A Friend’s Secret

by Lara Veedon, age 9
A Friend’s Secret Lara Veedon loves to write, sing, dance, create art, and perform gymnastics. She is in the fourth grade. While Lara doesn't know what her favorite food in the whole world is, she does know that goldfish are the best snack at Writopia.

“There once was a tiny panda bear named Teddy who lived with his parents in a bamboo forest. They could talk, but they couldn’t expose their secret to humans. They were afraid that humans would capture the pandas, force them to talk to humans, and prove that pandas could talk. The humans would separate the panda families and would kill some of them because they were afraid of their talking because it wasn’t natural. “

There once was a tiny panda bear named Teddy who lived with his parents in a bamboo forest. They could talk, but they couldn’t expose their secret to humans. They were afraid that humans would capture the pandas, force them to talk to humans, and prove that pandas could talk. The humans would separate the panda families and would kill some of them because they were afraid of their talking because it wasn’t natural.  They would put the others in zoos and cages. This family had a house in the bamboo forest and had one child. They lived in a community with a couple of panda families that had kids that were much older than Teddy. When Teddy approached the older kids to play, they excluded him and pretended he was not there. Teddy was always really sad because nobody bothered to be his friend. Teddy always tried to talk to his parents, but they were always too busy or at work. When Teddy was lonely, he went to his secret hideout and drew pictures of him being friends with other pandas.

Teddy was a curious, little panda. The little panda named Teddy had no friends and hoped to make friends, but since pandas were in danger, he had less of a chance of making friends with other pandas. Teddy dreamt of being friends with humans, but he knew it wasn’t possible and he wasn’t allowed to. One day, Teddy was strolling in the forest when he suddenly saw a boy that was walking down the pathway through the bamboo forest. Teddy knew he wasn’t supposed to talk to the boy, but this was his only chance to make friends. The bamboo forest was surrounded by a national park and was protected by the rangers and only had a few pandas to worry about. Because of the small number of pandas, the park was about to close. So, he took his chance.

“Hello, would you like to be my friend?” said Teddy.

The boy literally jumped by the sound of Teddy’s voice. The boy’s name was Parker. He lived with his parents in a house near the forest. His parents were scientists studying pandas, and he was an only child.

“Who said that?” said Parker.

“I said that!” exclaimed Teddy. Teddy curiously got out of his hiding place and started to walk slowly to Parker because he was not so sure that he could trust Parker yet. Parker was speechless. It’s not everyday that you get to see a talking bear. Parker was confused and scared. Why is a panda bear talking? Is he dangerous? Is he going to hurt me?

“Don’t be afraid! I just want to be friends. Just don’t tell anybody I can talk,” Teddy said.

“Okay,” Parker said, but he was still confused how Teddy could talk.

“My name is Teddy, and I’m pretty lonely, so I really do just want friends,” Teddy said.

“Okay, but I can’t stay here for long because I have to go back to my parents,” Parker said.

“This is a secret. Even my parents don’t know that I’m talking to you because I’m not allowed to talk to humans,” Teddy said.

“Okay. I promise!” Parker said.

Teddy was still a little scared and wasn’t fully comfortable, but he wanted to be friends and didn’t want to cause harm to anyone. In the distance, both Teddy and Parker heard Parker’s parents calling for him.

“I’ve got to go, but I’ll see you soon,” Parker said, and then Teddy ran back to his parents and reached home just in time for his family’s dinner.

“Where were you?” Teddy’s mom asked.

“I was exploring the forest,” Teddy stammered.

“You aren’t allowed to go too far out, or else you’ll get lost,” Teddy’s mom reminded him.

“Okay,” Teddy said and got up and washed his dishes and went to bed.

The next day, Teddy woke up and made sure that nothing was a dream by pinching himself. It was not a dream! He had just talked to a human! Teddy had never lied before, and it didn’t feel good to lie. He realized that he shouldn’t have talked to Parker — it could put all the pandas in danger! He could always make friends with the other pandas that their neighbors would give birth to. Teddy felt awful for what he had done. Teddy combed his tangled fur, and he went downstairs for breakfast. For breakfast he had bamboo and fresh water from the stream. In the dining room there was a smooth bamboo table with comfy bamboo chairs and a little wash basin at the corner of the room. Teddy slipped outside and hurried through the winding trees of bamboo, moss, and rocks. When Teddy finally got there, he waited behind the tree just in case other people came and Teddy accidentally thought that they were Parker. When Parker finally came, Teddy slipped out of the trees and walked toward him.

