Harry Spotter and the Philosophers Ring     by JKK Towelring

Harry struggled up the steep rise. Since arriving at platform 9 3/4 at Hertford East he had passed through the Twitchells, crossed the deadly Hags Dell and was coming to the end of the dangerous Mangrove Swamp Road. As he reached the brow of the hill he caught his first sight of the big old Mansion on the hilltop, a house steeped in history, Ballswartsandall College. This was to be Harry's home for the next three years, the place where Harry was to learn how to bewitch and enchant the young.

The building stood, tall and menacing, with a huge oak front door. Harry could not find a bell, but thumped hard on the aged wood. A shuffling noise grew louder and the door bolts were thrown back one by one until the door opened with a creaking that implied its use was very infrequent.
A small weasel like man poked his head round the door "whatd'yewanthen" he announced in a strange rustic dialect that Harry assumed was indigenous to this backwater of the country. "Are you a member of staff" asked Harry, "No, young master, Oi'm far more important than that, I be Tedray, the Head Porter, and I run this place" Harry noticed that the small man was wearing an imposing uniform with a jaunty crested cap on his head. Was that a Unicorn on the badge!. Harry made a mental note that a lot of fun could be had separating this cap from its owner.

"I've come to register," said Harry. Tedray put down a foaming tankard of ale that Harry just noticed had been part hidden behind his back, and said "come with me" Harry followed him through a set a of double doors, across an enormous room with dark mahogany panels and past a large fireplace that the Tedray person announced was called 'Adam'. "This is the office," he said pausing in front of a small door. "I'll be leaving you now" he uttered with a small cough, cupping his hand in a peculiar obsequious manner. Harry took out his chewing gum and planted it firmly in the centre of Tedray's palm.

Harry went through the door and was immediately confronted by a large hound eight feet tall, with three heads. "Down Hamlet" came a voice from the inner sanctum. A tall lean man wearing a deerstalker hat and a flowing cape poked his head around the door. "Welcome to Ballswartsandall College " he exclaimed, "I am Dr Paulus Sangsterbore, and you must be Harry Spotter"
"Were you expecting me?" Harry was astonished that the man whom he knew to be the Chief Wizard already had tabs on his name.
"I've been expecting you for years, ever since you failed your university exams, and not wishing to do any real work, put your name down to come here" said the Wiz.
I'm rumbled and I've only been here five minutes, thought Harry.

A huge leatherbound ledger with parchment pages lay on a table in the anteroom, "Sign in here" Harry was instructed, and using the quill and the strangely clotted red ink in the bat shaped inkholder, Harry penned his name in the column marked 'First Year Male Residents'
"You must now follow the corridor down to The New Front Entrance" the Wiz informed him " where you will be allocated your accommodation". Harry went in the direction indicated, down a long covered walkway. 'New Front Entrance' thought Harry, things were looking up, one of the reasons he had come to the college was to find a new front entrance, and hopefully to enter, for the first time!.

Harry arrived in a small foyer. Tedray was now sitting in a little cubicle with the legend 'Porters lodge' above his head. A strange lady with a peculiar hairstyle, last seen in Victorian times, sat at a table marked 'Bursar' On a chair next to her was a strange pointy hat.
"Put this on" she said to Harry "so that we can sort out where to put you". Harry, with some trepidation, put the hat on his head.

The hat thought for a while, "Springfellows" it exclaimed, "no that's full, I sent that chap with the long white hair there, just a moment ago. Hope he's going to be ok what with it being a girls hall, and with that fireman's pole in the middle of the common room"

"Newhall" "better not send you there, its already full of young warlocks who think they know how to fly, especially after potion class"

"Cottage" " Yes that will do nicely, haunted by mad Ben, set in the middle of the grounds with no lights to guide you after dark, but handy for the bar"

So young Harry was escorted over to the cottage by one of Tedrays minions. The cottage was old, small and rather dank, but had a certain charm, thought Harry.

