Deep in the bamboo forests of China
lived two pandas, Yong-Hu and Ho-Shing. Yong-Hu was rather plump, had
black ears, legs and arms, and two large black patches around his golden
eyes. Ho-Shing looked much the same but wasnít as chubby as Yong-Hu. Yong-Hu
spent most of his days sitting among the bamboo eating. Ho-Shing, though
he too liked to eat, was more of a daydreamer. Heíd watch the clouds for
hours as they floated lazily across the sky. He enjoyed looking at the
flowers. Nothing pleased him more than to be able to sniff them and inhale
their fragrance. Tall mountains stood proudly around the bamboo forest.
They seemed to be reaching for the sky. Ho-Shing wondered what was at the
top of them.
"Ho-Shing, are you going to eat or
not?" Yong-Hu interrupted. He looked down from the top of the bamboo. "Ho-Shing,
are you listening to me or are you daydreaming again?"
Ho-Shing heard Yong-Hu calling his
name and looked up. "I was thinking about the mountains. I wonder what is
at the top of them?"
"Youíre not thinking about climbing
up there, are you? Thereís probably snow falling," Yong-Hu said.
"There may be snow but there also
might be some fresh, young bamboo forests up on the top. Wouldnít you like
to go and see if there is?" Ho-Shing asked.
Yong-Hu thought for a while. "Youíre
right. Some young, tender bamboo shoots sound rather delicious. Iíll come
with you," he answered. Ho-Shing felt happy. He was very curious about the
mountain. If there was snow, the pandas would stay warm. They were covered
with thick black and white fur, and Yong-Hu had some extra padding of fat
on his bulging tummy. Yong-Hu climbed down from the bamboo tree and joined
Ho-Shing. They stood silently, gazing at the mountaintops. "You donít
think there are any tigers or leopards up there, do you?" he asked his
"I donít think so. Weíll be careful.
Just keep thinking bamboo, bamboo, bamboo," Ho-Shin said, smiling at Yong-Hu.
"Bamboo? Thereís plenty of it here,
but, I donít want you to go alone, so off we go," Yong-Hu said.
The two pandas headed along the dirt
trail that winded up the mountainside. Ho-Shing noticed clouds swirling
around the mountaintop. He hoped that it wouldnít rain. Because he was
rather plump, Yong-Hu was soon huffing and puffing. The higher they
climbed up the steep trail, the more difficult it was for him. "Ho-Shing,
I donít think I can do this much longer. Itís hard for me and very steep.
Can we walk slower?" Yong-Hu asked.
Ho-Shing didnít mind. They would
walk slower. He was happy looking at the trees, flowers, birds,
butterflies and dragonflies. Panda bears walk on four legs, not two, like
some other bears. "Look at the beautiful bird," said Ho-Shing. "Itís a
"A yellow-bellied what?" asked Yong-Hu.
"Tragopan. They are very rare and
found nowhere except China. We are indeed fortunate to have seen one," Ho-Shing
"Are we going to stop and look at
every bird we see?" asked Yong-Hu impatiently.
"We live in a beautiful country,
Yong-Hu. We should enjoy everything around us," Ho-Shing said.
"All I want to enjoy is the bamboo.
Letís hurry," Yong-Hu suggested.
They climbed up the trail, stopping
now and then to admire a rare flower and to rest. A wide, but shallow
stream flowed through the mountains. When Ho-Shing and Yong-Hu came to it,
they stopped. "How do you think weíre going to get across that?" Yong-Hu
asked. Not waiting for an answer, he drank some of the cold clear water.
"Weíll have to walk across it," Ho-Shing
"But itís cold water. Our paws and
legs will get soaking. Look into the sky, Ho-Shing. The sun is lowering.
It will be dark soon and I donít want to be wet. If those clouds bring
rain or snow, we will be very uncomfortable and I will be very unhappy,"
"Then we shall stay here for the
night. Look, over there," Ho-Shing pointed. "There is some bamboo. Itís
thin and short, but we can eat it. Weíll just have to sleep on the ground,
under some ferns." He walked towards the bamboo. "Come, Yong-Hu."
"These bamboo shoots and leaves
arenít too bad," said Yong-Hu. "In fact, they are delicious. I wonder if
the bamboo on top of the mountain will taste this good." He filled his
mouth with food.
Ho-Shing ate, trying to keep his
strength up. It was still a long climb up to the top of the mountain. He
could see the peak from where they stood. "What is up there?" he asked.
Yong-Hu ignored him and kept eating.
After theyíd filled up on bamboo,
they lay down in the ferns and pulled some over them for covering. No
sooner had they done this than it began to rain. "Oh no," complained Yong-Hu.
"I knew it would rain. I knew it would. Now weíll get soaking. We might as
well have crossed the stream."
Ho-Shing didnít reply. He heard
something moving on the other side of the stream. "Be quiet," he urged
Yong-Hu. "There is something moving around over there," he said, pointing.
"What is it?" Yong-Hu whispered. "Is
it a tiger? Is it a leopard? Oh no!"
"Yong-Hu! Silence!" Ho-Shing
Just then a shadow appeared. Yong-Hu
started to shake and whimper. "Itís a tiger," he softly whispered. "Itís
going to eat us. Oh no!"
Ho-Shing watched the striped animal
as it walked up and down the banks of the stream. The pandas could hear it
growling and snarling. It wanted to cross the stream but all the rain that
had fallen, had made it more of a river than a stream. "It wonít cross. We
are safe," Ho-Shing said quietly to Yong-Hu.
Yong-Hu, who had buried his head
under the fern leaves, peeked out. He saw the large tiger walking back
into the trees. "Itís gone," he said, relieved at those words.
"We had better sleep now. Cover
yourself from the rain as much as you can," Ho-Shing said and lay down.
The night passed uneventful after that. Yong-Hu snored all night but Ho-Shing
was too tired to care. When the sun rose over the top of the mountain, the
pandas woke up. "Letís eat," Yong-Hu said, sitting up and grabbing another
bamboo cane. He bent it over to his mouth.
As he ripped the tender leaves off,
Ho-Shing stood up and looked at the top of the mountain. The sun was out,
there were no clouds and he could see the trees and rocks at the peak.
"Letís go," he said to Yong-Hu. They both grabbed a few leaves to eat on
the way and went to the stream. The rain had stopped and it was back down
to a calm level. "The tiger wonít bother us during the daylight," Ho-Shing
assured his friend.
They crossed through the water. It
was still cold and their legs and paws got wet, but when they reached the
other side, Yong-Hu decided that it wasnít that bad to be a little wet.
Soon the sun would feel hot to them. As they walked along the trail, going
upwards the whole way, they saw other animals. A few mountain goats
clamored over the rock piles. They saw many different birds, mice,
rabbits, and even a few large bats.
At last they reached the top. Yong-Hu
could hardly breathe. He lay down and rested, huffing and puffing loudly.
Ho-Shing walked to the rock that jutted out of the top. He climbed up and
stood silently. Before him lay the valley. He could see for hundreds of
miles. He saw the river meandering on its way to the sea. He saw orchards
and farms. The city looked like a small white dot among a green sea.
"Yong-Hu, you must come and see this."
"Do I have to?" Yong-Hu asked.
"Yes. It is worth the walk," Ho-Shing
Yong-Hu slowly got up. He climbed to
the top of the rock. He looked down at the valley. "It is quite pretty
down there, but where is the bamboo forest you told me about?" he asked.
Ho-Shing looked about. Not far from
where the trail ended was a bamboo forest. "There it is," he pointed.
"There is your bamboo forest."
"Enough of the view. I want food,"
Yong-Hu said and climbed down from the rock. He ran over to the bamboo
canes and started eating.
Ho-Shing stayed where he was. An
eagle flew past him, soaring through the air with grace and beauty. "Yong-Hu?"
Yong-Hu had his mouth full but
"Yong-Hu, why donít we stay up here
for a while. There is a cave that we can sleep in when it snows or rains.
The cold air feels good. There is plenty of bamboo for us to eat and there
are no tigers. The best thing is that every day we can see the beautiful
valley," Ho-Shing said.
"Okay," replied Yong-Hu. He didnít
care. He was happy anywhere, as long as there was food. So Yong-Hu and Ho-Shing
made their home at the top of the mountain for a while and loved every
minute of it, even when it snowed.