The Love of Life

51. Cooked Turtle

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Fresh water turtle was the favorite food of Cheng Laochi, who lived in Ankang, Tant’u, in Chiangsu province. He loved to eat fresh water turtle for three reasons. First, he said the flesh was just right, not too firm and not too soft. Second, he slept better after eating turtle. Third, he thought turtle meat must be good for the heart and kidneys. So whenever he had enough money in his pocket, he’d go buy a turtle to cook.

“Spare me, please! Be a nice guy and don’t murder me!” That’s what someone dressed in black said to him in a dream. He knelt in front of Cheng Laochi and pleaded for his life. The funny thing was that after he woke up, Cheng found that his wife had had the same dream.

That morning, a fisherman came to sell a big, fat fresh water turtle he had caught. Cheng Laochi was delighted. He drooled as he paid the fisherman for the turtle, even though the price was high. “Cook it!” he gleefully sang out.

“Just a minute,” his wife said, “Have you forgotten our dream last night?”

“Aww, that was just a dream. You can’t believe everything that pops up in a dream.”

“But I don’t think that a man dressed in black could be bringing any good news. Look, husband, why don’t you just let this turtle go?”

“What? You want me to let a turtle go when it’s only a step away from the kitchen? You woman sure have some weird ideas.”

With that, Cheng walked into the kitchen and cooked that turtle. Then he ate it and enjoyed every bite. But for some reason, after he finished, he decided to take a bath.

His wife waited and waited outside the bathroom, but her husband didn’t come out again. She listened carefully. She didn’t hear him washing. She knocked on the door, but he didn’t answer.

Finally, she went in to see what was going on. When she opened the door, she saw the bathtub was full of blood. Her husband had dissolved into the bath water like a turtle cooked into soup, and there was nothing left of him but his hair!


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