Out for a balloon ride an Owl and a disagreeable cat, Daphne Feline, are marooned on the Island of Simplicity, which is inundated by a giant wave every Thursday. Refusing to believe the warnings of the island inhabitants, Daphne is swept out to sea to be picked up by a pirate ship. By being disagreeable and bossy she rises to captain, only to end up back on the island where she is offered the job of Queen of the Bling Gum people. This she foolishly accepts without asking about terms and conditions, which turn out to be dire. After surviving an attempt to franchise his operations the dreaded pirate Captain Wirewhiskers is persuaded by Owl to help in rescuing Daphne, and Owl and Daphne open a night club in Rio.
'Stop fiddling with the controls,' said the cat. 'We'll land in the sea. The balloon is getting lower all the time. Just turn up the gas '.
The red and white striped balloon that carried two passengers, one a handsome ginger cat, was no longer fat, and round, it was more pear shaped, and sinking towards the water. Folds appeared in the material as the hot air inside cooled down.
'It's not my fault,' said Owl. 'There isn't any gas to turn up. It's running out fast. We will have to throw something overboard so we can stay up a little longer.'
They threw out some unopened tins of strawberry jam. That helped, but not much.
Owl looked around and saw a small case with the initials DF engraved on it. It belonged to his travelling companion, Daphne Feline. He threw it overboard.
'That was my make-up case,' shrieked the cat. 'Stop the balloon.'
No one can stop a balloon, it goes where the wind drives it, and the cat could only watch as her make-up case sank out of sight.
'This is going to cost you,' she said. 'Hundreds of dollars worth of makeup gone. How can I compete in the Annual Cat Show without my makeup. I should never have come on this so called holiday.'
'There's an island just ahead,' said Owl. 'Throwing out the case may have made all the difference.'
'We're sinking lower all the time. I'll never forgive you, Owl, if we land in the sea. You know I hate getting wet.'
'I'll fly the rest of the way,' said Owl, 'That may help.'
In spite of all this their balloon hit the water and sank not far from the shores of the Island of Simplicity. Owl was able to fly to safety, but the cat, Daphne, remained on the wreckage of their balloon as it slid under the waves, and called loudly for assistance.
Some islanders were on the shore, fishing. Owl hooted at them to draw their attention to the unfolding tragedy.
They dropped their fishing gear and swam out to circle the wreckage until the cat jumped on to the head of one of them and stuck in her claws, nearly driving the swimmer under the water.
'You're splashing me,' she cried, and dug in her claws even further as her rescuers swam towards the beach. 'Be more careful, I'm wet through.'
Safely on the beach Daphne spent some time licking her fur and trying to shake water off her paws.
'Where are those persons who brought me ashore?' she asked. 'They were all splashing me, I'll give them a piece of my mind. It will take hours for me to get dry, and I'll look a fright without my make-up.'
'You can't talk to any of them,' said Owl, 'It was the mayor who rescued you, And they have taken him away to treat the claw-marks on his head'.
Owl thought they might be marooned on the island for some time so he built Daphne a hut of palm fronds on the beach and covered it with the canopy of the balloon which had been washed ashore.
Daphne refused to help.
She said, 'The disaster was all your fault. You lured me on to the balloon with false promises. You didn't bring enough gas and you should have known that strawberry jam was not a suitable food for a balloon voyage, particularly one which lasted for months. If I never taste strawberry jam again it will be too soon.'
Owl said, 'I'm sorry about the jam, but I brought my life savings, for emergencies, such as this.'
'Yes, I know about your life savings, and it amounts to the grand sum of fifty cents. How are we going to live on that, pray?'
Owl pointed out that they needed no money. They would live as the Simps did and eat fruit fallen from the trees. If a change of diet was required they needed only to go to the sea shore with a frying pan, hold it out over the water and call in the sweetest tones; ‘Here fishy fishy. Come, jump into my pan to start the greatest adventure of your life. The Simps did it all the time and there was never a shortage of fish eager to try something new.'
Daphne had a cold. She sniffed and said she had never heard such nonsense in her life, but if he wished to waste his time he was free to do so. She was going to lie down in the hut as soon as he had brought enough palm fronds and bracken for her bed, and he could call her when the fish was ready.
Everything went well at first, the fish behaved as expected, were cooked, and the fruit was delicious. Daphne did not like fruit but ate the fish. She said she preferred trout and advised Owl to try another spot on the shore to see if he could get trout next time.
He said that trout was a fresh water fish and they were on an island surrounded by seawater, which is salt, and she said not to bother her with details but to use his initiative.
After they had eaten Daphne went into the hut to sleep while Owl perched on a branch overhead. He wanted to keep an eye on the hut during the night.
Next morning he was awakened by the murmuring of a crowd which had gathered below his branch. There were about a hundred Simps present, perhaps all that lived on the Island of.Simplicity.
One of them knocked on the door of the hut. Owl flew down to perch on the roof.
Heading the callers was the mayor. Owl knew him straight away because of the bits of sticking plaster all over his bald head.
'Good morning,' said Owl.
'Good morning,' said the mayor
'Tell them to go away,' said Daphne who was still in bed. 'I have a shocking headache, as well as a cold. I don’t want to be disturbed, and I look awful because you threw my make-up case into the sea.'
'What can we do for you?' enquired Owl politely.
'Ask them if they have any kitty litter', said the cat, from within the hut. 'It is most uncivilized not to have kitty litter, and you should never have gone ballooning without it.'
'We have no kitty litter' said the mayor, but we saw this beautiful hut you have built and came to tell you that tomorrow is tree climbing day.'
'Tree climbing day, I see,' said Owl, who was puzzled, 'And why is tomorrow tree climbing day?'
'Because tomorrow is Thursday'.
'Do tell them to go away,' said Daphne. 'I refuse to climb trees on Thursdays, or any other day. This is some ignorant superstition of theirs.'
'No it is not!' said the mayor, shaking his head. 'Every Thursday we climb the highest trees on the island and stay there until we are safe. The Gum trees are the tallest, so we climb those.'
'They’re mad, the lot of them,’ said Daphne. 'I will never forgive you, Owl, for talking me into this foolish trip on your balloon, of which you spoke so highly, and the first ship that calls here, I’m joining it to work my way home. I would sooner be a ship’s cat than trust my life to these savages.'
Owl was thinking about other things. 'Why do you climb the Gum trees every Thursday?'
'To escape the wave.'
'Every Thursday a great big wave comes out of the sea and sweeps over the island. No one can remember any Thursday when it did not come. This lovely hut you have built will be swept away tomorrow, and you also, unless you are up in a Gum tree with us.'