The Bull Begging for Life

The county magistrate Zhong Liquan(鍾醴泉) of Tiantai County(天台縣) told me: when his father served as the governor of Guizhou(貴州) Dading Prefecture(大定府), he established a lead mining bureau. One noon, a bull suddenly rushed into the lead factory, and despite the efforts of dozens of people whipping it, they couldn’t drive it away. Liquan went to observe, and the bull knelt on the ground as if bowing. Therefore, he asked the person who brought the bull, “Is this a plowing ox or a slaughter ox for meat?” The answer was, “It’s a slaughter ox.” When he inquired about the price, the reply was, “Seven thousand.” Zhong said, “Give me this bull, and I will pay you the full price. How about that?” After thanking him, the person took the money and left. The bull then suddenly stood up.

Translated from《牛乞命》in 《子不語》:

天台縣令鍾公醴泉為余言:其尊人守貴州大定府,設局辦船。日正午,忽有牛突入鉛廠。數十人鞭之,不肯去。醴泉往觀,牛伏地作叩頭狀,因問牽牛者曰:「此耕牛乎?宰牛乎?」曰:「宰牛。」問:「價若干?」曰:「七千。」鍾曰:「以牛與我,以價與汝,何如?」牽牛者謝領錢去,牛蹷然起矣。

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