there would have been a nice, warm fire back home...”

“Will you please stop your nagging,” Squire Ollie chided him with chattering teeth. “What about me, then? By now, Jobes would have had a hearty meal ready, but here I am, driving for hours on end, just to treat you to a pleasant day. And what do I get?”

He suddenly fell silent and pointed to a ramshackle building shaking in the wind. The moon cast a ghostly light on its grimy walls and a battered sign above the door swung back and forth on rusty hooks, its creaks and groans audible above the howling storm.

“A cozy inn!” Squire Bomble exclaimed. “Now we can enjoy a well-deserved meal by a crackling fire. And after a good night’s rest, you’ll see that there’ll be plenty of sunshine in the morning.”

But it was not to be. As the thoroughly chilled travelers approached the front door, only the top half opened, revealing a haggard-looking innkeeper urgently flailing his arms in a signal to turn back.

“Flee while you can!” he squealed. “This place has the mark of Barribal on it. It’s history, and I’m packing up.”

Squire Ollie was taken aback for a moment, but then he bade the hotelier aside and entered the establishment with a reassuring smile.

“Are we talking about trouble with your suppliers, perhaps?” he suggested suavely. “Take comfort, my good man; I am a gentleman of quality for whom money plays no role. Please put a pot of soup on the stove, and I’ll see what I can do.”


Episode 3

Squire Bomble sat down at a wobbly table. He now had his first good look of the dining room and came to the realization that this shaky little inn was not the cheerful lodge he had imagined. Walls were creaking in the wind, windows were rattling in their frames, and the cloth on the table was doing its finest impression of sails ruffling in the wind.

The intrepid traveler, however, appeared ready to trade at least some cozy comforts for a solid meal. “A nourishing soup then...” he tried again. “For starters...”

“Gentlemen, I beg of you!” the innkeeper pleaded, wringing his hands with anxiety. “I cannot help you. It’s the end of the road for my business. It’s on Barribal’s black list.”

“Would that be the brewery, then?” Squire Ollie inquired, returning to an earlier theme. “I cannot imagine how that would mean the end of your fine establishment. But anyway, how about that soup—good and hot, please—and then we’ll see about...”

“No, it’s not about a brewery!” the innkeeper cut him off desperately. “It’s about a giant! An angry giant from the mountains. And he’s after me because I once said that I didn’t believe in him!”

“So there’s your solution!” exclaimed Squire Bomble, who at last seemed to understand. “Stop believing in him not once but altogether and he’ll go away quietly, simple as that. Besides, no giant will harm you while I’m a guest under your roof. What do you say, young friend?”

“Hm,” said Ocelot.

“What do you mean by that ‘Hum’?” Squire Ollie asked reprovingly. “I for one am not going back into that cold, especially since we’re only talking giants. Plus, here inside things could be a lot worse, so let’s make ourselves comfortable.”

Ocelot had been listening uncertainly to the wooden structure straining under the violence of the storm. But before he was able to comment on it, a terrific wind charged at the building like a herd of mad elephants, ripping the roof cleanly off it. And with that, the patrons at the once-inviting roadhouse found themselves enjoying the great outdoors after all.

Episode 4

Next up were the contents of the building. Tables and chairs, innkeeper and guests, hopes and dreams—all were swept up by the merciless storm and dumped unceremoniously behind the remnant of a basement wall.

For several long moments, the owner of the former hotel looked on helplessly but then he got up and left the scene of destruction with loud complaints about his lot in life. Soon though, his heartfelt groans dissolved in the wind, bringing to a close his brief and unhappy tenure in this story.

“It must be that Barribal...” Squire Ollie muttered. He had managed to liberate himself from some nasty wreckage and continued in a strangulated voice: “What a terrible ordeal, this wrath of a giant! A fair warning would have been most appropriate. How about you, young friend?”

“It was the storm,” said Ocelot. “This was a rickety old building and it couldn’t withstand the force of the wind. But let’s not stay out in the open; let’s go to the Old Flash. At least it still has a roof on it.”

Squire Bomble rose to his feet with near-superhuman effort and shuffled down the stone steps, leaning heavily on his friend’s shoulder.

“A roof over my head,” he said. “It’s what I need now more than ever. Whatever you call it, monster storm or monstrous giant; I am not built for hardships like this. What am I doing in this awful country, anyway? And how did I ever get here, I wonder?”

With these words, he climbed into his automobile and pulled his coat tight about him, trying to find what comfort he could behind the wheel. But the wind came at them from every which way, rocking the brave little vehicle like a cradle from hell. And the rain, too, was in on the nightmarish scene, showering them with lots of unwanted attention and soaking them to the skin. All in all, it was not a good night for sleeping.


Translation Copyright © 2014 by Adrian Meerman © Text and Images Toonder Company, Netherlands


‘Tales from the life of Olivier B. Bomble, gentleman,’ was serialized in Dutch newspapers for many years, and Squire Bomble, his good friend Ocelot and many others have become household names in the Netherlands. This is their first appearance in the US after the successful translation into English by Adrian Meerman, a Sparta resident.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: Drunk Brooklyn Man Asks Police to Shoot Him

May 20, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Brooklyn man was taken for observation when he asked police to shoot him after having crashed his car down an embankment on County Road 517 near the Sparta Middle School.  On May 17 around 2:06 a.m. Sparta Police Officers Brian Porter and Timothy Lynott found Joshua Lindland of Brooklyn asleep in the driver’s seat of a gray Audi against a tree, police ...

