“The Color of Life” by Meg Graham

There once lived a black and white panda in the vast mountains of China. The panda lives in peace and he was content with himself. One day, early in the morning, the sun still not risen past the farthest mountain. A pheasant was strolling by, head held high. The pheasant’s head was golden, surrounded by bright orange feathers. His broad chest puffed out, outlined with crimson feathers. His back a mix of sparkling golden and rich royal blue feathers. The panda had never seen such bright colors in his life. The pheasant glanced at the panda, the boring black and white colors made him snicker and laugh. The pheasant teased the panda for his boring colors and with one broad push of his wings the pheasant lifted off the ground and soared into the sky. As the pheasant flew away into the soft blue sky, the wispy clouds hung low. The panda watched the pheasant flap its mighty wings, it’s vibrant body twirl through the clouds. The panda felt somber that he had no color, though every other animal in the forest was very colorful. All day and all night the panda dwelled on the pheasant’s harsh words. He stared into the navy blue pond, his black ears hung low, his white face contrasted the spots of black around his eyes. The panda couldn’t bear to see himself colorless another day. He decided he must go on a journey to find his color.

The panda would leave in the morning. Meanwhile, he lumbered back to his cave to have a good night’s rest. Soon the morning was upon him. Rolling over he reminded himself of the task ahead. He thought about how wonderful he would look once he found his color. Outside he began to eat. He planned on eating a large breakfast, so he would have enough energy for the day ahead of him. He ripped the bamboo down the jade green stalks shooting out of the ground like spheres flying through the air, and it made his stomach rumble. He ate and ate. Finally, when he was finished, the fiery gold sun was high is the sky. Satisfied with his meal, he looked back at the place where he spent most of his life. The dull gray pile of rocks that made up his cave covered with silky emerald green moss. It wasn’t much. Nevertheless, it was a home to him. Unsure where he was going or what he would do when he got there, he simply began to walk.

As the hours passed he continued to walk. He hadn’t seen any other animals for a while, suddenly, a tiger sprang out of the bushes. The panda sprang back with fright.

“Oh please don’t hurt me!” The panda cried.

“Don’t be afraid, I wouldn’t hurt you,” said the tiger calmly. “Well, little panda where are you off too?”

“To find my color,” stated the panda.

“Your color! What does that mean?” The tiger roared with laughter.

“Well I have no color. You have vibrant orange fur and mine is black and white.”

“You don’t need any more color than you have. Your colors are black and white and they are the most important colors,” stated the tiger.

“Really how so?” questioned the panda.

“Well, everything that we can see has the color black and white. Look at me for example, without black I wouldn’t have my strips and without white, I wouldn’t have my teeth!”

“You do have a point. However, I still want a little color,” replied the panda.

“Okay, well I hope you find it then,” the tiger called back, bounding back into the bushes. The panda watched the tiger go. Once out of sight, the panda continued through the forest.

Before long the night was upon him, the sky turned from a pale blue to a midnight blue. Finding a place to sleep, he laid down and drifted to sleep.

He awoke abruptly. It was morning. Above him was a group of snub-nosed monkeys. The little ones leaped around from branch to branch as the adults watched. Noticing the panda was up the leader leaped down to the ground beside him.

“Who are you?” the leader questioned.

“I’m a panda.”

“I know that! What is your name?” asked the leader. Fully awake, the panda studied the leader before him, his frizzy apricot hair gave way to his soft blue face.

“I was never given a name,” the panda said gloomily.

“No name! That is crazy! Well, panda, what brings you to my territory? To take our food! Well, think again!” Threatened the leader.

“No! I’m only passing through, I’m on my way to finding my color,” stated the panda.

“Why would you want that?” Asked the leader.

“So I can be colorful similar all the other animals in the forest,” replied the panda.

“And why would you want to do that. You are unique like no one else!” cried the leader with joy.

“I never thought of it that way. However, I still want a little color,” replied the panda. So the panda continued on his journey to find color. As he patted throw the forest his stomach began to growl he looked around and saw a patch of lush green bamboo, waving in the wind they seemed to be calling him over. Sitting down he began to eat, he was not alone for long. A small head pops out from behind the stocks. It was a red panda.

“Well, hello my friend, what brings you to this part of the forest?” asked the red panda.

“I’m on a journey looking for my color,” the panda responded.

“And you are doing this because?” Asked the red panda.

“So I can be beautiful and colorful and not black and white,” respond the panda

“My friend, it doesn’t matter what is on the outside. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Pandas, such as us, have enormous hearts. It doesn’t matter what color we are because the outside doesn’t matter. Take me for example, I could be black, white, red, pick, or rainbow and it would matter because I’m the same on the inside.”

At last the panda was convinced, “You’re right. All this time I’ve been thinking about how others look at me and that the outside matters more than what’s on the inside, in my heart!”

So the panda when home for he had realized that he was exquisite that way he was and that he didn’t have to change one aspect about him. The panda is content to know that he should not worry how others judge him based on his appearance. They are overlooking his heart as bright as a star, and it is made up of one thousand of the most amazing colors.

 

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