Magical Kids II: The Smallest Girl Ever and the Boy Who Could Fly, page 8
“I can’t do it without Aunt Hat either,” said Ruby.
Alfonso didn’t say a word. He untied Aunt Hat and took her back down to the basement. Now voices could be heard shouting, “Open up in the name of the law!”
Alfonso bolted the door so that no one could come in.
“I have, as always, been generosity itself,” said Alfonso. “I have even let you have this ridiculous old cabbage leaf to help you. Now Ruby, for the last time, make that lamp work!”
Ruby couldn’t. What she could do was make the lamp fly, but Alfonso was too quick for her. He grabbed the bag and in his rage threw it at the cellar door.
As he did so the door began to glow. On it appeared the words:The Land of Wonders:
Enter at Your Peril
“What does it say?” shouted Alfonso, pointing at the letters.
“Enter at your peril,” said Ruby faintly.
And as she spoke, the door swung open and a bright golden light shone out. There before them was an orchard of glass trees, hung with precious stones and sparkling like rainbows.
“I’m rich!” cried Alfonso. “Richer than all the kings in the world!” He stumbled toward the door like a drunken man.
Suddenly there was a wail, as if from the center of the earth, and a voice as sad as sorrow said, “You have no right to enter here.”
“Yes I have,” said Alfonso, standing on the threshold. “A fortune cookie told me the door to my future lay in a basement.”
The door slammed shut.
“No, no!” shouted Alfonso, pounding on it. He turned to Ruby. “Open it again! I order you to!”
“She doesn’t know how,” said Aunt Hat.
“Oh be quiet, you old cabbage leaf,” said Alfonso.
The door began to glow again. More words appeared, this time in silver. To her surprise, Ruby read:Come in, Ruby Genie.
Ruby’s fears vanished. All at once the door began to shrink down to her size. She turned the handle and the door opened to reveal the same orchard, but now all on a tiny scale.
“Get a move on, girl! There’s no time to lose,” said Alfonso. “If you’re not back in five minutes with all the jewels you can carry, your precious Aunt Hat is in trouble.”
Ruby walked though the door. A river of gold ran through the orchard and silver blossom fell in a cool breeze. Jewels of red, blue, green, and purple tinkled down from the trees. Ruby picked up as many as she could carry and put them in her pockets.
She was just about to leave when she saw a beautiful little flower, like a daisy, all made out of precious stones. It was perfect for Aunt Hat. Ruby bent down and picked it up, and as she did so a voice as sweet as happiness spoke to her.
“Ruby,” said the voice, “all the magic you need is in you. You are loved.”
“Give me the stones!” screamed Alfonso. “Stop playing around and give them to me!”
Ruby emptied her pockets and put all the tiny little stones on the workbench.
“That’s it?” said Alfonso. “Is that all you could bring the Great Alfonso?”
He was interrupted by four policemen who came charging into the basement followed by Miss Pinkerton.
“Arrest that man!” ordered Miss Pinkerton. “He is responsible for the murder of Ruby Genie!”
“I think that’s a little far-fetched,” said Aunt Hat mildly. “Ruby is over there.” She pointed to Ruby, who was standing on the workbench. Miss Pinkerton let out a piercing scream, as if she’d been stabbed.
“What have you done to her? She’s so small!”
The policemen thought Miss Pinkerton had been wounded, and rushed to rescue her. In the confusion, Alfonso grabbed Ruby and popped her into her father’s lamp. He held it up as if he was about to throw it.
“Out of my way,” he shouted, “or the little girl gets it!”
Nobody could have known what would happen next.
Ruby felt her body becoming silver and liquid. A tingle rushed through her, as if she had turned into air. To her amazement she began to waft out of the lamp, and to the horror of everyone there, she said in a voice that didn’t sound like her own, “I am the genie of the lamp.”
Alfonso let out a terrible laugh and did a little jig.
“I want you to tie up all those nasty people, my dear genie. Then bring me all the larger stones!”
Aunt Hat looked on, stunned, as Ruby Genie began to grow. She got bigger and bigger until she filled the entire basement.