“Hi!” said Teddy. “Come with me. I want to show you something!”

Teddy showed Parker how to climb over the fence and led him through the trees until they came across the stream behind the trees, so Teddy’s parents didn’t see them. They talked about their parents and about what they did. Parker said that his parents were scientists, so right now they were studying pandas. Teddy said that his parents worked at the food workshop and made sure there weren’t any bugs in the food. Once they got bored of talking, Teddy took Parker a little deeper into the woods and showed him his secret hideout. It had a ladder underground that led into a tiny room with drawings and a little chair pushed to the corner of the room. On the other side there was a tiny cupboard with bamboo inside in case Teddy got hungry. Teddy showed Parker all the other tiny rooms, and then they went back to where they started. Once they were done, they crawled back up and went back through the path of winding bamboo trees back to the walkway. They saw Parker’s parents coming down. Teddy quickly went behind a tree.

“See you later,” Parker whispered to Teddy.

Teddy strolled back to his house. Teddy reached his house just in time for lunch. He quickly ate his lunch and went upstairs to take a nap.

When Teddy woke up, he felt exhausted. Teddy heard his parents calling him downstairs to meet his aunt and uncle.

“This is your aunt and uncle. They have just moved in,” Teddy’s mom said.

“They will be staying the night in your room, so you will have to stay in our room,” Teddy’s dad said.

Immediately, Teddy went upstairs and started packing his belongings. He packed his stuffed panda bear, his book on the national park, his bamboo lava lamp, and his panda pajamas. Then, he put that all into a rucksack, and he left it by his bed. He then went back downstairs for dinner, which was bamboo stew. He slowly ate his stew, thinking about Parker. Is Parker going to stay here, or is he going to leave? And does he even like me?

When he was done with dinner, he took all the dishes and handed out dessert, which was bamboo pie. After dessert, he took the dishes and washed them in the sink and went back to the table for conversations.

“What if somebody told our secret? We’d be in grave danger!” his Aunt Beatrice said. Suddenly, Teddy thought twice about his actions with Parker and started feeling sick.

“I’m going to bed now,” Teddy told his parents.

“Why so early?” asked his Dad.

“I don’t feel too good,” Teddy stammered. He felt uncomfortable and just wanted to tell them what he had done, but then he would get in a lot of trouble, and he didn’t want to. He quickly rushed upstairs and changed into his panda pajamas and went into his parents’ bedroom, and laid awake on his back with his eyes closed, thinking about what he had done.

The next morning, Teddy didn’t want to get out of bed. He didn’t want to meet Parker and didn’t want to cause harm to anyone anymore.

Meanwhile, at the walkway, Parker looked around for Teddy and shouted out his name, but didn’t see him. He tried going to the hideout and looked for him, just in case he was there, but he wasn’t. Parker started to worry. What happened to Teddy? Parker slowly walked back, feeling mad that Teddy didn’t show up. He was really disappointed that Teddy didn’t want to come, because he told him he would be there. He walked towards his parents.

“Let’s go home,” he said to his parents.

The next day, Teddy went to the walkway.  He knew Parker had been looking for him because Teddy had heard Parker calling the day before, and he knew Parker had been mad because he had heard Parker stomping his feet.  Teddy didn’t see Parker at the walkway and went back home. Teddy realized that he should have gone to Parker, and he should’ve talked things out, but he didn’t. He also realized that telling Parker about his secret was really wrong, and he was not going to be friends with Parker anymore.

Teddy went home feeling really sad and disappointed in himself. He should’ve talked things out with Parker, but he couldn’t anymore because Parker was gone, and he deserved that.

Teddy went to his hideout and drew himself and Parker as not friends anymore. Teddy never realized that Parker had been to his hideout to see if he was there. He also never realized that Parker had accidentally told his parents that pandas could talk! Parker felt terrible! He promised Teddy that he wouldn’t tell his secret. Should I go back and talk things out with Teddy and say I am sorry? Will Teddy be waiting for me? He chose to do the right thing. He went to the walkway when his parents were at work.

Back at the walkway, Teddy sat on top of the fence feeling disappointed that Parker wasn’t there. Suddenly, Teddy saw Parker approaching him. As Parker walked toward him, Teddy said he was sorry for what he had done. He shouldn’t have left Parker alone and not responded to him. Teddy also told him that he shouldn’t have told him that pandas could talk. Parker said that what he did was even worse. He had accidentally told his parents that pandas can talk.