Sparta Police: Passengers Face Drug Charges in Traffic Stop

SPARTA, NJ – Two Wantage women face drug charges after the car they were in was stopped for a broken headlight on Route 15.  On May 5 around 2 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Ben Griffin pulled over Alex Torres, 22, driving a white Honda Accord with two passengers, police say.

The officer saw a metal marijuana grinder behind the driver’s seat.  The car and ...

JCP&L Latest Information, Free Ice and Water

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – As of 8:47 p.m. JCP&L is reporting 12,745 customers or 22.11 percent, are without power in Sussex County.  In Sparta 2749 or 32 percent remain in the dark.

JCP&L said they anticipate the “vast majority of the remaining customers to be restored to service by late Thursday.”

JCP&L customers without power can get ice and water ...

Sparta Education Foundation Thanks Community for Dragon Boat Festival Success

May 26, 2018

Dear Editor,

The Sparta Education Foundation’s Fourth Annual Dragon Boat Festival drew thousands to the Lake Mohawk Boardwalk on Sunday, May 20.  From the sponsors, participants and schools to the many volunteers and cheering spectators, the Dragon Boat Festival was a true reflection of Sparta Pride.

Congratulations to the Dragon Boat Festival’s top three teams: First Place ...

Republican Party Values

Campaigns are interesting things.

Throughout the process, my opponents' supporters have labeled me a "political prostitute", "pimping" a message as a "spokesperson". I've been in a public meeting when referred to as a "lackey" who 
"belongs in a cage like the animal you are".

It's been said directly to me by a ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market


Sat, May 26, 11:00 AM

Sparta High School Media Center, Sparta

Sparta High School Art Gala

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market


Sat, June 9, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 16, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Thu, June 21, 2:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Summer Afternoon Garden Soiree

Home & Garden


Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Newton's Petition to Move Election Certified, Tabled to May 30 by Council

May 15, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—The petition to move elections from May to November was certified by the clerk and presented to the Newton Town Council at the meeting on Monday night.  The petition has been circulating since April and was a point of controversy in the recent council election campaigns.

According to the town attorney, the town clerk certified “369 valid signatures of qualified ...

Vehicular Homicide Charges for Driver of Paramus School Bus

May 25, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The driver of a school bus involved in a crash on Route 80 last week that killed two people faces two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide/death by auto, it was announced today.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Woodland Park, attempted to make an illegal U-Turn on the highway in an attempt to find his way to Waterloo Village, the planned destination of the bus that was ...

Sneak Peek! Highly Desirable Lake Mohawk 3BR

Longing to live the lake lifestyle? Today's your lucky day! Take a sneak peek at our newest home available in Sparta's highly desirable Lake Mohawk community, and get ready for our OPEN HOUSE Saturday, June 2nd from 1pm-3pm.

This 3 bedroom, 2 bath home at 137 Hillside Road, Sparta, features a wood burning insert in the living room fireplace, perfect ...

Why You Should Buy Your NJ Home Before Interest Rates Rise

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed from 3.95% in the first week of January up to 4.61% last week, marking a 7-year high according to Freddie Mac. Many factors fueled the current pace of acceleration.  Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, opines:

“Healthy consumer spending and higher commodity prices spooked bond markets and led to higher mortgage ...

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now?


Bottom Line

According to the US Census Bureau, ‘millennials’ are defined as 18-36-year-olds.

According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 32.

More and more ‘old millennials’ (25-36) now realize homeownership is within their grasp now!

Are YOU ready for ...

Find Your Dream Home During Our DOUBLE Open House Weekend!

The forecast for this weekend is rain, rain, and more rain---so why not spend your time touring your new home?  Team Nest Builder offers 2 wonderful Open Houses this weekend, PLUS a new listing for you to check out via video tour!

27 Hilltop Trail, Sparta

Step into your own fairytale with this Lake Mohawk, storybook-sweet 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom gem! Gather in front of the rustic ...

Help Feed Hungry Sussex County Families Through Foodstock

Did you realize food pantry shortages INCREASE during the summer months? Decreased donations and increased need due to the summer break from school lunch and breakfast programs leave many Sussex County families hungry.  

Enter Foodstock:  an annual spring countywide food drive started 15 years ago through the coordinated efforts of Pass it Along, United Way of Northern New Jersey, ...

3 Tips for Making Your Home-Ownership Dream a Reality


Here's Highlights:

Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check = one of the best ways to save without thinking much about it.

Living within a budget right now helps you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts holding you back.  What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders May 9 video

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ - Video of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders May 9 meeting. 


SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Enrollment Begins June 2 For Lord Stirling's Summer Riding Lessons

May 26, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — The Somerset County Park Commission will be conducting registration for summer horseback riding classes and other seasonal programs at Lord Stirling Stable, located at 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, N.J.  

Lessons are offered to juniors (ages 9-17) and adults, and will accommodate first-time beginners through more advanced levels with jumping ...