A secluded village thrived in the depths of a bamboo forest. The residents there lived with nature and understood the principle of nature, and one of them could even resonate with Mother Nature. Receiving blessings from her, he became a Druid who could morph into a panda. However, even though Druids had power, they were still mortal. Therefore, Druids’ power and principles must be passed down generations.
Nevertheless, not everyone could be a Druid. Druids are chosen by nature, and the chosen one has to possess three qualities: able to channel the power of nature, capable of communicating with animals, and has the power to resonate with nature itself.
To identify the Druid successor, the village has a special ritual. Whenever the Druid reached the age of sixty, the villagers and the village chief would perform this ritual on newborn babies that year — five items would be placed in front of the babies, one of which was the bamboo piccolo of the first Druid. As the legend has it that Druids are always connected in some way, if a baby picks piccolo, he must be the successor to the current Druid.
One day, ten babies were brought to the Druid’s house, one of them being Yunyang. At that time, he was no different than other children: sometimes he sat with an emotionless face, sometimes cried, and sometimes laughed. He never thought that one day he would become the Druid that would protect everyone in the future.
The village chief placed five items before the babies. Whoever picks up the bamboo piccolo will be the next Druid...
Village Chief: Please quiet down, everyone! The ritual is about to begin!
Village Chief: It’s your turn, Yunyang. Here, pick one!
Everything was interesting to the young Yunyang. He leaned forward and observed the five items; the piccolo was gleaming with spots of green light, driving Yunyang to pick it up and play with it. Everyone was excited for the good news that they had finally found the Druid successor. However, their happiness did not last as a problem surfaced...
To make it a fair ritual, even after Yunyang had chosen the piccolo, the ritual must continue, but to their surprise four other babies chose the piccolo too! Everyone could not help but bemusedly look at each other; only the Druid secretly burst into laughter.
Village Chief: This is not good...Which one of them is really the next Druid?
Druid: Haha! It’s only a ritual after all. How can we make the final decision from it?
Druid: Come with me! I have a method to determine my true successor.
To determine which baby was the successor to the Druid, the village chief placed five items in front of the village’s newborn babies. If a baby chooses the bamboo piccolo, an item left behind by the first Druid, that baby shall become the next Druid. When everyone thought Yunyang was the chosen one, four other babies surprisingly chose the piccolo as well. The villagers were frustrated while the current Druid rose to his feet:
Druid: Come with me! I have a method to determine my true successor.
The villagers followed the Druid to an open field. The Druid signaled them to wait as he turned around to prepare. Everyone was looking at the Druid, so no one paid attention to Yunyang when he left the crowd to follow a peculiar cloud of green light. He giggled as he chased after the light; walking and tripping along the way for a while, he gradually moved away from the other villagers...
Meanwhile, everyone looked forward to what the Druid was going to take out, but were disappointed to see that it was merely a green bamboo leaf. Noises and groans could be heard from the crowd, and someone even mocked the Druid:
Villager: Humph! How can a little leaf find the next Druid?
Druid: There is a special relationship between Druids and nature.
Druid: If one cannot resonate with a mere leaf, how can one become a Druid?
Every baby who had picked the piccolo took the Druid's new test.
The Druid placed the leaf before each child and if the leaf changed in any way, that baby would be the true successor.
Four babies were tested but the leaf did not change at all. Now, Yunyang was their last hope...
Village Chief: Hm? Where’s Yunyang?
Yunyang’s Mother: He, he was right beside me! When did he disappear?
While the villagers were panicking, the Druid stayed calm and closed his eyes as he listened to the trees’ whisper. He then slowly walked in a certain direction until he arrived at the village’s only exit. The scene coming into everyone's eyes was a great shock to them — only the Druid could open the exit of the bamboo-surrounded village, but now there was a clear path outside the exit, which led straight toward the depths of the forest.
Under the Druid’s guidance, the villagers carefully proceeded when panda bellows suddenly rang. The villagers hurriedly ran behind a rock to hide and observe the situation. There were a number of pandas and Yunyang sat in the center of them.
All the hiding villagers were worrying for Yunyang’s life, but Yunyang laughed as he played with the gigantic beasts. He climbed onto the pandas with ease and the animals did not resist his approach. Even when he accidentally pulled out a lock of their hair, they did not burst with anger.
This scene and and the change of the forest convinced the Druid that Yunyang was his true successor. Yunyang has been the first since the first Druid to resonate with nature so harmoniously and powerfully. Seeing the innocent Yunyang happily playing with the pandas, the Druid smiled with his determination to teach this talented child...
Druid: Clear your heart, focus your mind. That way, you can hear the words of nature, and feel the flow of its power.
Yunyang: Clear my heart...focus my mind...
Since becoming the successor to the Druid, Yunyang had to learn various matters about nature and receive numerous training, including frequent meditation. The Druid deemed Yunyang’s heart unstable because of his young age, and said it was the reason why he could not communicate with nature at will.
If he could not do that, there would be no way he could establish harmony between the villagers and nature. At first, Yunyang thought the trainings were interesting, but as time went by, he began to feel bored and wanted to be like others — he wanted the freedom to do whatever he liked.