“Oh no! We have to do something about it and stop them from telling other humans!” Teddy said.

“I’m really sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing when I told them,” Parker said.

“It’s okay. I understand. What I did was also really wrong. I should’ve worked things out with you. I shouldn’t have told you my secret in the first place even though I trust you,” Teddy said. “Let’s go to my hideout, and we can talk things out there.”

Parker followed Teddy back to the hideout, and they both sat at the table. Teddy pulled out two pieces of paper and two pencils. They both started brainstorming ideas on how they could solve their problem.

Suddenly, Teddy came up with an idea! “Parker, you can go home and tell your parents you were joking about how pandas can talk.”

“Great idea!” said Parker. “Then they will forget about what I said!”

Teddy led Parker out of the hideout and back to the walkway because Parker was still not used to all the bamboo trees and how to get through them. Once they got back to the walkway, Parker said goodbye and climbed over the fence. Teddy walked back to his hideout through the green, lush trees with moss covered rocks. In the air there was a scent of fresh dew on the moss. When Teddy got there, he grabbed all the weaved bamboo boxes he could find and carried them back home. He needed them because his family was moving into a different house, so his aunt and uncle would not have to sleep in his room. When he was done with packing, he heard the door open, and his mom, dad, aunt, and uncle entered. They carried bamboo boxes in their hands. Teddy left all the boxes with his belongings by the door. They were moving in two days. After everyone was done packing, there were a lot of boxes by the door. Teddy’s mom started packing all the dishes and pots and pans. Teddy stripped the sheets in the bedrooms and packed them into a box. Since Teddy’s hideout had a couple of rooms, they slept there for the night.

When they woke up, the scent of bamboo and fresh sunlight came in from the open light. For breakfast they had some bamboo. Teddy quickly got dressed and went for a walk outside. Surrounding him was a lush forest of dew, moss covered rocks, and a hundred bamboo trees. Teddy walked to the walkway and sat on the rocks eating bamboo and watched all the tourists stare in awe at him. He waited for Parker, but it didn’t take long. When nobody was looking, Parker snuck over the fence. Teddy told Parker about how his parents were in the hideout and how they were moving in one day. They sat on the grass behind the trees talking in whispers so nobody would see or hear them. In the distance, they heard Teddy’s parents calling him for lunch. Parker quietly snuck over the fence when nobody was looking. Teddy hurried back home through the path of winding trees and moss covered rocks until he came across the river. He grabbed a big log and carefully walked over it. He reached the hideout and went into the room with a table in the middle and a couple of cupboards on the side of the room. He quickly ate lunch and went back outside over the stream and through the winding path of trees. When he reached the walkway, Parker was waiting for him. They went back to Teddy’s old house and went up to his room.

Teddy asked Parker, “How did it go with your parents? Did they believe that you were joking?”

Parker said, “No, they didn’t believe me because I sounded serious when I said it. I’m sorry.”

Teddy said, “It’s okay, we can find another idea. Wait here. I’m going to go to the hideout and get a couple of pieces of paper.”

Parker said, “Okay.”

Teddy went back to the hideout and grabbed a couple of pieces of paper and then went back to Parker. They sat at the table and jotted down some ideas that they had, but none of them made sense. They didn’t know what to do, and they didn’t want Parker’s parents to tell anybody else.

Teddy came up with an idea that might work, which was Parker telling his parents that they can’t tell anybody, but then Teddy realized that then Parker’s parents would know that pandas can talk. They sat there thinking and thinking, but they didn’t know what they should do. Teddy told Parker that he should go home and that he will try to think of some ideas.

Teddy led Parker back to the walkway, and they both said goodbye. Teddy went back home. Teddy went into his bedroom in the hideout and sat at his desk and tried to think of some ideas, but he didn’t think any of them would work.

Teddy finally thought of an idea that might work. Parker would talk to Teddy in front of his parents, but Teddy wouldn’t respond, and then his parents would believe that Teddy couldn’t talk.

After dinner that night, Teddy went to bed and woke up eager to try his idea. He quickly got out of bed and packed his breakfast in a little container and ran back to the walkway. He waited until Parker came and told him his idea. Parker agreed to try this idea, so he got his parents to come with him. Teddy stayed behind the fence just in case they tried to take him to study him. Parker came back with his parents following him and showed them Teddy. Parker talked to Teddy, but Parker knew that Teddy wouldn’t respond. That was part of the idea.

