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Panda Legend

Long ago,a young and beautiful girl lived in the Wolong valley with her family. She was a shepherdess, loved by all who knew her for her kindness and good nature. Whenever she took her sheep into the hills a young panda would come to join her flock, perhaps mistaking them for its own kind for in those days pandas were all white.

One day the panda arrived as usual, but it had not been playing with the flock for long when a leopard jumped from a tree and begun to savage the helpless cub. Careless of her own life, the girl picked up a stick and began to beat the leopard. The panda ran off, but the leopard turned on its attacker and killed her.

When the other pandas heard this, they were stricken with grief. All came to attend the girl's funeral, and as a mark of their respect they covered their arms with ashes as was the custom.

At the funeral, they could not contain themselves. They wiped their eyes to dry their tears, and hugged themselves as the sobbed. The cries became so loud that they covered their ears with their paws to block out the noise. Wherever they touched themselves the ashes stained their fur black and since that day all pandas have carried these marks.

Overcome with sorrow, the girl's three sisters threw themselves into her grave, whereupon the earth shook and in place of the grave a huge mountain appeared. That mountain still stands, and is called Siguniang-the four sisters mountain. Each sister was transformed into one of it's peaks, and between the ridges that spread from it the sisters continue to protect the pandas to this day.

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