The Love of Life

70. Butcher Stew

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“You have to go, whether you want to or not!” The fierce butcher hauled on the rope with all his might. The old cow on the other end of the rope knew what was going on. It lowered its head and refused to budge.

“Hurry up, will you!” The butcher pulled out a whip, and cursed as he whipped the old cow. They struggled all the way up the street this way, one cursing and pulling, the other silently resisting.

When they got to a bank, the cow suddenly dropped to its knees in front of the door and started to cry. Big tears rolled down its bovine face. The president of the bank came out to see what the commotion was about. The cow looked so sad!

“Butcher, what is the price for this cow?” he asked.

“It cost 8,000, but I’m not selling it!”

“I’11 give you 10,000, what do you say?” The bank president was touched by the cow’s tears, and had decided to save its life.

But the butcher sneered and said, “This cow has given me a load of trouble! I’ve had it with this cow. I’m going to chop off its head and hack it to death, that’s what I’m going to do! And I’m NOT going to sell it to you, so don’t even bother to raise your price!”

The old cow seemed to understand human speech. When it heard that, it got to its feet with a sigh and went with the butcher.

The butcher was furious that the cow had tried to beg for its life. Instead of taking it to the market, he took it to his own house and chopped it into pieces. He threw the pieces into his biggest wok to cook.

By then it was late, so he left the wok on the fire overnight, so it would be thoroughly cooked and delicious in the morning. Then he went to bed.

But early the next morning, his wife heard him get out of bed. “I’m going to check the fire and see how the beef is doing,” he said.

Much later, his wife realized that he still hadn’t come back yet. She got out of bed to look for him. In the kitchen, she saw the fire was still going under the wok — somehow her husband had slipped and fallen into the wok and was cooking with the beef!


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