The little panda Li was the youngest in his family. He had two older brothers Tian and Han. The two of them thought they were strong and beautiful and couldn’t relate much to their little brother. They romped around with each other and measured their strength in games. Rarely was the little brother, Li, allowed to join in.
Li looked a little different from his siblings. He had a longer ear on the right side, which often fell into his face when he was running and thus took away his vision in his right eye. Panda ears are usually small and stand upright on their heads. Because of this, the other panda bears often made fun of Li. They called him “floppy ear” or “one eye.”
Li was often sad about this, but his parents always comforted him, saying, “Don’t be sad. You are special. We love you just as much as your brothers!” However, this did not comfort Li for long. Somehow, he always felt that all the other panda bears were watching him.
“Something is wrong with me,” the little panda thought to himself in those moments. He didn’t want to be different from the other panda bears, and he withdrew. There was a special place nearby where Li liked to be alone. This was the case on this morning. Li walked to the beach. There was an old wooden boat there that had not been used for a long time. In this boat, he could forget all his worries and let his fantasies run free.
In the days before, Li had already brought some things to the boat: an old blanket and a big bamboo pole, with which he did his exercises. The little panda was already looking forward to the delicious bamboo shoots he had taken along for a picnic. After playing and practicing wildly, he crawled into the boat and ate the goodies he brought with him. He was so exhausted and full that he fell asleep on the spot. This had never happened before.
Suddenly, a huge whirlwind began brewing outside. The little panda bear didn’t notice anything, because he was fast asleep. The huge waves caused the boat to break away from the beach and drift with Li into the open sea. The sea hissed and bubbled, and the old wooden boat floated within it like a tiny walnut shell.
Li woke up the next morning, drenched. In order to see properly, he threw his head back, keeping his long ear from blocking his view. Around him on a beach lay the bamboo pole and a few broken boards left over from the wooden boat. Everything looked so strange.
Li shook himself vigorously to check whether he was really awake or just dreaming. At the same time, he shook out his wet fur, snorting loudly. There was no doubt about it: Li was awake. “Oh dear!” he cried in despair. “How did I end up here?” No one could give him an answer to this question, as he stood alone on the sandy shore of an island.
It was still raining heavily, so Li sought shelter under a tree. After a short time, he realized that he was extremely hungry. At home, there would always be a delicious breakfast waiting for him right about now. But he couldn’t even think about that. He had to go in search of something edible. Li got a queasy feeling from this strange environment. Suddenly something rustled in the bushes.