“The Great Alfonso commands the genie of the lamp!” said Alfonso in a grand voice. This was the moment he had been waiting for all his life. Now nothing could stop him from becoming one of the most powerful magicians ever. He turned to Aunt Hat, Miss Pinkerton, and the four policemen and said, “Now you see what the Great Alfonso can do when his anger is roused!”
Ruby didn’t seem to be paying attention to Alfonso’s words. She just hovered.
“Go on, do as I say!” ordered Alfonso, although he looked a little worried. This was not how things should be.
At that moment there was a sound like waves crashing on a stony beach. As if from nowhere the Grand Wizard appeared.
“Leave the lamp immediately, Ruby,” said the Grand Wizard in a loud clear voice, “and get back inside the bag. If you do not, you will be the slave of that lamp forever.”
“Mind your own business, you muddling old fool. This is my genie and there’s nothing you can do about it,” sneered Alfonso.
“Oh, isn’t there?” said the Grand Wizard, who had had quite enough of Alfonso. He raised his hand and immediately Alfonso was frozen like a statue.
Ruby was still hovering half in and half out of the lamp.
“I don’t think Ruby can get out,” said Aunt Hat anxiously.
“What I need is the wand, and quickly,” said the Grand Wizard. “Time is running out.”
Aunt Hat pushed past the policemen and rushed upstairs. Alfonso’s apartment was such a mess she didn’t know where to look. Suddenly she saw something twinkling under a chair—the wand! She picked it up and ran back down to the basement. She was only just in time. Ruby was about to be sucked back into the lamp.
The Grand Wizard touched the lamp with the wand. There was a flash of lightning and the lamp shattered into a thousand pieces.
“Oh!” cried Aunt Hat. “What’s happened to Ruby?”
“Try the bag,” said the Grand Wizard.
Aunt Hat ran over to the bag. There, to her great relief, was Ruby, dazed, as small as ever, but all in one piece. Beside her lay a tiny flower. It was the most beautiful thing Aunt Hat had ever seen.
“It’s for you,” said Ruby with a smile.
They both looked at the magic door. On it shimmered the words: Good-bye, Ruby Genie!
“What an extraordinary business,” said Aunt Hat. “And what a good thing that you can read, Ruby. Alfonso didn’t stand a chance.”
Things worked out very well. Alfonso was stripped of all his magical powers, which weren’t as many as he liked to think. He now works in a candy shop, having to be nice to children, which he hates.
Miss Pinkerton has given up teaching children. Instead, she runs obedience classes for dogs.
Madame Vanish vanished. Miss Fisher was sent to count peas in a frozen pea factory. Mr. Gaspard started a new life doing firework displays, which he was very good at.
The Grand Wizard was so impressed with the way Aunt Hat kept her wits about her that he could think of no one better to be headmistress of Grimlocks School. Aunt Hat wasn’t sure if she would be any good at it, but the Grand Wizard was a wise man and he saw that Aunt Hat had a magical gift for bringing out the best in children.
He was right. Aunt Hat was a wonderful teacher and all her pupils did well. Ruby helped her learn to read and Aunt Hat made sure that all the children could read and write as well as do spells. Grimlocks was voted top of the league of all the sc
Ruby’s friends were so pleased to see her again. Even if she was tiny, she was still great fun to be with. And here is the most surprising part. Ruby had always thought it was Alfonso’s magic that made her tiny, though Aunt Hat had never believed the old windbag had that much magic in him. She, like Zack, was sure that Ruby had shrunk because she was so frightened, and this proved to be right. After only one term back with her schoolfriends, Ruby started to grow again, and in no time at all she was back to her old size.
Aunt Hat made sure that Ruby was kept out of harm’s way, and the Grand Wizard put a protective spell on the school so that Ruby’s magic was given space to grow.
Aunt Hat and Ruby spend the school holidays together, traveling. Ruby learned how to use a magic carpet, which meant they were able to fly off on wonderful adventures between terms.
As for the little jeweled flower, Aunt Hat put it in a glass box with some words written underneath:All the magic you need
is in You.
You are loved.
Lest Ruby should ever forget.
Sally Gardner, Magical Kids II: The Smallest Girl Ever and the Boy Who Could Fly
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