The Love of Life

45. The Price of Breaking Laws

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In 1836, the government of Chiangyin county announced a new law forbidding farmers to kill frogs, because frogs eat many harmful insects and protect the crops, so people shouldn’t kill frogs to eat.

When this law was posted, someone told Chang Ah-Hsi about it. He made his living catching frogs to sell in the market as meat. He couldn’t read, so he didn’t know about the new law. When they told him, he didn’t like what he heard.

“Well, I’m not going to obey that law. Why waste good frogs?” He was so rude and so stubborn that his friends finally gave up trying to get him to change his ways. He killed many frogs.

He always liked to use some of the money he got from selling frogs to buy some liquor and get drunk. Then he would say, “What’s wrong with catching frogs? Look, I’m getting along fine, see?”

His’ friends would tell him, “Yeah, but it’s not too good, because it is against the law, after all.”

That would make Ah-Hsi mad. “What’s so great about the law? Lots of people break the law, not just me.”

But then one stormy night, Zhang Ah-Hsi disappeared. The next morning, when the storm had blown over, the villagers found him. He had fallen into the river and drowned. That could happen to anyone. But what was strange was that hundreds of frogs had come to eat his corpse, in revenge for all of their relatives that he had sold for food.

Nobody had ever seen anything like it before. They realized that even though you may get away with breaking the government’s laws for a while, you can never get away with breaking the laws of the universe.

Sooner or later, your good deeds will be rewarded, and your bad deeds will catch up with you.


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