The Big Tortoise Who Seized The Bandit
This story happened in the Qing Dynasty (A.D. 1644 - 1911, the dynasty established by the Manchu people, Ed.). The time was the 7th Year of Kang Xi reign (The first Emperor of The Qing Dynasty).
There was a merchant who came from Anhui. When he was by passing the place where Songhua Jiang (river) and the Huapu Jiang met, he saw a fisherman caught a huge tortoise. His sympathy for the tortoise arouse so he talked to the fisherman,
"I gave you three taels (unit of weight for silver in old China) of silver. Pleasedon't sell it for food to people. Let it go back to the river."
However, unexpectedly there was another fisherman peeping that and thought the merchant possessed many taels of silver. Therefore he had athought of seizing the money. Then he took the advantage when everyone was asleep, he held his knife and jumped onto the merchant's boat. One strike he killed the boat-person and the merchant's servant who were sleeping soundly. Then he woke up the merchant,
"Ooi! Get up! Get up! Give meall of your silver, otherwise I'll kill you."
"Okay! Okay! All of my silver is here, take it, if only you don't kill me."
"Wah! All of my life I have never seen so much silver. You ask me not to kill you? No way! I've got the silver, why should I let you live?"
The merchant kneeled down and begged with all his might,
"I beg you to be kind, don't kill me. In my family there are my wife and young children to take care of. Furthermore I've already given you all of the silver."
Okay! For the sake of your silver, I don't kill you now. However, if I let you go, it's not of my benefits. Make it this way, I tie you up and throw you into the river. Whether you'll be alive or not that depend onyour luck."
So the fisherman tied the hands and legs of the merchant and threw him into the river. The situation was critical. Since the hands and legs of the merchant were tied up, he could not swim at all and it was up to the heaven to decide his destiny. Upon this very critical moment, suddenly the "relief troops" arrived. It was not anyone else but the tortoise whom the merchant saved. It placed the merchant on its back and swam against upstream for about 20 li (Chinesemile). Continuously it swam until dawn only then they found the water police on petrol. The water police saved the merchant. And under thedirection of the tortoise they caught the bandit fisherman and resumed the lost 400 taels of silver. From then onwards, the people living around and afar passed down with general approval the story of "the huge tortoise seizing the bandit".
Extract of The Buddhist Children's Stories, page 11-13, published by TheWhite Cloud Cultural Centre, Taipei Taiwan