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The Puffin and the Magic Ring

Peter the Puffin lived on an island. So many Puffins lived on the island, that people called it ‘Puffin Island.

Although Peter looked just like the millions of other Puffins all around him, unlike them, he could not fly. When he was very young, a great skua called ‘Bonxie’ had attacked him, injuring his wing.

Peter’s family went to see the Chief. He was the oldest, wisest Puffin on the island.  For more than 20 years he had led the birds to their fishing grounds and back to the island for the breeding season. ‘Peter’s wing is no better.’ Peter’s mother told the Chief. The Chief shook his head, sadly. ‘Soon it will be time for us all to leave the island’.

The old Chief watched the skuas bombing the Puffins as they came in to land with their catch. ‘Murdering pirates’ he mumbled. “Peter won’t have a chance against them”.

“I have an idea!” he said suddenly. He lifted his left leg, showing a green ring wrapped around it.

‘No time to lose,’ he said, ‘Help me to get the ring off.” He started to peck at the ring. Peter’s parents did the same. 

Although it was quite loose, the ring just wouldn’t come off. ‘Get it wet’ said Peter suddenly. He picked up a bit of sticky seaweed and rubbed it on the ring. Like magic, it came unstuck. The Chief quickly put the ring on Peter’s leg. ‘Now go to the water’s edge’ he said. ‘When the boat comes, the people will see Peter and care for him, because of the magic ring.’

Sure enough, later that day, a boat came and a group of people got off. They saw Peter wearing the ring. They talked amongst themselves, and then they took him away in their boat.

A few weeks later, in the dark of the night, millions and millions of Puffins gathered on the cliff tops. Soon they were all flying out over the water, until only two were left. Peter’s parents were waiting for him, until they could wait no longer. Then, suddenly, they saw him flying high above them. His wings were strong. He still wore the magic ring. Soon all three were flying away from the island.

The next day, there were no Puffins on Puffin Island. The skuas were forced to catch their own food. Only Bonxie was still looking for the Puffins. He swooped low over the cliffs. He did not notice the giant shadow above him. Silently, an eagle flew out of the sky like a rocket. Bonxie gave a piercing shriek. He was swiftly carried off to the Eagle’s waiting chicks. The returning Puffins would not need to worry about him ever again.

James Calloway-Brady

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