The Old Hen Who Set The Alarm
Once upon a time, in Jiashan of China there lived a person whose surname was Kong. Once Mr. Kong paid a visit to a relative whom he had not seen for a long time. They talked and talked until nightfall. Warm-heartedly the relative invited him to stay for dinner. Since they rarely saw each other, the relative attentively prepared thedinner. He wanted to slaughter the old hen whom he had been keeping for years and cook it for Mr. Kong.
Off he went to the hen-coop and seized the old hen. The old hen drew out her throat and cried like anything when she knew that she was faced with imminent disaster. Upon seeing the pitiful scene, Mr. Kong's sympathy was arouse and so he quickly told his relative,
"Please don't kill the hen!"
"But this will make up a dish for you!"
"Don't worry, I'll eat anything you give me."
"I should try my best to serve you since we rarely have a chance to get together."
"Really, you don't have to... I, I..."
"C'on, don't say 'I... I...'. Please make yourself at home."
Mr. Kong gave a gaze at the hen. He saw that her eyes was sad and tears were on the verge of falling off. Suddenly Mr. Kong determined to make a lie of "good-will".
"The case is,... I have been on vegetarian diet recently."
"Oh! Really? Why haven't I heard you say that before?"
"You've forgotten. We haven't seen each other for a long time.
Really, please don't kill the hen."
"Alright! Since you are on vegetarian diet, we might as well join you for a vegetarian dinner!"
It was late after dinner. The relative asked Mr. Kong to stay overnight.Because Mr. Kong was tired, he was soon in his "dream world" as soon as his head hit the pillow. He was sleeping soundly, when suddenly, he felt a peckon the face which woke him up. He opened his eyes and had a look. There he saw the old hen whom he had saved that evening. Mr. Kong could not help be annoyed. "My old hen, don't disturb me, I want to sleep." Then he went to sleep immediately after he said that. However, the old hen did not listen to him. She again pecked him and woke him up.
Mr. Kong was becoming very annoyed. So he raised himself and sat on the bed and said to her, "My old hen, you are so ungrateful.I've saved you from being killed today. Yet tonight you aren't even kind enough to allow me a good nights sleep." After rebuking the old hen and as he was just about to lie down on the bed he unexpectedly heard a tremendous noise. He was so shocked that he brokeinto a cold-sweat when he was able to look at what had happened. A heavy block of stone had fallen off from the rotten roof beam onto his pillow! Had he been lying down on the bed he would have been killed. Gratefully, he saw the old hen leave and he understood the reason for the old hen's behaviour.
After this event Mr. Kong really became a vegetarian. He also constantlytold people about this story to persuade his relative and friends to avoid killing.
Extract of The Buddhist Children's Stories, page 1-4, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan