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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Waterfall

Ho-Shing sat on a large boulder, looking down on the valley below. It was summer in China and the valley was full of orchards of trees, fields of grain and rows of vegetables growing rapidly in the warm sunshine. The mountains were also covered with leafy trees and the bamboo was growing taller and thicker with each sunrise.

"Ho-Shing! Where are you?" called Yong-Hu. He was in the bamboo nibbling on some tender leaves. "Ho-Shing?" he called again.

Ho-Shing heard his name. He stood up and walked towards the bamboo forest. "Yes, Yong-Hu. I hear you. What do you want?" he asked his friend.

"I want to go for a walk. My legs are cramped from sitting here too long. Will you go with me?" Yong-Hu asked.

"I would enjoy a walk. I heard what sounded like a waterfall on the other side of the forest. Letís go and see it," Ho-Shing suggested. "We can drink the water and refresh ourselves."

"Good idea, Ho-Shing. Iím feeling quite thirsty," Yong-Hu replied.

The pandas trotted off in the direction of the waterfall. As they neared it, the sound of it cascading from high above was nearly deafening. The water landed in a deep pool and then flowed off into a river that meandered down the mountainside to the valley below. They walked up to the pool. Spray from the falls drenched their black and white fur. Ho-Shing drank some of the cool water. "It is very refreshing," he said.

Yong-Hu drank some. "It does taste good." He drank some more. Just then he noticed something bright orange in the water. "Whatís that?" he asked.

Ho-Shing stood back and looked. "I think they are goldfish. How unusual to find them up here in the mountains. Iíve never heard of such a thing. Goldfish are found in fishponds."

"This is a pond of some sort," Yong-Hu said. He reached in with his paws and pulled a goldfish out. It wriggled about in his hands. "Look at its tail. Itís very big." Yong-Hu put the fish back in the water and it swam quickly to the other side of the pool.

Ho-Shing looked up at the top of the waterfall. "See how the spray of the water is making it look like a rainbow?"

Yong-Hu looked up. "Oh, that is pretty. It is a rainbow. No wonder the goldfish want to live here."

The pandas went behind the waterfall. It was very noisy and they got even wetter. There was a dark cave. They went inside. "I donít like dark caves," Yong-Hu said. "I donít want to go any further."

Ho-Shing stopped. He looked around. He saw several bats hanging upside down. He saw a rat running across the cave floor. "Thereís nothing here. Letís go back outside where it is sunny and warm."

The pandas went back to the pool of water. "Letís follow the river for a while and see where it goes," Yong-Hu suggested.

"We know where it goes, but we can follow it for a while," Ho-Shing agreed. They walked along its banks, passing trees and bushes, such as, chrysanthemum, jasmine and magnolias. They stopped to smell them all. Soon they came to a place where the river dropped straight down to the valley. It was another waterfall. "I think this is where we turn back," Ho-Shing said. They stood for a while, looking at the water as it plunged over the edge. They walked back to the bamboo forest. The crickets began to chirp and a flock of cranes flew overhead on their way to the valley.

"I think summer in China is the most beautiful, donít you?" Yong-Hu asked.

"I think every season is beautiful in China," Ho-Shing said and began to nibble on the tender bamboo leaves all around him.

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