by Max Reif

   Eva was eight years old and lost in the woods. And that big fox or wolf, or whatever it was, might still be out there chasing her!
     How had she lost her way to Aunt Lucy's?   She'd gone the way she'd thought was right.   But she'd found her path leading into deeper and deeper woods! Then that big, ugly thing had rushed out, and she'd dashed blindly off the path and into the woods themselves.
      Eva was terribly frightened. The shadows had scary shapes, and the light was almost gone! Fortunately, a full moon rose. Because of this, the little girl could see just a bit.
     A nightingale sat singing mournfully in a tree in front of her. Eva began to cry. It almost seemed like she was crying along with the bird's sad, beautiful tune.
     After what seemed like a long time, the forlorn child stopped crying. Something had changed! She was sure she had been standing up, but now she was most definitely sitting down—on  something soft. All around her, the night had gotten very breezy, too.  
     Eva wiped the tears from her eyes until she could see again. But what she saw! Instead of the forest being all around her, it was way, way below her. She found herself sitting on the soft, feathery back of a huge bird that was flying her straight toward the moon. The nightingale in the tree had gotten big, swooped down, and picked her up!

     The brilliant, white moon came to fill the whole sky. Little by little, Eva realized they were heading toward a strange grouping of shapes and colors. As they came closer, she realized that what she saw on the moon's surface was a shimmering city of ivory palaces, towers and gardens!
      The bird silently hovered, gliding by many palaces. Then came down into the lush courtyard of the most splendid of them all!
      The nightingale's feet touched ground without a sound or a bump. Eva knew, somehow, to climb off its back.   For some reason, she wasn't afraid.  
       For what seemed a long time, Eva looked in wonder at the bright, new world before her. Then she turned toward the nightingale.  
      As soon as she did, the bird began to emit a light so dazzling Eva had to shield her eyes. When she looked again, the bird was no longer there! In its place, smiling at her, stood a beautiful young woman with gentle blue eyes and long black hair.
     "My name is Eva," said the lady, who in her pale blue gown and with her kind, noble manner, could be none other than a Princess.
     "But that's my name," said the little girl.
     "Yes", said the Princess.   "And I..." the Princess' voice flowed like a slow river from word to word
      The suspense mounted—who was she?
      Eva felt confused, though the Princess was still smiling  in the same warm, friendly way.
      "I am your grown-up Self," the Princess continued. How strange, Eva thought.  For a moment it sounded as though the princess' voice was coming from her own heart.
      "I live here in this beautiful ivory city on the moon, so I can w atch over you," the Princess continued.
       "But why were you singing such a sad song in the tree?" asked little Eva.
     "Because you were so sad," said her grown-up Self. "You were so sad that I had to come down to your world to help you."

      Eva heard voices outside the courtyard gate.    
      "Those are my friends," grown-up Eva said. "They've come to welcome you."
     Beautiful and handsome—and to the little girl,  fascinating—men  and women in elegant, flowing costumes, began streaming into the courtyard. One of the guests carried a drum. Another had a flute. Others bore musical instruments Eva had never seen or heard before. The arms of still others held loaves of bread, bottles of wine, and   heaping pl at ters of strange yet delicious-looking food.
     The friends crowded around little Eva, introducing themselves with smiles and warm handshakes—even some big hugs!   They spread out their food offerings on a large table. Then each one began filling his or her plate from among the arrayed delicacies.  
     Eva helped herself to a little of each new food, found a seat on one of many large cushions in the courtyard, and began to eat. She discovered that she loved every dish and soon was busily emptying her whole plate.
     After dinner, the guests talked quietly with one another. Satisfied from her meal, Eva felt content to lay back on her cushion and listen. The buzz of voices reminded her of bees in Aunt Lucy's garden back home. Before long, the child's eyes closed, and snuggling into the cushion as into kind arms, she fell asleep.  
                                           continued on page 2

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