Why Panda Bears Are Black And White This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   A giant panda sat in the forest, alone, happily munching on bamboo flowers. It was peaceful, everything quiet, sunlight shining on the green leaves, the sky above a beautiful blue.

The panda finished his snack and sat back against the tree trunk. His stomach was full and the panda was content. He began to clean his fur. There was no doubt the Giant Panda was the most beautiful animal in all of China. His coat was as soft as angora and as smooth as silk. He was decorated in an array of colors. Deep greens and reds, rich blues and purples, sunny yellows, and every other color imaginable. All the other animals marveled at the panda's beauty. But he was also beautiful on the inside.

The panda was just laying down to take his afternoon nap when his friend, the swallowtail butterfly came flapping toward him. The swallowtail was mostly gray with a few specks of dull yellow on the tips of its wings.

"Oh, my beautiful friend," she said. "look how plain and ugly I am. I wish to be colorful and lovely like you. Do you think I could have some of the yellow on your coat?" The butterfly looked so sad that the panda just had to help her. He closed his eyes and the swallowtail was suddenly a beautiful yellow. The panda, however, had no yellow left on his coat. But the swallowtail was very happy.

"Thank you, thank you, Panda!" she cried before flying away.

Seeing the swallowtail so elated made the panda's heart fill with joy, and he was happy too.

On the swallowtail's way back to her nest, she ran into the red fox.

"Tell me, swallowtail, where did you get those beautiful yellow wings?" he asked.

The swallowtail, who was quite afraid of the red fox, told him right away.

"Do you think," the fox said, stroking his dull red fur, that the panda would give me some red, so I will be the most beautiful animal in China?"

"Why, I suppose," the swallowtail answered and flew away in a hurry.

The fox headed over to where the panda lay, trying to sleep. "Hello, Panda," the fox said in his deep voice. The panda was surprised to see the fox because they weren't friends.

"I heard you gave the swallowtail butterfly some yellow from your coat. I would like some vibrant red so I can take your place as the most beautiful animal in China." The panda thought about how happy the swallowtail had been, so he closed his eyes and gave the red fox a wonderful red coat. The fox jumped for joy and ran off into the forest without even saying thank you. But the panda was happy he could give to others and didn't care that there wasn't a trace of red left on his coat.

Now, the red fox was a real bragger and pretty soon the whole forest knew about his coat. They all rushed to the panda (who still hadn't gotten his nap) for new coats, new feathers, new wings and new scales. The panda liked doing this for the other animals: to make them happy made him happy.

It was almost dark when the last bird flew away. The panda was very tired. That was when the wise old night heron flew in.

"Panda," she shouted excitedly. "I've heard you are giving away your colors. May I have some blue? I love the color blue."

The panda shook his head sadly. "I'm sorry, night heron, but I have no colors left to give. I am just black and white. I am plain and ugly like the swallowtail was." The panda thought the heron would be mad that he had no more colors to give, but instead of frowning, the heron smiled.

"Panda," she said, "your colors may be gone, but your kindness is endless. You care only about others, and not about yourself. And that makes you more beautiful that all the reds and greens and yellows and blues in the whole world could make you." 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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silence-is-loud said...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm
Aweessoomemee storyy!!! :D
 
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