The Love of Life

42. Eels Take Revenge


Kuichow is one of the least developed areas of China. It is a mountainous province in the southwest. A man there named Lu liked eels so much that he couldn’t eat a meal without some.

If anybody asked him why he ate so many eels, he always answered, “They taste so delicious!”

One day when he was sixty, he went to the market to buy some nice fat eels.

A peddler called, “Want to buy fish? Fresh fish, live and fat, right here!”

“Have you got eels?” Lu asked.

“Right here, in this urn,” the peddler replied, so Lu rolled up his sleeve and stuck his arm into the urn to choose a plump eel. He had so much experience that he could choose a delicious eel this way, just by feeling. He didn’t even have to look.

Things were different this day. When he stuck in his arm, his face suddenly lost all its color and he let out a bellow like a wounded bull. Everybody looked at him, and saw that all the eels in the urn had attacked Lu’s arm, and were biting him as hard as they could.

Nobody knew what to do. They couldn’t get the eels off Lu’s arm. Somebody ran to Lu’s house, and his children came to the rescue with sharp shears. They cut the eels in half, but the heads stayed on Lu’s arm, with their teeth buried in his flesh. By the time they had pried all of the eels’ heads off, all the flesh was gone from Lu’s arm, and he had died of the pain.

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