After unpacking his meagre belongings Harry went exploring around the building. A strange soulful rythmic sound was emanating from one of the other rooms, Harry knocked on the door, A furtive head poked out, hair akimbo, blazing eyes and a small moustache.
"Hello, Pariah's the name, Photography's the game!" Harry sneaked a look through the door where a topless nymphet writhed on a sheepskin rug lit by an old car headlight attached to a battery. James Brown was grunting his way through 'Sex Machine' on the Dansette record player. "I'd invite you in, but I'm just trying to find a film for my camera" " Try next door"

Harry knocked on the next room and was relieved when a sensible looking chap opened the door, " Hello, I'm John the Locker", at least that's what Harry thought he heard.
John the Locker suggested that they both went to the freshers meeting that was shortly to start in the room known as '2b or not 2b' or at least that was the question. The meeting was hosted by a short round chap sitting on a stool in the corner of the room who introduced himself as Jack Horner, and told the assembled students that he was a lecturer in Education. Horner managed to spend a whole hour telling them about the educational treats that they had in store, at the end of which they were none the wiser, except that they would be learning the methods of the Great Wizards, Piaget and Gagne, or educational cyclists as they were known in the 3rd world.

Then into the room flew a bird, rather large with feathers sticking out of her hat carrying a large handbag, closely followed by a dapper, well dressed dramatic sort of fellow with distinguished swept back grey hair. Horner introduced them as Finch, Robin and Rook although Harry could only see two of them. They explained to the students how all college communication was carried out by the use of notes that were sealed in small brown envelopes and sent by pigeon. Every student was to procure their own pigeon which could be kept in a pigeon hole in the black and white hall, the floor of which was cunningly designed to hide the droppings.

Tedray was selling pigeons in the foyer and Harry chose a snow white bird that he decided to call 'Cawtion'

It was now time for the evening meal, and an attractive young student who introduced herself to Harry as Polly led him into the refectory, Senor Manuel Garcia, who had been specially recruited from Barcelona (and who was later to be demoted to waiting on tables in a small seaside hotel in Torquay) presided over the military style operation that delivered hundreds of quality meals three times a day for a few (old) pence per meal. Harry could hear him stirring the stew "Ze eye of newt, Ze tongue of ze bat, zat vill stop 'em getting fat. Que" A dollop of indescribable lumpy liquid was ladled on to Harrys plate along with a helping of mashed potato guaranteed to make an alien robot burst out laughing. A portion of limp carrots and cabbage boiled into a white gelatinous mush completed the meal.

Harry took his tray and joined Polly at a long table, Polly introduced him to some of the other students, all in their final year. Basil was a tall stringy student who did not look at all suited to teaching, he was with a bossy female who had something to do with student accommodation. Harry sat next to a tall wizard in a large hat with 'Goodgulf' embroidered on the brim, opposite was a small hairy fellow who offered Harry a hirsute paw and said "Hello, I am Frito Bugger" and immediately broke into verse:

"We Buggers are a hairy folk
Who like to eat until we choke,
Loving all like friend and brother,
we hardly ever eat each other.

Ever hungry, ever thirsting,
never stop till belly's bursting.
Chewing chop and pork and muttons,
A merry race of boring gluttons."

Harry pushed his plate of slop in front of Frito, who slurped the whole lot down in a matter of seconds, and sat back with a tremendous belch. A small metallic object fell from his pocket and rolled across the floor. Frito leapt after it, calling "come back my precious, my precious" as he scrabbled across the floor, to suddenly disappear in a blinding flash. Harry thought he must be a B,Ed student, or at least one doing advanced study.

"Lets go to the New Front Entrance" exclaimed Polly, dragging Harry away by the hand. Things were looking up for the second time !

A small dark creature with large luminous eyes sat in the corner of the foyer, Pigeon feathers were strewn about him, and what looked suspiciously like a small clawed foot protruded from the corner of his mouth. "Lookout for him" said Polly, " that is Goddam Malboy, he is very queer, he follows Frito around everywhere, dribbling and muttering about wanting Frito's ring"

Harry walked Polly back to her room, in West Wing, hoping to be invited in for a coffee and perhaps to have the secret of New Front Entrance revealed to him, but, alas, it was not to be.

As Polly opened the door of her room, Cawtion flew in through the open window, and settled on Harry's shoulder, clutched in his beak was a note.
'Meet me in your room in Cottage straight away, the future of the world as we know it lies in your hands' Harry took his hands out of his pockets and turned the note over, on the back was the signature 'Arrowsmith'

Harry legged it down the covered way, past the medical centre where Matron, who was later to be discovered to have purchased her nurses outfit from an Ann Summers catalogue, was giving urgent attention to one of the young male chefs from the kitchen.

