While Leah darted around the cottage searching for memories Shianna and ol' Bear sat at the table talking intensely.
"Er. . . I'm not sure how it happened," ol' Bear said in his deep hollow-log voice, "but this surely is a fine land. I'm glad I came."
"But what is the last you recall from Earth," questioned the forest Queen.
Bear scratched his head. "Well, we were telling our nap-time stories. . ."
"And that brought you here," Shianna asked still breathless with surprise.
"Let me try to explain," Bear struggled, "you see about three years ago after Leah started talking good. . . er. . . she began to. . . well. . . join in with the story telling. She described these Enchanted Lands and all the magical creatures and, above all, you my Lady." Bear cleared his throat, "so I just went along, er. . . now I'm getting confused."
Leah sighed. She got bored with explanations. So sneaking quietly out into the garden she skipped around humming to the meadow flowers.
The flowers hummed back.
Spying a stately mountain fern the little girl crouched to stare into its leafy face. She loved ferns.
"Hi, Fern, how's it going?"
Fern complained. "Not so good. To tell you the truth this is way to too much work for a fern of my age."
"Oh, Fern, you aren't that old, and you are surely not working much at all, just sort of sitting there with your leaves blowing in the wind."
"Jilligans," protested Fern, "can't you see that I am struggling? After all, I cast very complicated shadows."
"That is silly, Fern. You don't look 'striggilizing'."
"That is 'struggling,' not 'striggilizing'," the fern corrected.
Leah squinched her nose. "But making shadows is not a real job."
Fern became upset. "Little girl, can't you understand? We ferns cast very special shadows! We have been developing this art since time began. What would the forest be without fern shadows?"
Leah sighed, "I guess it must be an important job. . .
"Most certainly, and right now my rascally little shadow is trying to get away!" Fern groaned. "In fact this shadow casting is not only a real job, why it becomes now a terrible emergency! I don't think I can hang on much longer!"
Leah's eyes widened. "You must keep trying, Fern. I'll run for help." She whirled to skip away.
Fern shouted, "you can't leave now! Help me cling! This is a terrible, horrible emergency!"
Over her shoulder Leah hollered back, "don't give up. I'll hurry!"
But the battle became more frustrating for poor tortured Fern when he spied Leah stopping to prattle with a family of daisies on her so called mad dash for help.
"So you crossed over as Leah's old Bear," Shianna mused. "This is almost unheard of. Few grown ups have ever wandered into these enchanted lands, even as Bears." She pondered. "Something extremely strange has happened here.
"I'm. . . I'm sorry, my Lady." Bear bowed his head in apology.
"No, no," Shianna said patting his furry head, "you must have a mission here. The curtains between these worlds do not part that easily."
Meanwhile Leah crept back into the cottage unnoticed. Bear and Shianna were talking deeply. "Good," Leah whispered and skittered around the table to slide into a chair and to fold her arms and nod back and forth to the conversation.
"Besides," Shianna said, "it's my guess that our little girl here has some claim to this incredible event." Shianna turned. "Isn't that right, Leah?"
Leah jumped eyes mooning. "I didn't do anything!"
Shianna chuckled. "Leah don't be so dramatic. I was just wondering if you had something to do with yourself and your daddy being here?"
Leah faked hurt feelings. "I didn't mean to turn you into a bear, Daddy." She pouted and stared at the table.
Shianna and Bear exchanged looks. Bear shrugged shoulders turning paws up.
Peering through the tops of her eyes Leah concluded that they probably didn't see her sneak away because she was a renown expert in the grand sneak. Turning an impish grin she said, "I'm not at all sure what you mean; I haven't been paying too much attention, but I do know something for really sure."
"What?" Bear and Shianna sounded at the same time.
Leah blurted, "we are having an emergency--a terrible, horrible EMERGENCY!"
The light through the window suddenly blazed twice as bright.