Part 1 - Tamero the Loner
My name is Yuiyui, and I'm a Coco Panda. People call us monsters, but we're not all bad! Some of us are actually very nice. Just like my friend, Tamero. He and I have known each other since we were cubs. Our whole lives, he was the kind of guy who did everything on his own, so everyone in our pack thought of him as a strong, independent loner. But I thought it must get hard having to do everything alone. That's why I decided to follow him one day and make sure he was okay.
I hid behind a bush and watched him climb to the top of a big tree to get his dinner. After a while, he came back down, a nice big fruit in his paws. I breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed like he would have more than enough to eat tonight.
But just then, I took a better look at the fruit he had found and let out a small gasp. It was rotten! Inside, it was icky, mushy, and full of bugs! To make things worse, it was getting dark and he wouldn't have any time to look for more. All us Coco Pandas know that it's much too dangerous to wander around outside at night.
Tamero noticed how rotten his fruit was, too. He looked up at the setting sun, and with a short sigh, he picked up his fruit and started to head back to our camp for the night. I followed him back to our den, making sure to not be been. But then I heard his tummy grumbling. He must have been really hungry! I watched as he glanced at his fruit with a sour expression, then held his nose and prepared to take a bite.
'Tamero, stop!' I shouted, dashing out from my hiding place, 'You can't eat that fruit! It's rotten!'
I grabbed it out of his paw just in time. Though he was surprised at first, the expression on his face quickly turned to a frown.
'Hmph. What's your problem, Yuiyui? You can't tell me what to eat.'
I was taken aback by how rude he was being. I was only trying to help! I got so flustered, I ended up speaking my mind to him right there and then.
'Look, if you can't find any food yourself, that's okay! All you need to do is ask someone to share with you.'
'No way,' he scoffed, 'Asking for help is like admitting you're too weak to do it on your own.'
'Don't be silly!' I scolded him, 'It only makes sense for us to all help each other out.'
'You're the only one who thinks that, Yuiyui,' he grumbled, crossing his arms.
I couldn't understand why he was being so stubborn! Did he not trust the rest of us? Or was he just too proud to admit he was wrong?
'Well, let's find out, shall we?'
I called one of the other Coco Pandas from our pack over to us.
'Hullo there you two. Somethin' wrong?' he said in a leisurely drawl as he walked over to Tamero and I.
'We had trouble finding any good fruit today. Could we have some of yours?' I asked.
'Oh, is that all? No probl'm. Here ya go,' he said, handing us each a fresh piece of fruit.
I thanked him and waved goodbye as he left.
'See?' I turned to Tamero. 'It's really just that easy. There's nothing to be ashamed of. In return, we just need to help the others out when they need it.'
Tamero made a face like he wanted to object, but ended up taking the fruit all the same.
Feeling like I'd finally gotten through to him--at least a little bit--I went back to my bed, hoping that he'd learned to rely more on others.
By the time I'd woken up the next day, it was already past lunchtime. I was still a little worried about Tamero, so I decided to keep an eye on him again. I went and snuck behind a bush and peeped through the leaves. But what I saw made my heart jump right into my throat. Something was very wrong! Tamero was covered in cuts and bruises, and he was growling more fiercely than I'd ever heard him before.
'T-Tamero? What's wrong? Are you okay?' I asked timidly, coming out from my hiding place.
He didn't seem to hear me. He didn't even react to me at all. He just kept staring at the path leading out of the forest and growling. I looked in the direction he was facing and saw a human walking down the path. As soon as I did, I knew something bad was about to happen. I reached my paw out, trying to place it on Tamero's shoulder. Before I could get close enough, however, he leapt at the human, tore away the bag they were carrying, and ran off deep into the woods.
I was horrified. This wasn't like Tamero at all. I knew him better than anyone, and he'd absolutely never attack someone like that. There was only one explanation... He'd given into his instincts and become a mindless beast.
Continue Reading A Coco Panda's Tale
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