He ran down the path to Cottage avoiding the stone statues of past deceased wizards and rushed into his room. Sitting in the corner was a man swathed in a great brown cloak, thigh boots and a hood pulled over his face. A curiously fragrant smoke curled up towards the ceiling from a strange pipe that protruded from the shadow that hid his face.
"I am Arrowsmith, son of Aerosmith, Chief of the Dune and Lord of the Spice, I walk this way and talk this way"

"I have brought an urgent message from Goodgulf" he said " the Nozdrul are abroad and are after Frito's ring, The dark enemy has risen and will use the ring to possess the world. Destiny has chosen you, Harry Spotter to accompany that fool Frito and help him in his mission to prevent the ring falling into the hands of Vo......... No! I must not say that evil name out loud. The ring must be destroyed in the Cracks of Doom"

Harry pondered a moment, He had played 'Doom' on his computer and didn't feel like meeting any of those monsters without at least a plasma gun and a couple of extra stim packs.

"What do we have to do" asked Harry. Arrowsmith took another deep pull on his pipe, " Well Harry, somewhere on the upper floor of the Mansion lies a secret passage that goes down past the den of the Wild , deep under the building, to the Cracks of Doom, Later tonight we will meet with Frito and Goodgulf to follow the passage and destroy the ring".

With one last deep drag on the pipe Arrowsmith fell off the stool into a deep stupor, Harry felt quite lightheaded, he had heard about this strange spice. Polly had told him that the biology department were growing the plants from which the spice was extracted in the greenhouse opposite the Coffee shop, and refining the resin with the help of the chemistry lab. The kitchen used it in all the Staff meals. Harry thought that this explained a lot of things.

As Harry wondered what to do next, there came a knock on the door. It was Goodgulf and Frito. "Come" said Goodgulf "it is time to go" Frito shook Arrowroot out of his drug induced sleep, whilst Goodgulf fished around in the horses nosebag he used to carry all his possessions. He pulled out a small package and passed it to Harry, "This belonged to Frito's Uncle Dildo, he found it on his travels. Keep it wrapped and only use it if you are in extreme danger"

The four intrepid companions passed silently across the topiared lawns to the Mansion, pausing to ensure that the few students in the panelled main hall were engrossed in watching a small black and white television set. They ascended the rickety staircase that led upwards from the Black and White hall. After climbing for what felt to Harry must have been an eternity, Goodgulf held his wand aloft. They halted on a small landing where Goodgulf and Frito started to examine the walls. "Loco Parentis" exclaimed Goodgulf. There was a grinding noise and Harry noticed the appearance of a faint outline of a door cunningly hidden in the wall. Goodgulf waved the wand and the door magically opened, the four passed through. Immediately the door slammed shut behind them and they were pitched into darkness. Frito reached into his pocket and pulled out a small magic box, "Zippo" he cried and with a clicking noise a bright flame shot from the top of the box. Harry was not impressed.

Frito led the way holding the light aloft, with Arrowsmith behind, then Harry and Goodgulf following up at the rear. They passed along the passage. As they descended, first quite faintly then growing louder the rythmic sound of drumbeats could be heard, Harry also thought he could hear a strange faint slapping sound. Suddenly the pounding of approaching footsteps could be heard. Goodgulf ushered the party into a small alcove, just in time as a party of evil looking, swarthy, jackbooted stormtroopers passed along the passage, they carried cruel knives for stabbing in the back, and they half sang and half belched a chant as they stomped along,

"We the Narcs from Ofsted are
following Morris' rising star,
Raising standards up on high
our methods will make you die"

"Narcs from Ofsted" gasped Arrowsmith as they disappeared into the distance "I wonder what that lot are doing here?"

As they crawled out of the alcove Harry tripped over a box, it was full of back copies of the Manchester Guardian. Goodgulf examined them, "hmmm , we must be close to the Den of the Wild" "The wild what?" asked Harry. Goodgulf did not reply.
The passage split into two, the left hand passage had no floor for about forty feet, and as Frito held the light aloft they could see hundreds of sherry bottles hung from the ceiling on cords, In the distance a set of pearls glinted in the light and a soft snore could be heard. The party tiptoed on into the right hand passage so as not to awaken the sleeping creature.
The passage continued down and there were omens of an unappetising nature along the way including the skeleton of a Unicorn, the body of the Piltdown Man and a battered rabbit's pocket watch with the inscription "To Dotty from the whole Wonderland crowd"
Before long the passageway sloped more gently down until with a final plunge it led into a great chamber dimly lit with a fiery glow.

