He was an orphan who had no higher education, no special skills. In order to make a living, he became a butcher. At that time, for [the] kind of people like him who had nothing except for physical strength, it was a way of making a living.
According to the time that people went to the market, he would slaughter a pig or a cow every two or three days. For him, slaughtering animals had become a part of his life. However, after [this] day, everything changed completely.
It was a dim winter. He went to the slaughter house as [scheduled]. That day his job was to slaughter a cow. As usual he caught a glimpse of the cow. It was a strong cow with [a] round-belly, which seemed stronger than others. Although he didn’t care about the cow’s weight. This time, the cow called his attention indeed. When he began to prepare the knife, the cow began to cry, tears rolled down from its eyes. But he didn’t show any sympathy for it. After all, it was a common thing that animals had the intelligence to predict something about their death. Besides, seeing a cow crying wasn’t a rare thing for him. He continued to do his [preparation] work.
When he began to slaughter the cow, he was shocked. The cow kneeled down on the ground in front of him. Being a butcher for so many years, it was the first time that he had seen a cow [kneel] down to beg for mercy in order to survive. However, [a] job was [a] job; such [a] scene didn’t change his determination to slaughter the cow.
After his slaughtering, he was shocked to see that an unborn calf [lay] silently in the cow’s belly. It was a pity that the calf didn’t have the chance to see another new world. All of a sudden, he realized [why] the cow cried so desperately and kneeled down on the ground. All of these actions were just for her unborn baby. From that day, he didn’t slaughter any more [animals].
[This] is my grandpa’s story. After listening to the story, all I could feel was that [a] mother’s love is great. Love is a privilege not only for human beings but also for animals. As a mother, her baby [was] everything. Sometimes, no matter how distant and indistinct hope is, in order to protect her baby, [a mother] will try anything, just like the cow.
This semester, I asked students to call the oldest person in their families and to ask that person to tell them a story that they had never heard before. They then translated and told the story in English. While we’re away traveling, I thought I’d let my students tell their stories. To preserve their privacy, I have not credited the authors, but I have gotten their permission to let you listen in. The stories vary—sometimes simple, sometimes Earth shattering, sometimes otherworldly. I have not edited their stories unless I needed to help the flow. My edits are in brackets. [ ] Check back for more. There will be a new one posted each Wednesday through Feb. 23.