Chapter 3
Patch panda meets Mervin mouse

Patch Panda was thrown into the King’s jail. Before he could pick himself up from the stone floor of his dim jail cell, he heard the door locked behind him. Poor Patch! He just sat there on the stone floor and cried rubbing his make-believe-black patch from his eye.         Then he walked up and down, up and down, the small room that was his prison cell.

       He hadn’t been given a chance to say anything for himself. He wondered when he would be punished and what his punishment would be. Such thoughts gave him shivers, and the fur on his back stood up straight. He decided to think of Princess Pandora instead.

     Patch had fallen more in love with the Princess during the dance. They had such fun talking and dancing. He wondered if she was thinking of him. He wondered if she would have danced with him if she had known that he was a One-Ring-Panda.  

      “Well, it’s too late now,” thought Patch. “Now, I’ll never know!”

      The night passed ever so slowly! No one came to visit Patch and no one came to cheer him up. He couldn’t even hear the guards outside his cell. He tried and tried, pushing and pulling the heavy iron door, but it wouldn’t budge. Finally, he sat down on the dirty old mattress of his prison bed, with his head in his hands, and stared at the floor.

     Suddenly, he saw something scurry across the stone floor in front of him. Then, Patch saw the tiny form of a little gray mouse seated just across from him. 

Patch and Mervin by Keir Sampson

     Patch was so happy to see another living creature that he motioned for the little mouse to come closer and spoke to it.        “I wish you could talk to me!” said Patch, not expecting an answer.

      The mouse stood up on his hind legs and climbed up a post of the bed. “Oh, but I can talk to you!” He squeaked in a little mouse voice.

    Mervin and Patch behind bars by  Keir Sampson

       Patch was very surprised to hear a mouse talking. He didn’t know what to say, but the mouse was very friendly and climbed onto Patch’s knee, making himself quite at home there. “My name is Mervin Mouse,” he said. “Who are you, and how did you end up in here?”

     “My name is Patch Panda. I’m a One-ring-panda who has to work hard all day. I went to a party in the palace and danced with Princess Pandora. I disobeyed the law of the land that says One-Ring-Pandas are not allowed to have fun or go to the King’s Birthday Ball. King Percival had his soldiers put me in here,” said Patch very sadly. “I’m to be punished very badly.”

       Mervin Mouse became suddenly very excited and angry all at once. He began jumping up and down on Patch’s knee. “King Percival did you say?” he squeaked excitedly. Then he climbed up to Patch’s shoulder and whispered into Patch’s ear, “King Percival is my brother!”

       “What a funny joke!” laughed Patch. “It’s nice of you to try to cheer me up.”

       “No, no,” said Mervin excitedly, “King Percival is my brother. He stole The Magic Crown from me many, many years ago. I was very young, but I was three minutes older than my twin brother. Therefore, I was crowned King Percival of Yot. My twin brother, whose name was Prince Pubert, was dining with me one day soon after I was crowned with my Magic Crown. He asked to borrow The Magic Crown for a second to solve a crossword puzzle he was doing. I thought nothing of it, for I didn’t know how jealous he was of my being the king. I let him borrow it.

     Then suddenly, as I reached for my supper, I couldn’t even see the top of the table. I had become very small. In a flash, I realized what had happened. Prince Pubert had used the powers of The Magic Crown to change me into a little gray mouse, just as you see me now. When I looked up, there stood Pubert, looking just as I had looked as King Percival, wearing The Magic Crown and grinning happily.”

    “How awful for you! How terrible!” moaned Patch. 

    “That isn’t all,” said Mervin. “As if he had not done enough to me already, he snatched me up and carried me down a secret stairway to this prison cell. How I struggled to get free from his grasp, but it was no use. I was a tiny mouse and he was a giant panda, just as I had been a moment before. He must have had this cell built so that there would be no holes for me to escape through. Look!” pointed Mervin in despair. “The door is solid iron; the window is screened with steel and the walls and floor are solid stone.

      “What did you live on all these years?” asked patch. “Was food given to you?”

      “Food, ugh!” shuddered Mervin. “A crust of stale bread now and then that was so hard I could hardly nibble through it. A bit of smelly old cheese and a bowl of water once a day!”

     “How did you get the name Mervin Mouse?”

KeirsMervinMouse.jpg
Mervin Mouse by Keir Sampson

     “Oh, I gave that name to myself after awhile. I certainly couldn’t call myself King Percival any longer. It made me feel bad with remembering. I was trying to get used to being a mouse. When you are alone for such a long time, you learn to talk to yourself, because you are your only company.”

     Patch nodded in agreement and said, “Well, Mervin, at least you are still alive! Where there is life there is hope!”

Suddenly, Mervin Mouse cheered up. He jumped off Patch’s shoulder and ran down to the floor. He scurried over to a dusty corner of the jail cell. He scratched away at the dust and it flew in all directions. He was digging for something. “Ah ha,” he squeaked. “It’s still here!” Then he lifted a shiny object, hung it on one of his ears, and ran back to Patch.

     “This, my friend,” he said, taking the shiny object from his ear, “is a Magic Ring given to me by my grandmother when I was a boy-panda. It’s the only thing I still had with me when I was locked in this cell. It’s been so long since I buried it. I nearly forgot it. It’s been of no use to me because only a panda can use it, and I am a mouse. It fell down around my neck, hidden by my gray mouse fur, when my jealous brother Pubert changed me into a mouse. My grandmother was so old when she gave it to me that she couldn’t remember what it’s powers were. She said it could only be used once by a panda and only if he had a good and gentle heart. She told me to save it for a day when I would really need it.

     Patch, my friend,” squeaked Mervin hopefully, “this Magic Ring may save you from your punishment. It may even put me back on the throne. If it doesn’t work, neither of us has anything to lose! We have to think carefully about how to use it.  

     "It only grants one wish you say?”asked Patch wondering if it could possibly work. 

     “Yes, only one!” squeaked Mervin. “We have to think very carefully what that should be. I sure hope you have a good and gentle heart, Patch!Or, it won't grant us a wish.”