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Chapter 16 - Ringel's gift

Chapter 16 - Ringel's gift



It was the last night before school. Rachel was excited about going to school. She could not sleep. She wished that on the first day they would not serve cabbage stew or cabbage casserole. Rachel simply disliked the taste of cabbage.

- Ringel, why do children have to go to school?

- To make new friends and to learn new things.

- But I already have friends. You and Harry and Beastie and many more!

- You also need human friends and you will find them at school.

Ringel was watching Rachel. This was the right moment.

- Rachel, I would like to give you a gift so that you will always remember this summer. Rachel jumped up in the bed.

- Great! What is it?

- Close your eyes.

Rachel closed her eyes. Ringel opened his fist and released a cloud of golden dust. A glittering cloud surrounded Rachel and started swirling around her.

- If you could choose any place in the world, where would you like to go?, asked Ringel.

- I would like to visit Iceland and Saturn and the South Pole to see penguins.

Ringel should have seen this coming. Well, the night was long and there was plenty of time.

- Let’s go, said Ringel.

And off they went.

Suddenly Rachel was standing next to a geyser watching water evaporating from deep inside the ground, then a hot shower burst out, wetting the surroundings.


- How gorgeous!, sighed Rachel.

There was a steaming small pond nearby. Rachel tested the water temperature with her toes. It was just perfect.

- May I take a swim?

- Of course you may, this is your gift.

Rachel waded into the warm water and swam to the other side of the pond and then back. The water was wonderfully warm. Rachel was happy. “Oh, how I wish Harry were here, too”, she thought.

- Harry is too small to travel. It is better for him to sleep, replied Ringel.

Rachel rose from the pond and admire the scenery around her. A blue glacier shimmered further away and here and there geysers burst joyously in the air.

- How beautiful!, was the only thing Rachel could say.

Instantly she was standing on a ring of Saturn, watching the planet and the moons circling it.

- Do the moons of Saturn have names?, asked Rachel.

- Of course they do. That biggest one is Titan, pointed Ringel.

- And those ones are Mimas, Enkeladus, Tethys and Dione, and that one is Rhea, and behind it Iapetus and Phoebe. Saturn has over 30 moons.

- Over 30 moons, sighed Rachel and wanted to learn all their names.

- You have time to learn all kinds of things at school. Ask your teacher what the names of Saturn are. That will give your teacher something to think about, grinned Ringel. – Let’s fly!

And so they flew to every moon. They all were different. Some were icy, some were stony, some smelled really bad and some did not smell at all.


Rachel was thoroughly enjoying herself! She loved watching the starry sky that was not only above her like on the earth, but above her and below her and on each side. It was deep blue, almost black, and the stars shone brighter than ever before.

When they finished studying the last moon, Rachel found herself sitting on ice at the South Pole. Penguins were surfacing from their fishing expedition. And Rachel could understand what they were saying.

- There wasn’t much fish in the water today.

- Yeah, yesterday there was more.

- But soon there will be more. It is late spring already.

“But autumn is coming now, summer is almost over!”, thought Rachel.

- At the South Pole there is summer when at the North Pole there is winter, knew Ringel. – And when there is autumn at the North Pole, it is spring at the South Pole.

- How extraordinary!, marvelled Rachel.

Rachel watched the penguins move stones and organise them.

- What are the penguins doing?, asked Rachel.

- They are preparing themselves for the brooding season. The time of new life is coming soon.

“Time of new life”, thought Rachel. “What a beautiful thought!”

Rachel wanted to help the penguins and assembled some nests. She moved away the big stones and arranged the little ones into flat nests.

- Thanks, said the penguins.

And Rachel found herself in her own bed hearing only Harry’s content snuffle.

- What a fabulous journey! Thank you, Ringel! But why did you give me this kind of a gift?

- Because you are going to school tomorrow. It is good to know what you want to learn. You chose the destinations yourself, and you wanted to see wonders of the world and visit Saturn. When you think of what you experienced, you can learn a lot more at school when you know what you want to learn.

Rachel was thinking. She wanted to learn so much more about the universe: planets, stars and moons. She wanted to know the name of every star. She wanted to know where the stars come from and where do they go.

- Is there life outside the earth?, asked Rachel.

- Everything that you see is life, and even everything that you cannot see is life, answered Ringel.

To this final thought Rachel fell asleep. This time the flower meadow was at some faraway planet, where everything was like glass. Glass flowers, glass trees, glass water and glass clouds. Rachel found it funny to assemble a bouquet of glass flowers. She made it extremely carefully in order not to break any.

Harry was astounded by the glass world, and Rachel saw that Ringel had made thick bootees around its pawns to protect him from pieces of glass.

Rachel felt good.



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