One day while Yunyang was meditating with the Druid in the forest, the teenager thought about playing music, hoping the training to end sooner. As he heard adolescents playing outside the bamboo forest, the interested Yunyang narrowly opened his eyes to take a peek, but the Druid noticed. The Druid took a thin bamboo nearby and forcefully hit Yunyang's back.
Yunyang: Ouch. That hurt! What are you doing, you old idiot? Why did you hit me all of a sudden?
Druid: If you don’t concentrate, I'll beat you again.
Yunyang: If you hit me again, I’m gonna break that bamboo!
Druid: You must have yourself prepared to be a Druid. This is your fate.
Yunyang: I don’t want to be a Druid! I just want to be an ordinary guy and live a free normal life!
Becoming a Druid was always an honor among people in the village. The Druid never thought Yunyang would loath it this much. They remained silent and the atmosphere grew increasingly tense. Eventually, Yunyang could no longer stand it. He took his pouch and left the bamboo forest without looking back.
Druid: Yunyang! Remember to come back for your training tomorrow!
Yunyang did not respond to Druid's reminder. He just wanted to leave the hateful forest as fast as he could, and if possible, to escape his fate.
Since then, Yunyang thought of every possible way to avoid training. He would pretend to schedule a date with the Druid, but would not show up, or would show up only to leave after a few minutes by making an excuse....In short, he did not want to learn from his master and become a Druid anymore.
This did not change until the day the old Druid had an accident, leaving Yunyang as the only one for the villagers to rely on at the time. This helped Yunyang grow up and understand the importance of his duty. When he became aware of his ability and responsibility, he eventually channeled the power of nature successfully and helped the villagers through a crisis.
However, Yunyang clearly knew that if he wanted to become a sophisticated Druid, his ability was yet to be strong enough. Hence, he decided to learn humbly from the Druid, in hopes that he could surpass his teacher as a better Panda Druid someday.
After realizing his ability and responsibility, Yunyang was able to channel the power of nature. In order to become a great Panda Druid, he then humbly learned from the current Druid and trained every day. However, the phenomenon that he would always turn into a panda whenever he used the power of nature kept bothering him. Even when he tried very hard to stay in his Human form, he would eventually morph into a panda.
Yunyang: ‘...Why do I always turn into a panda whenever I channel the power of nature? Am I using it wrong?’
Looking at his panda paws and the black and white body, Yunyang could not help but feel frustrated. The more he wanted to do better, the more he failed; the more he told himself not to morph into a panda, the more he felt helpless. He wandered alone to a waterfall in the bamboo forest and sat on a rock, allowing the ice-cold water to pour onto him. After a long time, his body gradually turned back into a Human. He then climbed back onto the ground and sighed:
Yunyang: What exactly do I need to do if I want to control this morphing ability? What am I missing?
Down from the top of the waterfall came a plump panda, who transformed back into Human as its body landed right in front of Yunyang — it was his teacher, the current Druid. Seeing his master, Yunyang immediately bowed to greet him.
Yunyang: I used to be less patient, but this has never happened before.
Druid: Power and heart are inseparable.
Druid: Impatience creates turmoil in both your heart and power; only by staying calm and steady can one harmonize his heart with his power.
Druid: And only by reaching a peaceful state of mind can one channel his power at will.
In hopes of mastering his panda-morphing power, Yunyang went through a series of training on how to ease his heart and mind...
The Druid asked Yunyang to stand underneath the waterfall and gradually channel the power of nature under the pouring water.
This was a way for Yunyang to remember the peace of mind brought to him by the water.
It seemed to go well at first, but when Yunyang conjured the power of nature, he morphed into a panda.
The Druid meditated with Yunyang, trying to free him from any distractions by integrating with nature.
So his heart could reach the state as calm as a smooth sea.
Just as Yunyang thought he had grasped the right feeling and channeled the power of nature, he morphed into a panda again.
Yunyang did everything according to what the Druid told him. The failure after putting in so much effort discouraged him; he was so depressed that he even thought he might never be able to resonate with nature. The Druid had some more plans to help him, but the discouraged Yunyang only wanted to return home and take a rest. Hence, after saying goodbye to the Druid, Yunyang took his leave and walked home with heavy steps.
At home, Yunyang sat on his bed and incessantly sighed, thinking that he had disappointed everyone. Just then, he caught a glimpse of his lute. He had not played it since he started his Druid trainings. He picked it up and naturally held it in his hands. His fingers moved and a light and beautiful tune rang in his room, lifting his gloomy heart, as if his troubles vanished into thin air along with the melody.
He suddenly thought of an idea — maybe music was the key to controlling his power of nature! He played a tune again as he slowly channeled the power of nature. At first, black and white hair still grew on his body, but as the music calmed his heart, the hair disappeared along with his change of mind. When the music finally ended, Yunyang opened his eyes again. There was no panda features on his body and instead, he could see a broad grassland and his Human limbs.
A bright smile spread across the teenager’s face as he surprisingly discovered the relationship between music and his heart. He shared this discovery with other villagers and it brought joy to the village. With this big step, Yunyang was now closer to becoming an extraordinary Panda Druid.