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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Hot and Humid

It was hot and humid in the bamboo forest, even though it was high up on the mountainside. Steam filled the air, seeping in between every tree, rock and bush. "I am SO hot," complained Yong-Hu. "The air doesnít move. There is no breeze. My fur is damp and Iíve not been swimming in the stream."

"Itís summer in China. What more is there to say? I thought maybe we would avoid the humidity up here in the mountains, but not today. Its fingers have crawled up the mountainside and found us and hold us tightly. If only a breeze would blow," Ho-Shing wished.

Yong-Hu pulled a branch off the bamboo cane and started waving it back and forth in front of him, hoping to produce a breeze, but it was so hot and humid that the leaves instantly wilted. "This wonít do," Yong-Hu said. "I canít fan myself off. Thereís no escape. I donít even have an appetite any more."

"We should go for a swim in the stream. It will cool us off. We can lie in it for a while until the heat of the day passes," Ho-Shing suggested.

"I wonít argue with you. Letís go," Yong-Hu said, climbing down the bamboo.

The two pandas walked to the stream. It was flowing quickly, filled with melted snow from the high country further east. "Ah," Ho-Shing said, climbing into the water. "That is much better."

"Let me in. Let me in," Yong-Hu said, anxiously. He jumped in and sat next to Ho-Shing. They splashed water on themselves.

A golden-colored fish came swimming by. It couldnít get down the stream because the pandas were in its way. "How do you expect me to pass?" it asked Yong-Hu. The fish tried to swim around them but couldnít. It even tried to go underneath them, but had no luck with that either.

Ho-Shing, seeing the fishís dilemma, lifted his leg and the golden fish swam past. "Rather impatient, wasnít he?" said Ho-Shing. He lowered his leg and splashed some more water on himself.

A frog plopped itself on top of Yong-Huís furry head. "What is that?" he asked, reaching up and grabbing hold of the frog. "Why did you plop on my head?" he asked the frog.

"I canít get around you. Youíre blocking the stream. You two pandas are big animals. The only thing I could do was try to jump over you and well, I guess I didnít make it. Sorry," the frog apologized. Yong-Hu took the frog and put it in the water behind him. It hopped onto a lily pad and then into the cool water.

"This feels good, doesnít it?" Ho-Shing asked a while later. Theyíd sat there for a few hours now.

"Look!" Yong-Hu whispered to Ho-Shing. He was terrified. "Itís a tiger."

The two pandas sat in the water. Neither of them moved. The tiger walked up to them. "Move over. Iím hot. It looks refreshing in there," it snarled at them.

Ho-Shing stood up, shook himself off and climbed out onto the grass. "It is all yours," he said to the tiger. "Come, Yong-Hu. The tiger is hot and wants to cool off." Without arguing, Yong-Hu climbed out of the stream. As soon as he had, the tiger lay down in the water.

"Letís get out of here," Yong-Hu whispered and the two pandas ran off towards the bamboo forest. They didnít stop until they were safe at home.

"It might be hot and it might be humid, but at least we donít have to worry about tigers here in the bamboo," Ho-Shing said. The two bears sat down. As he was sitting there, miserable and hot, Ho-Shing spotted something. "Iíll be right back," he said and walked off. Yong-Hu grabbed a handful of bamboo leaves and gobbled them down. A few minutes later, Ho-Shing came back with two huge leaves. They were thick and rubbery and very green. "Here," he said, handing one to Yong-Hu. "Fan yourself off with this."

Yong-Hu waved the leaf in front of him. "Aha, that feels good," he said, finding relief from the humidity and heat. Ho-Shing fanned himself off too.

When the sun went down that night, the temperatures went down. The pandas knew when the sun rose in the morning, it would bring with it the heat and humidity again, but at least they had their fans now!

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