As they rode along down the forest road in the porcupine's wagon, the
children soon found they weren't the only ones after new-moon stones. Many
other animals were hurrying along down the road with the same destination
in mind. They all called out greetings as they scurried past the leisurely
horse, promising to meet again later that afternoon at, the secret place
where the new-moon stones would appear. Most of the animals seemed to be
easily sidetracked, however. The wagon often caught up to them farther on
down the road where they had stopped to investigate an interesting hole
or an intriguing smell.
The porcupine was easily sidetracked as well. He was something of a
traveling salesman and he stopped quite often to trade things from the back
of his wagon. But none of the items were very valuable and it was hard to
see why he was doing it. The horse tried to explain while the porcupine
was off dickering with a badger.
"He's after the pennies," he said. "Everyone finds them along
the road. Hard to know where they all come from."
"Back in our world people drop pennies all the time and don't even
bother to pick them up," said Jennifer.
"Maybe they drop through to this place," said Jamie.
"Go on, get serious!" said Rachael and she made a face.
"It might just be possible," said Jennifer. "Our world
and this are connected you know, so maybe when we lose something in our
world it gets found in this."
"Do you ever find other things," Jamie asked the horse.
"Bags," he replied.
"Bags?" said Jamie.
"He means like garbage probably," explained Rachael.
"Garbage?" said the horse and he looked shocked. "Don't
ever say that! Some of the nicest things come in bags! Chocolate doughnuts
with chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles, marshmallow cookies or brownies
or cakes. Bakery bags are especially nice, sometimes you find a whole bag
like that just lying by the side of the road!"
"What do you do with the bags when you find them?"
"What do I do? Why I eat them of course! It's the most delightful
way to spend a day, finding a bag of something and then eating it! Ah, bags!
I dream of them sometimes, nice big fat ones, stacked in stacks and then
rows and rows and racks and racks of all the wonderful things you can pack
inside them! Ah!"
The horse fell into a dreamy silence. There was a great big smile on
his face and a far away look in his eyes. Then he closed them. Soon he was
"That's the stupidest thing I ever heard," said Rachael. "He
dreams about grocery stores!"
"Well, the porcupine dreams about banks," said Jamie.
"You know it's very funny," said Jennifer. "What's real
for us is a dream for them, and what's real for them is a dream for us."
"Who ever had dreams about this place?" said Rachael.
"I have," said Jennifer and she told them all about the endless
field she had seen in her dreams the night before.
"Hey, maybe that's where we have to go to find the new-moon stones,"
"Who cares about dreams," said Rachael. "Dreams are dumb.
Let's go find the porcupine."