Blue Moon Valley by Stephen Rabley

 
Li Sun is living happily in Blue Moon Valley, but her grandmother thinks it is time for her to go to the big city and work in her uncle's circus. The Emperor's visit to the circus changes Li Sun's life, and she has to make some difficult decisions.

Stephen Rabley



Blue Moun Valley is a small village. Li Sun lives there with her grandmotl1er. She is very happy in Blue Moon Vallley. But there is a problem. Li Sun's grandmother is very old and very ill. She cannot work any more and has no money. One bright April morning she says to Li Sun, ''Sit down, granddaughter. I have something to tell you."

*****

"What is it, grandmother?" asks Li Sun. The old woman's eyes are sad and tired. "Read this letter," she says. "It's for your uncle in the big city. I want you to go and talk to him." Li Sun reads the letter. "But...'' she says and looks at her grandmother. "You're asking him to give me a job ... in his circus!" 'Yes," the old woman answers.

*****

Li Sun and her grandmother talk for a long time. Li Sun does not want to leave Blue Moon Valley. "It's my home!" she says. "But every child leaves home one day," the old woman answers. "And you're not a child now - you're a young woman. I want you to be free." In the end, Li Sun looks at the floor and says, ''Yes, grandmother." Two days later she leaves the village.

*****

In the next week Li Sun walks a long way. She sees mountains, fields, trees and farms. Every morning she drinks from cold rivers. Every night she sleeps under thousands of bright stars. Then after eight days, she comes to the big city. It has high walls with stone lions on top of them. Hundreds of people are running left and right in front of her.

*****

''Excuse me," she says to an old man. "Do you know this address?" She shows him her randmother's letter. "You want the circus," he says. "That's easy. Go down this street and turn left at the end." Ten minutes later Li Sun is at the circus. Her uncle is very happy to see her. "Yes - of course you can have a job,'' he says. "Come with me."

*****

Behind the, cirrcus there are sonic big cages. “Here we are," says, Li Sun’s uncle. "You can -help to wash the animals." He smiles, “And you can help to give then, their food, too… Do you understand?" Li Sun looks at the animals. There are monkeys, tigers, elephants, horses and lions. Then she looks at her uncle again. ·"Y -yes, Uncle." she says.

*****

Li Sun works very hard for three months. Every week she writes to her grandmother. In her letters she says, ''I'm very happy." But she is not. She tells her only friend, Choo Choo the panda, "I want to go home." Then one day her uncle says, "The Emperor is coming here tomorrow. I want all the animals to be very, very clean. All right?" "Of course," says Li Sun.

*****

The next morning Li Sun is giving the tigers their food. Suddenly she hears her uncle say, "You've got another job?" She opens the long red curtains. Her uncle is talking to Yu Mei. She works with Wu Chi, the horseman. "Yes," says Yu Mei. "And I'm leaving today. Goodbye." After she leaves, Li Sun's uncle looks at Wu Chi. "Now what can we do?" he asks.

*****

A moment later he sees Li Sun. "Of course!" he says. "Li Sun. She can help you this evening." "What?!" Wu Chi laughs. "But she can't learn Yu Mei's job in one day." "Do you have another answer?'' asks Li Sun's uncle. Wu Chi says nothing. In ten minutes, Li Sun is wearing Yu Mei's circus clothes.

*****

That evening the Emperor arrives at seven o'clock. He is wearing beautiful gold clothes. He sits down and watches the circus. Then at the end he talks to Li Sun's uncle. "Who is that new girl with your horseman?" he asks. "Her name is Li Sun," comes the answer. The Emperor smiles. "She is young, but very good." "Oh, thank you, Emperor," says Li Sun's uncle.

*****

After that evening, Li Sun does not clean the animals' cages any more. She works with Wu Cha every day. But that is not all. She starts to love the horseman, too. They often walk in a beautiful park next to the Emperor's palace. There, one day in October, Wu Chi puts a hand on Li Sun's arm. "You make me very happy." he says. ''I want you to be my wife."

*****

Li Sun does not know what to say. She wants to be Wu Chi's wife, but ... not here in the big city. She wants to live with him at home in Blue Moon Valley. She tells him this and looks into his eyes. "Can you understand?" she asks. Wu Chi looks down. "I don't know," he answers. "My home is here in the city. Let me think about it. We can talk again tomorrow."

*****

It is a very long night for Li Sun. She cannot sleep. She goes to see her old friend. Choo Choo. "Oh - what's he going to say tomorrow'?" she asks the panda. "Am I doing the right thing? I love him, but I can't live in the city. I don't like it. My home's back in Blue Moon Valley." Choo Choo looks at Li Sun. His eyes are big, brown and sad.

*****
Early next morning, Wu Chi finds Li Sun in the panda's cage. "Come with me," he says. They go to see Li Sun's uncle. Wu Chi has something to tell him. “Li Sun's going to be my wife," he says. "but that's not all. We're leaving the circus. I'm going to be a farmer in Blue Moon Valley."  “Oh, Wu Chi!'' says Li Sun. She is very, very happy.

*****

One week later Li Sun and Wu Chi leave the city. Everyone comes to say goodbye. Then, at the last minute, four men arrive. They are carrying a big box. "What's this?" asks Li Sun. "It's something from all of us," says her uncle. "Please open it." Li Sun opens the box. "Choo Choo!" she says. "Oh uncle, thank you. Thank you!"

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