The Love of Life

39. A Dreadful Birthday Feast


There was an official who swore never to kill any living creature, but his wife had a nasty temper and a greedy mouth. Every day she killed some animal to make a tasty dish. Her husband never ate any of those dead animals.

One year she was having a big feast prepared for her birthday. There were pigs, goats, chickens, and ducks, all crying sadly, because they knew they were going to die.

When the official saw this, he felt very sorry. He told his wife, “Tomorrow is your birthday, but all these animals are about to die. You should feel sorry for them, and do a good deed.”

That made her mad. She said, “You mean we should all be Buddhists and swear off killing? If everybody did that, in a few years, there would be animals all over the place. I’m not going to buy that!”

The next day, she was happily waiting for her feast to begin. When the first pig was hauled out and stabbed, her spirit went into its body and she felt the knife going in and ripping her apart!

Then a goat was killed, and she could feel how the goat felt as it was butchered. Then it was a chicken’s turn, and her spirit went into the chicken’s body and she felt her neck being wrung. She never knew anything could hurt so much! Every time an animal was killed, she felt all its pain. She knew she had done wrong. She told the cooks to stop killing those animals, to let them loose.

From then on, she never took another life or ate another mouthful of animal flesh. She told everybody how much animals suffer when they are being butchered, and how unfair it is to kill dumb beasts for food.

Because of her good deeds and mercy, she lived a long life.

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