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Paper Dolls and Butterflies

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A-Yuan is looking for Xian-gege. Qing-gugu says she's too busy to play and Ning-shushu says he'll play, but he isn't good at playing and he isn't good at telling stories either. Xian-gege is good at playing and at telling stories, so he's the best. That's why A-Yuan is looking for him.

Oh! Xian-gege might be in his cave! A-Yuan runs there--he trips on a bone and brushes the dirt off his knees--and sure enough, there he is. He's sound asleep so there's only one thing to do. A-Yuan runs to him and jumps on top of him, but it doesn't work! Xian-gege doesn't even roll over. So he pokes his face and shakes his shoulders and he's just about to start pulling his hair when something flies in front of his face.

A-Yuan's eyes widen. It's a paper doll! Xian-gege must have made it for him! A-Yuan reaches out to grab it, but it flutters just out of reach of his fingers. It dances over his head and towards the door of the cave.

Weeellll... maybe it would be alright not to wake Xian-gege up just yet.

The paper doll flies through the air, twirling and spinning like a kite. If it flies too high, A-Yuan is afraid it'll blow away on the wind forever, but it keeps coming back down. Every time it does, it brushes against his cheek and then flies away before he can catch it. A-Yuan laughs at the silly piece of paper.

“Chasing butterflies?” Qing-gugu asks.

“No!” The paper doll isn't a butterfly. “Oh!” he realizes. “I bet it wants to play with A-Yuan's butterflies!”

The paper doll circles around Qing-gugu's head and hovers in front of her face. “Wei Wuxian,” she says.

“Xian-gege is, Xian-gege's asleep!”

“Asleep, hm?”

“Really asleep! I jumped and jumped on top of him and he didn't wake up!” The paper doll nods in agreement, and Qing-gugu laughs. Laughing is right! Jumping on Xian-gege is really fun!

“This doesn't count as resting, you know,” says Qing-gugu, and then she says, “Hm. I do wonder…” She takes one of her sharp-don’t-touch needles out of her sleeve and starts walking towards Xian-gege’s cave.

The paper doll darts after her, but this time, A-Yuan catches it! “Qing-gugu doesn't like playing and being dis—” he says, “—dis...tracted. A-Yuan has butterflies!” He carries the paper doll to the basket where his toys live. He makes his paper butterfly fly by waving its stick around, because it can't fly by itself, then lets go of the paper doll. “Fly, fly, fly!” he tells it. So the paper doll flies after the butterfly and tries to catch it! It grabs the butterfly's wing between its two paper arms and tries to carry it up, but then A-Yuan waves the stick again and they all fall down.

On the ground, the paper doll stands up and untangles the string from its butterfly friend. “The paper doll likes the paper butterfly!” A-Yuan exclaims. He knew they'd like playing together! “Butterfly is from Rich-gege,” he says. “Paper doll is from Xian-gege. So, Xian-gege likes Rich-gege! I like you, Rich-gege,” he makes the paper doll say. “Mm,” the paper butterfly agrees. The paper doll curls up and starts shaking like it's laughing, but then it flies away too fast for A-Yuan to catch.

He and his butterfly chase it all the way to Xian-gege's cave. When he finally gets there, Xian-gege is awake and standing at the entrance waiting for him. “Looking for something?” he asks.

A-Yuan takes the paper doll and lets go, but it only spirals down to the ground. He frowns. Earlier, it flew, just like his paper butterfly. “Oh,” he concludes. “It needs a string now!”