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4C Traditional Asian Folktale

​Red Panda
Long, long ago there was a young girl named Mae-Ling who was very kind and generous.  She had long black hair and she always wore jungle flowers in her hair.  Mae-Ling loved animals and took care of injured animals on her parent’s farm, and in the village. As Mae-Ling was feeding the chickens one morning she heard a strange noise in the jungle at the rear of the farm.
Mae-Ling dropped the basket of feed and ran quickly to investigate.  On her arrival at the edge of the jungle she heard sobbing.  She walked quietly into the trees, pushing through the undergrowth. Suddenly Mae-Ling came across a clearing.  Sitting in the middle, on top of a tree stump, was a baby Red Panda.  He was weeping, and rocking backwards and forwards.
As Mae-Ling slowly approached the crying baby, he raised his head.  His face was wet, with tears running down his cheeks.  “Please help me,” he cried.  He looked at her.  “Who are you? You’re not a Red Panda.”  “My name is Mae-Ling.  Do you need some help?”  Mae-Ling crept slowly and carefully towards the baby.  The little Red Panda looked up and suddenly tumbled backwards off the stump.  “Are you alright? I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to frighten you.”  The little Red Panda looked up at her.  “My name is Red.  I woke up and my parents were gone.  I’ve looked everywhere.   I saw Bao-Shen disappearing into the jungle.  I think he took them!”   “Who is Bao-Shen?” Mae-Ling asked.
Red wiped his eyes and started to tell his story.  “Bao-Shen threatened my family.  He comes once a week at sunset and takes children away.  My parents hid me to keep me safe.  Yesterday I think he took them instead of me.”   Mae-Ling felt bad.  This news was horrible.  Utterly shocking!  If all the Red Pandas were being taken, the jungle would suffer.  The animals were important and their habitat special.
Mae-Ling realised something would have to be done to save the Red Pandas.  She and Red sat down together in the clearing and discussed what they could do to trick Bao-Shen and stop his evil business.  They whispered to each other for a long time.  By the time the moon was high in the sky they had a plan.
The next week, at sunset on the day Bao-Shen came to the Red Pandas’ habitat, he found there were more babies than ever before.  “What a catch!” he thought, rubbing his paws together gleefully.  “This will make me rich.”  As he was bundling the children into his cart he began to realise something was wrong.  Just as he grabbed the last baby Red Panda to look more closely at it, he heard a strange sound, then a whooshing noise.  Suddenly he was swept off his feet into the air.  As he dropped the baby he realised he’d been tricked.   The babies were fakes, and he was trapped.  Roaring angrily he yelled, “Let me out! Help!  Someone let me out!”
Mae—Ling and Red came out from where they were hiding with the other Red Pandas.  Bao-Shen was struggling to get out of the net swinging above the ground.  “Now you know how it feels,” Red called out.  “Maybe we should sell you to a zoo.”  “Please, no!  Don’t sell me.  I’ll never do it again,” Bao-Shen begged.  “Do you promise?  Think about how you would feel if you were a young cub and your parents, or you, were taken,” Red cried angrily. 
Mae-Ling stood with her hands on her hips, thinking about what they had both said.  She walked over to where Bao-Shen was dangling.  “Bao-Shen, you should treat others the way you would want to be treated yourself.  Will you keep your promise?”  “Yes, yes, I promise,” Bao-Shen said eagerly.  Mae-Ling then released Bao-Shen, who ran off into the jungle never to be seen again.   Mae-Ling then walked home with Red.