Li had recovered well in the meantime. He had observed everything and was happy to soon go home again. However, it also made him a little sad, because he would have to say goodbye to his new friends. The monkeys quickly fetched long vines from the forest, tied them around the dolphin’s large dorsal fin, and attached the ends to the raft.
Everyone wished the little panda bear a safe journey. To make sure he arrived safely, Patricia the turtle accompanied him. They boarded the raft, and the dolphin swam off. The parrot agreed to show them the way and kept a lookout for Li’s home. “According to Li’s stories, there must be some very tall bamboo grasses growing there that I can use for orientation,” the parrot thought.
The raft had been out at sea for hours. The wind was picking up, and the dolphin was swimming with all his strength, but the raft was getting harder and harder to pull. He wouldn’t make it much further on his own, and the parrot hadn’t seen land yet. Patricia and Li tried hard to paddle along, but they did not make much progress. Suddenly, they were surrounded by some small whales. They looked at Li and asked, “Are you the little panda that was swept away in the big hurricane with the old wooden boat? Your parents and brothers have been looking for you for several days. They asked us to be on the lookout for you!”
“Yes! Yes! I am Li, and we are looking for the way home!” cried Li excitedly. “But the dear dolphin is already very exhausted and can hardly pull the raft.” Patricia freed the dolphin from the reins and thanked him for his help. He swam away and wished everyone good luck on the onward journey.
Now the parrot also landed on the raft and said, “I have had to fly against the wind the whole time, and visibility is getting worse.” He, too, had to fly back to recover. “We’ll take care of that now,” the whales said in chorus. They formed a line behind the raft and all nudged it at the same time with their snouts.
The ride was so fast now that they didn’t even notice how quickly they arrived at the beach where Li had begun his involuntary adventure. Patricia could make out the tall bamboo trunks that surrounded the land. They were in the right place.
Word spread very quickly that the missing little panda was back. Li’s parents were very happy to have him back in their arms. The brothers couldn’t get enough of their youngest brother’s exciting stories either.
The little panda visibly enjoyed the attention. He then declared, “I am soooo hungry for delicious bamboo shoots!”
There were plenty of those around, and the old turtle could see that Li was very comfortable. She said goodbye to everyone and called out to Li, “You’re a brave little panda, and you’re all right just the way you are!” Smiling with satisfaction, Patricia returned to her island with the whales in tow and told the other animals about Li’s successful return.