Since we're ringing in the New Year, I thought it would be great to dispel some of the ugliness towards the Chinese people by relating some stories that are hundreds, or maybe, thousands of years old.These stories depict how the Chinese thought about animals and life. Below, I have summarized the stories that were translated to me. This book was handed down to Anthony Marr and is in Chinese.
Ancient Chinese Stories
The Calf Loves His Mother
In this first story a cow has a calf. A farmer takes the calf to his farm and a butcher takes the cow. The calf cries for his mother and finally escapes the farm to go to her. Just as the butcher was ready to kill the cow he hears the calf at the door and lets him in. The butcher sees the mother lick her calf and decides to quit butchering and let the two live with the farmer.
Sacrifice Yourself For Sentient Beings
A woman has a terminal illness and not long to live. Her physician tells her to feed 100 sparrows with an herbal formula for 21 days, at the end of the 21 days, eat the birds. The woman feeds and watches the birds, and agonizes over eating them. On the 21st day she says she will not sacrifice 100 lives for her own and she sets them free.
Loyal Bird Self-Sacrifice (Sacrificial Suicide)
In this third story there's a pair of birds. A hunter shoots one bird with an arrow and kills it. The other bird tries several times to feed his/her partner to no avail. When trying to revive his/her partner fails, the bird flies into the air and then crashes into the ground killing itself out of despair. The man then gives up hunting.
Calves of the Same Mother
The story of two brothers that don't get along. They had a cow that gave birth to two calves. Each brother took a calf. By day, the younger brother would let his calf graze on the older brother's land, but would take his calf back to the stable on his own land at night. The calves refused to be separated and after several days of this the older brother said "We should at least be as happy as the calves."
Bearing Arrow to Feed Child
A man sees a nest with a mother bird feeding her babies. He shoots an arrow, but the mother bird evades it, then flies back to the nest to continue feeding the babies. The man shoots another arrow, the bird once again evades it and flies back to continue feeding. The man for the third time shoots the arrow and hits the mother bird. Even though the mother had been hit she continues to feed her babies until she dies. The man ends up raising the babies and never shoots again.
What the Mother Goat Said
In this sixth and final story,a man who can talk to animals, and considered a sage, travels from town to town speaking to and about animals. The man enters a town one day whose mayor has a banquet in his honor. At one point, goats are seen being led to the kitchen. One goat refuses to budge and is making a lot of noise. The mayor asks the sage what the goat is saying. The sage says, "She is asking for clemency, but not for herself. She says she is pregnant and giving birth soon. She says if you give her time to deliver her baby, she will willingly submit to slaughter." The mayor spared the herd and the goats where taken off the menu.
Happy New Year!