All at once a large body of Narcs burst into the Hall from the passage the company had followed and charged at them, waving hammers and sickles.
Goodgulf stampeded across the Hall followed by Frito and Harry with Arrowsmith holding the rear. At the far end of the hall a rope bridge spanned a deep chasm. Harry and Frito ran across and stopped on the other side as a great crowd of Narcs burst forth. In their midst was a towering dark shadow too terrible too describe In its hand was a black globe and on its chest was written in cruel runes the letter 'V'. "Aiyee" shouted Arrowsmith "A Ballshog"

Goodgulf turned to face the dread shadow and as he did it circled towards the bridge. The wizard reeled back and, clutching at the ropes , raised his wand.
The Ballshog strode forward onto the bridge, Goodgulf cried "Avaunt O evil one" Arrowsmith raised his guitar "He cannot hold the bridge alone" he shouted, and rushed forward. "E pluribus unum" cried Goodgulf. The Ballshog sprang forward and raised the huge globe over his head, uttering a triumphant cry.
"Dulce et decorum" cried Arrowsmith hacking at the ropes with his Fender.
With a loud snap, the bridge collapsed, spilling Goodgulf, Arrowsmith and the Ballshog into the abyss.

Frito stifled a sob and reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring. At that moment a dark shadow leapt from its hiding place and grabbed him.
"Goddam" exclaimed Harry. Frito and Goddam wrestled on the edge of the abyss.
Harry shouted "Oh Dragonbreth, Gilthorpial, Valderee, Valdera" and a burning light filled the cavern. Goddam sank his teeth into Fritos hand and bit off the finger bearing the ring. With Fritos blood tricking from his mouth he held the digit aloft " My precious" he wailed "My Precious"

As he spoke a great cry came from the Narcs on the other side of the abyss as a figure dressed in black Versace strode into the cavern. A gasp came from the crowd and a thousand paperazzi flashbulbs strobed the vast space.
"The Vorderwoman" shouted Frito. "Who dares to say my name" exclaimed the necromancer "I do" said Frito, wincing from the pain of his hand.
"Goddam, give me the ring" cried the Vorderwoman, "Give me the ring". With that she mounted the Nozdrul that had accompanied her into the cavern and flew across the deep cleft towards Goddam.
Goddam took the ring off the severed finger and slipped it on his own hand and disappeared from view. Vorderwoman's eyes glowed like fiery coals and the Nozdrul breathed fire from its nose. Consonants and vowels flew around in the air.

Harry remembered Dildo's parcel and unwrapped a Plasma gun from the package that Goodgulf had given him and aimed it directly at the Nozdrul, closing his eyes as he squeezed the trigger, plasma trails of crimson fire arced around the cavern, and as they touched the evil rider a massive explosion blew Harry down the tunnel, and he lost conciousness...............

Harry awoke and saw something glinting just above him, "The Snatch." He tried to touch it, but his arms were too heavy. He blinked. It wasn't the Snatch at all.

The voluptuous elf-maiden parted her robe to reveal the shadowy glories within. Harry's head reeled with desire. She slipped off the flimsy garment and strode towards him unashamed. Harry's hand, as though of its own will, crept around her tiny, flawless waist. The elf-maiden said nothing, but only sighed deep in her throat and held him firmly to her body. "There is one thing you must do for me first," she whispered into his ear. "Anything" sobbed Harry, growing frantic with his desire, "Anything!" She closed her eyes and then opened them to the ceiling, "The Ring" she said, "I must have your Ring"

Harry's whole body tensed, "Oh no" he cried "not that! Anything but ......that."

"I must have it," she said, both tenderly and fiercely. "I must have the Ring"

Harry's eyes blurred with tears and confusion "I can't," he said. "I mustn't"
But he knew resolve was no longer strong in him. Slowly, the elf-maiden's hand inched towards his pocket, closer and closer it came to the ring Harry had guarded so faithfully................................

To be continued...


Learn how Harry captured the one true Ring from Goddam. Did the Elf-Maiden get her hands on Harry's ring? Find out if Harry discovered the secret of New Front Entrance..

Read the second instalment "Valley of the Trolls", available on your favourite website next Xmas.

Three Rings for the Philosophers under the sky,
Seven for the Sociologists in their halls of stone,
Nine for Educationalists doomed to sigh,
One for the Minister on her dark throne
In the Land of Ofsted where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to teach them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Ofsted where the Shadows lie."

This irreverent tale is published with the sole intent of creating a small fortune, and any resemblance to any other known work of fiction or to any person, imaginary, living or dead, is purely intentional.