Parker told him, “Hello. What’s your name?”

Teddy sat there and pretended to look confused. He tilted his head to make it even more realistic.

Parker told his parents, “See? Pandas can’t talk.”

His parents said to him, “So then why did you say that pandas could talk?”

Parker said, “Since you guys are really serious scientists, I just wanted you to laugh for once.”

Parker’s parents said, “Let us try to talk to him.” They tried talking to Teddy, but Teddy just ignored them. They said, “We have to go, so please don’t do that again. You disturbed us. You’re grounded. You can’t come here for two days.”

Parker said, “Come on!”

Once Parker’s parents went, Teddy said, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” said Parker.

Parker slowly walked home, disappointed that he couldn’t see Teddy for two days. At least it wasn’t for four days. Plus, by the time he was ungrounded, he would be able to at least see some of their new home. Two days passed slowly in those days. Teddy moved to his new home which was pretty big, and it had a ton of rooms. Parker was really eager to see Teddy’s new home, at least on the outside. Finally, on the day that Parker was ungrounded, he went to the walkway and met Teddy, who led him to their new home on the outside.

“Wait here, I want to get something!” Teddy said.

“Okay,” said Parker.

When Teddy went inside, Teddy’s parents glanced outside the window and were shocked to see a human.

“Young man! Explain yourself!” his mom said.

“Uh oh!” Teddy said.

Teddy’s mom had a very stern look on her face.

“Did you tell a human our secret?” said his dad.

“Maybe… well… we kind of just maybe became good friends,” said Teddy.

“Do you know how much danger you put us in?” said his mom.

“Well, I trust him. He’ll keep the secret really safe,” said Teddy.

“How long have you been friends with this boy?” said his dad.

“Well, maybe a month or two,” said Teddy.

His parents were really angry. Luckily, his aunt and uncle were out for a walk. Thank goodness!

“I’m really sorry, but I just don’t have any friends!”

“Well, if our secret is safe with him, it should be good,” said his parents.

Teddy thought, Phew! I thought this was going to be worse.

“You’re going to be grounded for five days,” said his dad.

Teddy felt awful and didn’t know what to do. He went back outside and told Parker the disappointing news and how annoying it was. He would be grounded for five days!

“You should go. I’ll get in more trouble if you stay here longer,” Teddy said.

“Okay,” said Parker.

Teddy led Parker back to the walkway, since the path was a little bit different. Teddy felt awful. He had gotten in so much trouble, and he didn’t want Parker to also have the punishment of not seeing him. Teddy walked back home slowly and sadly. His parents told him to go to his room. Teddy laid on his bed on his stomach. He was hungry but didn’t have anything in his bedroom.

“Mom!” Teddy said. “Can I have something to eat? I’m hungry!”

“Come down here and get something if you want something!”

“Okay,” said Teddy.

Teddy slowly dragged his feet down the stairs into the kitchen to the pantry, opening the door with a sad face on him. He looked in the mirror and thought to himself, Oof! I look awful! There were wet stains on him and green patches of leaf stains on him. I better take a shower, he thought to himself. He quickly got his clothes and went into the fresh, lemon scented bathroom. It smells like lemons, he thought. He used his fur body wash from Pandaphora. He grabbed a towel and wrapped it around himself cozily. Five days passed slowly, and in those days, Teddy stayed in his room, practicing his juggling. Usually the ball would bounce on his head and he would get a huge bump on it. His juggling got better and better every day. On the last day, he decided to just lie in bed and sleep. He was happy because he was ungrounded at last.

“Finally!” he said to himself. “Ungrounded!”

Parker was waiting at the walkway when Teddy was there.

“I’m ungrounded!” Teddy told Parker.

“Yay! Finally!” said Parker. “Those five days sure went by slowly.”

They went to Teddy’s hideout and hung out, talking about what had happened in those five days.

“Well, I’ve been getting better at juggling. Want to see?” Teddy said.

“Okay… ” Parker said, unsure.

Teddy grabbed three clementines and started juggling them, but they kept on falling on his head. Teddy and Parker laughed hysterically. They were on the floor, rolling on their backs cheerfully. They were friends in secret.

The End

 

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