Our short story for today is a touching essay that combines two of the most distinguishing characteristics of contemporary Chinese literature: it is both extremely sentimental and profoundly depressing. Although the story is apolitical, it nonetheless illustrates the strong cultural influence of Russia on post-war China, through the appearance of a circus bear act that most likely took place in Shanghai.This essay is frequently anthologized in the mainland and taught in language and literature courses at the high school level. So if you're looking for a benchmark to measure your reading skills, consider this piece designed for the average Chinese high school student. There are likely words here you won't know, but don't worry. When reading any of the short stories on our site, just hover your mouse over any word for a popup containing a contextual definition and guide to pronunciation. Enjoy!