"Whatís this?" Yong-Hu asked,
bending over to pick up something from the grass. "Itís a bottle of some
kind. Itís very dirty though. Letís go to the river and wash it out."
"A bottle? What was it doing lying
in the grass? Thatís curious. You want to go to the river again?" Ho-Shing
"Yes. I am thirsty too. I have had
enough bamboo for today," Yong-Hu said, brushing dirt off the bottle. The
two pandas headed for the river. It was flowing quickly and was a muddy
"It seems to have rained up river,"
Ho-Shing noted, seeing the color of the water. "Itís not very good for
drinking, nor for washing out bottles."
"Iíll do the best I can. You sit
here on this log and wait. Iíll be right back," Yong-Hu said. Ho-Shing
watched as Yong-Hu put the bottle into the water and filled it up. He then
shook it and dumped it back out. He did this several times. "Itís almost
clean," Yong-Hu shouted back. Several minutes later he came walking
towards Ho-Shing. "Itís clean now."
Ho-Shing took the bottle from Yong-Huís
paw and examined it. "This looks like a snuff bottle," he said.
"Whatís that?" Yong-Hu asked.
"If you take a narrow strip of
bamboo and find some paint, you can paint the inside of this bottle. Itís
an old art, from the Qing Dynasty. Would you like to try?" Ho-Shing asked
"I think it would be better if you
did it. Youíre much more skilled than I am. Iíll find some paint and the
bamboo. Letís go back to the bamboo forest," Yong-Hu said.
Ho-Shing carried the bottle as they
walked back. He wondered if he could paint something beautiful inside the
bottle as others had in the past. "Here we are. Will you go and find me
some bamboo, Yong-Hu? I need a small sliver of it, thin enough to go
inside the snuff bottle. I will search for some items to use for paints."
Ho-Shing gathered brightly colored flowers and leaves, berries and other
things he could use to make a dye of some kind. He prepared them and soon
Yong-Hu returned with a piece of bamboo. "This will do fine," Ho-Shing
said, sticking it inside the bottle.
"Iíll leave you alone to paint. Iím
off to nibble on some bamboo. I might go for a swim in the river, if the
muddy water has cleared off," Yong-Hu said and left.
Ho-Shing concentrated. He carefully
used the tip of the bamboo, dipping it into the dyes and painted the
interior of the bottle. A few hours later it was complete. Ho-Shing set it
down on a large rock and let it dry.
When Yong-Hu came back he saw the
bottle. "Ho-Shing! That is beautiful! Iíve never seen such colors before.
That is us; you and I. Youíve painted us inside the bottle. There I am
sitting on the bamboo cane and you are in the tall grass, sitting,
surrounded by chrysanthemum."
"Thank you," Ho-Shing humbly said.
"It is for you."
"For me? You painted this for me?"
"You found the bottle. You took care
of it and washed it out. You are my friend and I want you to have it. I
will do another for myself," Ho-Shing said, handing the snuff bottle to
He reached out and took it. A tear
ran down his cheek, wetting his fur. "Thank you. I will treasure it
always." He walked towards the bamboo with it held carefully in his paw.
Ho-Shing smiled. It brought him
great joy to make Yong-Hu happy. He knew he would find another bottle and
now that heíd done it once, he knew he could paint another. From then on,
the painted bottle sat on a rock near Yong-Hu. He was careful with it and
looked at it often, to remind him of what a good friend, Ho-Shing was.