A long, long time ago in China there lived a little girl called Chien Min. She had lived all her life with her father and mother in a little house on the edge of a bamboo forest. Chien Min loved animals and was always very kind to them.
One day, when it was very hot, Chien Min was walking alone along the edge of the forest. Suddenly, she heard a sound. It was a cry coming from inside the forest. She was very much afraid but the crying continued and so she decided to see what it was. She went into the forest and followed the sound. There, sitting on the ground under a big tree she found a little white ball of fur; it was a baby panda. The panda was crying and licking its front paw. There was a big thorn in it. “Oh, you poor little animal!” Chien Min ran to the little creature and sat beside her. “Give me your paw”.
At first the little white panda seemed afraid. But soon he understood and gave her his paw. Very carefully Chien Min took the torn out of its paw. The baby panda was so happy it licked her face and she stroked it. From that day, they became the best of friends. Chien Min called the panda Niao-Niao, and they played together in the bamboo forest every day. It wasn’t long before Chien Min became friends with all the pandas in the forest.
One afternoon the girl was sitting on the ground watching the baby pandas playing happily. Suddenly she saw something moving in the trees. It was a big
leopard. It had been sitting in the tree waiting for its lunch to walk by. Chien Min stood up and shouted a warning. But as she was shouting the leopard jumped out of the tree top onto Niao-Niao. Chien Min forgot that she was afraid and threw a heavy stone at the leopard. “Go away, leave the panda alone!” The leopard jumped on the girl and knocked her to the ground. At that moment the adult pandas arrived. They were making a lot of noise. The leopard became afraid and ran away back into the forest. The pandas all ran to Chien Min but could do nothing. She was dead. She had given her life to save Niao-Niao.
The news of how Chien Min died went through the forest to the north and to the east and west until all the pandas in China knew what had happened.
All the white pandas met to talk about the little brave girl who had given her life for a baby panda. They cried and cried and their tears fell like rain onto the ground. They beat their paws on the ground and then wiped the tears from their eyes. Their dirty paws made black marks on their faces. Then they beat their bodies and left black marks from their dirty paws on their bodies too. Soon all the white pandas were covered with black marks.
That is why, even today, pandas are black and white. And that is why everyone who sees these beautiful animals remembers Chien Min, a little girl who gave her life to save a panda.
edge — край, лезвие
to lick — лизать
paw — лапа
thorn — шип, заноза
to stroke — гладить, поглаживать
warning — предупреждение
to knock — стучать
adult — взрослый
to beat — бить, ударять
to wipe — вытирать