The Love of Life

54. No Quarter Given


Wu Ling was the richest man around. He had plenty of money to spend, so he lived it up.

Wu’s son liked to have good times, too. Like father, like son. The son particularly liked to enjoy new and exotic foods. Once when the Wu family were planning a feast, the cook bought home a turtle from the market.

“This kind of turtle is hard to get, but the meat is great! Master Wu will be tickled pink!” The cook chortled while he whetted his knife to butcher the turtle. But just as he was about to chop off its head, he saw that the turtle was crying! It seemed to be begging for its life.

The cook put down his knife and told Master Wu about this strange turtle. “You can’t ask me to kill a turtle when it has begged me to spare it.”

Master Wu bawled out the cook. “You dumb idiot! Can’t you do anything right? Get me a knife, I’ll butcher it myself if you won’t!” He took his best knife from the drawer and rushed into the kitchen. When he saw the poor turtle crying, he didn’t feel sorry for it at all. As quick as a flash, he chopped off the turtle’s head. He must have chopped hard, because the head bounced up and landed on the beam holding up the roof.

“Well, never mind that, cook the rest of the turtle and serve it to me this evening.”

That evening, the Wus were enjoying the turtle meat. They had eaten only a few pieces when the young Master said he felt dizzy. He looked up and screamed. He pointed at the beam and shouted, “Look out! There’s a giant turtle on the beam!”

“I don’t see anything there,” Wu Ling said. “Go away! Go away! Ahhh! They’re biting me! Help, Papa, they’re biting me!”

“What’s biting you? There’s nothing here?”

“The turtles! There are turtles all over me, and they’re biting me! Help!” Young Wu rolled all over the floor and kicked and screamed, but nobody else could see any turtles at all.

“They’re eating my feet! Help me, somebody, it hurts!” There was nothing anybody could do for him, because they couldn’t see the turtles that were taking young Wu’s life.

After three days of this, young Wu died. He was a victim of his own greed and cruelty.

Remember that every one of us is responsible for our own actions. If you don’t want to bring suffering down on yourself, don’t make other living beings suffer.

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