A fiction story by Melpomene based on the characters and backstory created by Nicole Voorhies and composed with permission.

For Nicole, my inspiration and the one who provided the outline and all the names of the characters


Once upon a time in a land where earth and ocean met in a confusion of green bamboo, there lived a girl named Moonsong. She lived in a little hut with her parents and all day long she would dream of far off lands. Now her parents loved her very much but were quite worried about how slow and lazy she had become so one day they told her to go out into the bamboo grove and gather lychee into her basket and, they added, "do not return until your basket is quite full."

Moonsong was very angry at her parents' instructions but she prepared to enter the dense grove. Her mother handed her a big coat and her father gave her a bundle of rice wrapped in lotus leaves. Moonsong accepted what they offered her, kissed both her parents goodbye, and began her search.

Not long had passed before she became very tired and, peering through the bamboo, she spied a large, strange-looking tree with long twisted limbs and bare tangled roots. She set down her kalf-filled basket and lay down among the roots, covering herself with the coat her mother had given her.

When she awoke the sky was growing dark and night was fast approaching. She reached into one of the coat pockets and found a small lantern and flint. Lighting the lantern, she began to look for the rice her father had given her but the pocket she had put it in had a hole and the lotus leaves had come untied. A handful of crumpled leaves were all that remained.

She cried bitterly for she was very hungry and then she heard a crunching noise. She quickly dried her eyes and, to her surprize, she saw a panda sitting beside her munching a bamboo stick.

"So the little one awakes. Come, climb on my back, the forest is no place for you. Especially after dark," saying this, the panda rolled over onto his feet and looked over his massive shoulder at her.

Moonsong was too surprized to answer and grabbed her coat before climbing onto the back of the giant panda. He carried her deeper into the forest. Moonsong's lantern lit their path and cast long wavering shadows all around them. Finally they came to a little stream that flowed past a cave.

At last Moonsong found her voice. "Who are you?" she asked.

"My name is Pansy. Come now, child, you must be tired. Inside my cave is a pallet for you to sleep on. We will talk in the morning."

When morning came they did talk. Pansy told her he had escaped a traveling Gypsy circus and had found the cave and stream. Moonsong told how she came to be so far from home and about her home and family.

Moonsong spent many months with Pansy. She would help him sweep out the cave and carry water for soup, she brushed his fur until it became sleek and shiny and she sewed together lotus leaves fashioning a coat for him to wear, she cooked and gathered and cared for everything around the cave. One morning as she walked out of the cave she saw Pansy leaning over the stream gazing into its depths. She thought she was unnoticed until Pansy spoke.

"The stream has magical powers. You need only look into it and wish to see anything at all and it will appear."

"That is all fine and good, Pansy, but I can think of no one I would care to see." Moonsong turned and walked back into the cave.

Several more days passed until Moonsong tiptoed outside early one morning and knelt down beside the crystal waters. "I wish to see my parents," she whispered softly.

Suddenly the rippling waters took on the colors and shapes of home. She saw her own little hut, the fire grew dim in the hearth and her own two parents sat watching the dying embers. Never had she seen them so sad and desolate, their tear streaked faces empty of any joy or happiness. "They are sad for me! I have been gone so long they think I am dead!" Moonsong jumped up and found Pansy behind her.

"You know what you must do, little one."

"I must go home, I want to go home." The world swirled around her and she awoke some time later to find herself by the strange tree.

"Surely I will never find my way home," she exclaimed. But then she spied a trail of tender green rice plants. The rice that had slipped through the hole in her pocket had rooted and grown. Seeing her coat neatly folded beneath a basket brimming with lychee, she leapt up and grabbed her belongings and ran through the forest, following her green trail until at last she saw her little hut.

"I'm home, I'm home at last," she cried, running in the door and tossing her coat on a peg and the basket by the hearth. Her parents were overjoyed to see her again and she told them of her life with Pansy in the cave by the stream.

"My own sweet child. Moonsong, it is so wonderful to have you back but the panda that escaped the Gypsies was killed many months ago."

Moonsong ran to her coat and searched the pockets until she found the lotus leaf coat she had sewn for Pansy.

"Remember..." The voice came from within her heart and she smiled.

No longer lazy, Moonsong assisted her parents around the hut and they all lived happily ever after.

the end

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