THE MAGIC RING
Patch, Mervin, and the Magic Ring by Daniela Gioseffi
The sun rose bright and early over the Land of Yot. Warm rays of light came through the steel-screened window of the prison cell where tired Patch Panda and Mervin Mouse were sound asleep. Suddenly, the sound of keys jingling in the lock of the iron door woke them up. The door creaked open.
In walked the big, strong jailer. He was a dirty, unhappy panda whose white fur had turned grey from the dust of the prison. He did not like his work. He never bothered to take a bath as all good pandas do. He walked to where Patch was sitting on his bed and handed him a rolled up paper. It looked like a paper that a king might write on when he wanted to announce something.
“Read this and weep!” said the jailer to poor Patch! Then he left locking the iron door behind him.
Mervin Mouse wiggled out from under a corner of the mattress and scurried up onto Patch’s shoulder.
Patch unrolled the paper and they read these
words: "Official Proclamation By Order of His
Majesty King Percival PandaIt is hereby
ordered that Patch Panda,
One-ring-panda of Yot, has
been found guilty of high treason by
the court such as is stated in the Law
of the Land. He is to be punished by a
public spanking, performed by the
Royal Guards, lasting for two and one-
half hours and beginning at high noon
in the public courtyard.
Signed and sealed,
King Percival of the Kingdom of Yot.
Patch looked at the gold ring on his finger, the magic ring Mervin Mouse had given him the night before. “Only a Panda, and one of pure heart, has the power to make it work,” Mervin had said.
Pinch Penny Panda by Daniela
“It can only be used once,” Mervin reminded Patch. “I have no idea what kind of magic it can make.”
Patch sat down on the dusty floor and Mervin climbed onto his knee. “Well, Mervin, my friend, your ring is our only hope! How do I make it work?” asked Patch in a whisper.
Mervin scratched his head. “Let me think!” he said excitedly, sitting down on Patch’s knee. “If I remember correctly, you must turn it slowly around on your finger while you think about your problem.”
Patch began turning the ring slowly around and around on his finger, around and around, but nothing seemed to happen.
“Keep trying, keep trying,” said Mervin, nearly fainting with worry.
Patch kept turning the ring slowly around and around and still nothing seemed to happen until finally, he noticed everything looked bluish.
“Oh, my gosh, Patch!” said Mervin. “This whole prison cell is getting all blue and cloudy looking! I can hardly see you!”
“I can hardly see you, too, Mervin!” gasped Patch.
The prison cell became filled with a thick bluish fog until Mervin and Patch couldn’t see each other at all. They kept talking to each other to keep from being scared. Finally, Patch couldn’t even hear Mervin’s voice.
After several seconds, the fog disappeared and Patch could see again, but instead of finding himself in the prison cell with Mervin, he found himself in, of all places, the public courtyard in front of Panda Palace. Actually, he found himself in front of the very platform on which he was to be publicly spanked for two and one-half hours that very day. Patch looked around for Mervin, but Mervin was nowhere to be seen. In fact, Patch couldn’t see his hand in front of his face. He looked at it, but it wasn’t there!
Suddenly, up marched a band of Royal Panda Guards. Hup two! Hup two! Hup two! They looked at the very spot where Patch was standing, but didn’t see him. They didn’t see him, because he was invisible!
So that was the power of the magic ring. It was wonderful! “No one can spank an invisible panda!” thought Patch with a sigh, as he looked up at the platform and the big wooden paddle waiting in readiness. He would have shouted for joy if the Royal Guards were not present. This was better than anything Patch or Mervin had dreamed the ring could do.
Patch Panda felt as if he had been born all over again into a brand new world, a world in which you could see everything around you and yet not be seen. There were so many things he thought of doing. He could run into the palace and sit on King Percival’s throne, or gaze into the beautiful eyes of Princess Pandora. He could run into the palace kitchen and take all the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or ice cream he could eat. Best of all, he couldn’t be spanked. Nobody could spank an invisible panda! He would love to see King Percival’s face when the Royal Guards told him that Patch Panda was nowhere to be found. Patch laughed silently to himself at the thought of it.
But there was work to be done, a mission to be fulfilled! Patch thought of his friend, Mervin Mouse, still locked in the prison cell. He had to work out a plan to free Mervin and put him back on the throne, because the throne was really Mervin’s by right.
“First,” thought Patch, “I’d better try out my new cloak of invisibility to get used to it.”
He looked around the courtyard. The Royal Panda Guards were standing around in scattered groups talking among themselves. Patch walked quietly to a group of five big guards, all dressed in their bright red uniforms with shiny gold buttons. “Ho, ho, ho!” laughed the Captain of the Royal Guards. “It will be great fun to spank that bad One-Ring-Panda, Patch! The nerve of him, dancing with the Princess all night when she had promised the next dance to me! How dare he? I can’t wait for high noon!”
The other Royal Guards laughed in agreement. Patch felt a shudder go through him as he listened. Then, Patch tip-toed ever so lightly to the tall captain, carefully measured his distance, and swung his foot hard. He kicked the big fellow right in the seat of his red satin pants and sent him sprawling on the ground.
The Captain snarled in anger and turned to the guard who had stood nearest him, “Are you trying to be funny?” he shouted, grabbing the guard by the collar.
Then, Patch stepped on the Captain’s toe and tweeked another guard by the nose and pinched another’s ear. Soon, the entire courtyard was filled with arguing, shouting Royal Guards, fighting and pushing each other as Patch squealed with laughter. They were yelling at each other too loudly to hear Patch enjoy laughing.
Patch was delighted with his invisibility. It worked perfectly and he was enjoying every minute of it, but, there was one thing he hadn’t thought of. He hadn’t thought of The Magic Crown that King Percival, who had just finished brushing his teeth, was placing on his head.
“Oh Gracious Majesty,” said the crown in a soft whisper to King Percival. “There has been an escape! The doomed Patch Panda has fled the Palace Jail House under a cloak of invisibility. Unless he is captured, you will lose the throne forever!”