It was dark. The sky was already twinkling with stars in the lavender-hued sky.
Padmini was lost. Padmini was a young Asian elephant. She could not find her mother, Noor, or the rest of her herd. She had already looked in the bamboo grove. There were only a few monkeys scampering about. “Have you seen any elephants?” she had asked hopefully.
“No, there are no elephants in here,” one small monkey had replied.
“Thank you,” Padmini said. She moved down the trail. Let me try looking in the grasslands, she thought to herself.
The grasslands were a favorite gathering place for the herd. Her grandmother, Amala, the Pure One, was the herd’s leader. Perhaps she had led them there to have an evening meal. Padmini’s favorite mango fruit could also be found there.
She rounded the bend that the path took towards the grassy plain and came face to face with Minnie, the Mynah bird. She and Minnie were great friends.
Padmini was so happy to see a familiar face.
“Minnie!” she exclaimed, “Have you seen my herd?”
Minnie smiled warmly at her friend but answered that she had not. “I’m sorry, Padmini,” she said. “I can’t stop and help you look for your herd; I have an important flight to make.” And with that, she quickly flew off.
Padmini felt even more lost now–and alone. She walked on with her head held down. Not even the lovely, full moon and the cool breeze of the night could lift her spirits.
She could clearly see the outline of the grassy plain ahead with the shining brightness of the moon’s light. She could not see her family. Now, she began to feel quite worried.
Padmini continued on for a short distance, feeling very glum. But then, from the dark shadows under the stand of banana trees, the outline of a massive animal caught her attention. As it moved slowly into the moonlit edge of the forest, she recognized it as Kanja, the Water Buffalo. He too was known to her family–she knew she could trust him.
She began to tell her story of being separated from her family and how frightened she was but then stopped suddenly as she spotted something in the distance. A small, white, fluffy object was bounding towards her. It was Misha! Misha was the puppy that lived at the nearby wildlife camp with the nice humans. She and Misha had recently become friends.
“Padmini!” Misha cried, “Your herd has been looking all over for you!” “Where have you been?” “They’re all just over the hill at the watering hole!” she continued. “Come on, I’ll show you the way!”
Padmini was filled with delight! She threw her trunk high in the air and gave a long, relieved trumpet! She could hear her entire family as they answered back with their own joyful trumpeting and low rumbles in response. As she ran to join them, she vowed that she would never let them out of her sight again!
My entry for Bluebell Books: Short Story Slam Week Six–Children’s Literature http://bluebellbooks.blogspot.com/2011/07/short-story-slam-week-6-childrens.html