Gerald, Jimmy and Kathleen were at school in a little town in the west of England-the boys at one school and the girl at another. They used to see each other on Saturdays and Sundays at the house of a kind maiden lady named Miss Hervey. As the holidays were fast approaching, they decided to go home instead of being at the house of Miss Hervey. After a lot of letters and telegrams, it was arranged that the boys would go and stay at their sister Kathleen’s school where there were no girls left and no mistresses except the French one. With the permission of the French governess, they decided to go out in the woods for some outdoor games. They went along the Salisbury road and they came to a place where the road went two ways at once. Gerald noticed a cave behind the bushes. They walked through the darkness of the cave. As they reached the other end of the cave, there came a glimmer of daylight and they noticed a castle. They couldn’t find anyone outside the castle.
Then they noticed a sleeping princess at the centre of a maze. She had jeweled rings on every finger. Considering her to be like the sleeping beauty Jimmy kissed on the princess’s pale cheek. Immediately she opened the eyes and wondered who aroused her from her long sleep of hundred years. She told it was an enchanted castle. She invited them to a room in the castle and told them that it was her treasure chamber. She even showed them some magical things like a bracelet, brooch and a ring. The ring was magical in the sense that it granted the wishes of a person who wore it. When the princess wore the ring, she became invisible and the jewels vanished.
They started playing. Afterwards when the princess tried to remove the ring, she couldn’t and she started crying. Then she revealed the truth to them that she was not a princess but just the housekeeper’s niece, Mabel Prowse. As they were scared to continue in the castle, they went back taking Mabel with them. Next day, Mabel encouraged them to go to the temple of Flora. From there they went to a waste bit of land where a fair was held. When they were hungry they tried to earn money by showing people some magic. Gerald became the conjurer (a person playing magic tricks) by playing the game of being invisible with the help of Mabel. Many people came to see the tricks. The last trick was to wrap the shawl around Gerald but he didn’t vanish.
The shawl being invisible didn’t conceal him. Somehow he managed to get the ring of Mabel and disappeared. Though he tried to give the ring back, he couldn’t get it off. While they were returning, they met Constable Johnson who was in search of a burglar who stole many things while the fair was going on . That night Gerald decided to take the role of a detective and find out more about the burglary and know what was happening in the castle. He felt the presence of some supernatural forces. He noticed the statues of the Temple of Flora becoming alive. Through the open window at the Yalding Towers, he noticed three burglars hiding silver in a bag. He went back and informed this to Mabel as well as the police, but they couldn’t find anything. He told this story to other children and they together decided to take the help of Johnson in order to find the burglars. Mabel told the story behind the castle to the children and also the governess.
The castle belonged to Lord Yalding who was not married. Mabel’s aunt was the housekeeper who had not much idea about the secrets of the castle. Mabel knew more about the diamonds in the treasure chamber. That day they played the beauty and the beast by making more dummy creatures with paper, coats and pillows called Ugly-Wuglies. By chance Mabel who was holding the ring made a wish and the Ugly-Wuglies became alive. They ran for their life. They decided to keep the ring back in the treasure chamber as it was causing them many difficulties. This time Kathleen was holding the ring and standing near the statues she made a wish to be a statue and she became a stone statue.
Mabel waited near Kathleen until she regained her original shape. When they were walking back in the night, they heard the sound of the statue of Phoebus. He took them to a group of statues of Gods and Goddesses that were alive that night. They were enjoying the feast. They told that the secret of the ring will be revealed at the moonrise on the fourteenth day. Next day they came to the castle again as it was show day and it was crowded with people. They met the bailiff (a law officer) there whom they had met before while they were attacked by the Ugly- Wuglies. The bailiff put the ring and he wished if his friends were there and all of a sudden the governess appeared there. They were surprised when they realized that the bailiff was none other than Lord Yalding
When Lord Yalding came, the children told him about the magic ring and their experiences there. He asked Gerald to remove the ring and when he removed it, all the magical things disappeared. Lord Yalding along with the governess and the children entered the Hall of Psyche. The governess who was wearing the ring at that time made a wish that all the magic that ring had wrought may be undone and that the ring itself may be no more. Next day, no one could remember anything at all exactly. But many things were changed. There was no ring but the plain gold ring that the French governess found in her hand. More than half of the jewels in the panelled room were gone. A lot of secret passages and hidden rooms had disappeared. The suddenness with which all the ring- magic was undone, was such a shock to them that they felt it was just like a dream. But it is certain that Lord Yalding married the French governess and that a plain gold ring was used in the ceremony.
The story takes place in England near the beginning of the twentieth century. Three young people, two brothers and a sister, find themselves unable to go home for the school holidays and instead must stay at the girl’s school, which is empty except for a French governess. To avoid boredom they go exploring and come upon what appears to be an enchanted castle, complete with a sleeping princess. Together with the “princess” (actually the housekeeper’s niece, Mabel), they explore the virtually unoccupied castle, where they discover a room of treasures, including a ring which makes its wearer invisible. The four have a series of adventures in the surrounding countryside but return to the castle for a romantic ending. .
Courtney from Study Moose
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