Such queer characters! What a strange and picturesque party! How, I wondered, would I ever paint their portraits? Only
through rhyme, I reasoned. And yet... and yet my choppy, chirping verse fails, as you see, to do it with any great art. Well,
these ARE the twenty beasts I found in the forest.
But the locusts! I'm forgetting them completely. And Pagoda!
Perhaps she didn't die. She may be alive even now wondering what happened to me.
Where oh where are you? Alive or... No, I refuse to think of it! I can only imagine you
flying by my side, singing and reciting poetry. What were those monsters who attacked us so viciously? Curse the fate that
hurled you to the bottom of a burning ditch and flung me across an ocean wide! And now I have my claws full in this crazy
place. A turtle and a swallow salivate when they see me, for in this strange land a cricket is a tasty morsel for a reptile
or bird. The other pilgrims wrangle too: the bear tackles the salmon, the frog is hopping mad at the butterfly, the toad throws
ugly looks at the moth, the spider conspires with frog and toad to... Ah, it's a hornet's nest of turmoil!
evening at camp the bison tells his tale, for he drew the short straw. And so MY tale for this time, my dear Pagoda. But I
write it with hardly any hope that you'll see it. Are you alive and jumping? Even if so, how will this ever find you? What
carrier pigeon can deliver a letter to a locust lost in a burning ditch?
Yet I dream of the day we'll fly together