Yong-Hu and Ho-Shing walked through
the valley. "Iím getting tired," Yong-Hu complained. "Where are we going
anyway?" he asked.
Ho-Shing stopped and turned to face
Yong-Hu. "We are going to find a city, a lost city. I have heard great
tales about it. There are wondrous surprises that awaits the ones who find
the ancient city."
"Does anyone live there? Are there
people there?" Yong-Hu asked.
"Not anymore. At one time it was the
busiest city in all of China. Nobody lives there now," Ho-Shing explained.
"Because it is too far out of the
way for the trade routes. People want to live near the cities these days,
not far into the mountains in remote locations," Ho-Shing explained.
"What kinds of surprises are there?
Good surprises?" Yong-Hu asked.
"Magical surprises," Ho-Shing
smiled. "Come. We must continue and reach the safety of the lost city
"You ask many questions, Yong-Hu. I
donít want to frighten you, but there are many tigers in these mountains.
We must reach the city. Come," Ho-Shing said. He turned and started
"This is a lot of climbing for two
panda bears. We should be sitting in the bamboo right now, eating until
our tummies are full. Is there bamboo in the lost city?" Yong-Hu asked.
"Good. Letís hurry up then. Iím
starving," Yong-Hu giggled and quickly followed the other panda.
After several hours, Ho-Shing
stopped. "See the mountains ahead? We are nearly there. Another hour."
Just then they heard a growling
sound. "What was that?" Yong-Hu asked.
"A tiger, but it isnít near us. Its
roar is echoing off the tall mountains. Donít fear. Weíll be safe soon,"
Ho-Shing said, comfortingly.
"There it is! There is the lost
city! We have found it at last," Ho-Shing smiled.
"It is magnificent, Ho-Shing. The
walls are high and the roofs of the buildings sparkle in the sunshine. Are
they made of jade?" Yong-Hu asked.
"There is much jade, ivory, gold,
silver, and even rubies. We must hurry," Ho-Shing said.
They stood at the bottom of the
wall. It was as high as the tallest trees theyíd ever seen.
"How do we get inside?" Yong-Hu wondered.
"We must climb these steps," Ho-Shing
said, pointing to very steep steps that led to the top of the wall.
"Gulp! I donít know if I can climb
that high," Yong-Hu feared.
"Inside you will find all the bamboo
you can eat," Ho-Shing tempted.
"What are we waiting for? Letís go!"
Yong-Hu laughed and ran up the stairs. After heíd climbed twenty of them
he stopped and took a few breaths. "I think Iíll walk slowly up the rest
Ho-Shing merely smiled and continued
his climb. When he reached the top he waited for Yong-Hu. "Iím coming," he
shouted from below. "Donít go and eat all the bamboo. Save some for me."
Ho-Shing looked at the city. The rooftops were green and seemed to dance
in the crisp, cold air of the mountains. The walled city was everything he
"Ah, there is where we need to go,"
he said to Yong-Hu as he reached the top step, "over there, in the middle
of the city."
"Is that where the bamboo is?" Yong-Hu
"Bamboo grows everywhere you look.
That is where we shall find our surprises," Ho-Shing said.
They climbed down the steps on the
other side of the wall. "This is much easier," Yong-Hu laughed.
"We need to treat this place with
much reverence. Be quiet. Donít touch anything until I say so," he warned
When they reached the center of
town, they came upon a small shrine. A huge, golden gong hung from poles.
Several Chinese statues of lions surrounded it. "Look at their ruby eyes!"
Yong-Hu said. "Can I bang the gong?" he asked.
"Yes. We have to let the spirits of
the past know that we have arrived," the wiser panda said.
Yong-Hu picked up the stick and hit
the gong. It clanged and echoed back and forth from mountain to mountain.
He had to put his hands over his ears, as it was too loud.
When the noise stopped, silence
filled the air. Crickets began to chirp and sing a melody. "Listen," Ho-Shing
said. "It is beautiful."
"When do we get the rubies and
jade," Yong-Hu whispered.
Ho-Shing ignored him and listened to
the magical music of the crickets. Yong-Hu didnít say another word. The
two pandas stood silently for an hour, until the crickets stopped singing.
"Our surprise?" Yong-Hu whispered
"Yong-Hu, that was our surprise.
Nobody in the world has heard anything that beautiful before. It is our
reward for our journey," Ho-Shing said.
"What about the jade? What about the
gold, silver, rubies and ivory?" Yong-Hu asked.
"We cannot touch these things. They
belong to the people who lived once in this lost city. You can eat all the
bamboo you want, but the rest must stay within these walls," Ho-Shing
At the mention of bamboo, Yong-Hu
forgot about all the precious jewels and riches. "Bamboo!" He ran off to
search for his feast.
Ho-Shing found him a few hours
later. "Are you full, my friend?" he asked.
"Have some. It is the most delicious
bamboo you will ever try," Yong-Hu said.
"We shall eat and tomorrow we shall
leave and head back to the river," Ho-Shing said.
The two pandas spent the night in
the lost city. When the sun rose over the walls, they walked up the steps
and down the other side, leaving the magical place behind them.