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《Chinese Tales for Everyone__Real and Imaginary: (22) A Fever Experience》__ Kong Shiu Loon (53)

Tales Real and Imaginary
(22) A Fever Experience
 
Long ago, there lived in China a Mr. Shie who was a Judge in a small town. It was a beautiful place, with rivers and streams meandering in a green plain. People were friendly and caring.

One day, Shie felt ill. His temperature rose quickly. His breath was hot like fire. He lay in bed delirious.
“May be this is the end of me,” he thought with fear. “I must not die!”

His body was hot all over. He was thirsty. He drank a bowl of herbal medicine prepared by his wife and fell into sound sleep.

He dreamed of the joy of jumping into a mountain lake and became a carp dashing about, feeling cool and free. He was miraculously transformed into a carp.

He felt hungry.

Suddenly he saw a fisherman on a skiff rowing near. The fisherman let down a line to make his daily catch.

The carp’s eyes brightened as it saw a minnow wiggling in a hook at the end of the fishing line. The smell of food made it swim around the hooked bait.

“I must not eat the minnow,” the carp thought, “else I be caught.”

It swam away. But hunger drove it back. It dashed towards the bait, and tried to swallow the wiggling minnow.

The fisherman halted the line and the carp landed on the deck of the skiff.

Shie woke up in a sudden. But he was still a carp, dangling in the hand of the fisherman as he ran to market to make a good sale.

“Hey,” the carp shouted, “I am Shie. Don’t you recognize me? Put me down!”

The shouting was ignored, and the fisherman continued with bargains for the best price. The carp recognized the buyers. One was the chef of his favorite restaurant. The other was his next door neighbor.

It shouted again: “Hear me you two. I am Shie Lo, not a carp. Let me go!”

No one paid any attention. The carp was bought by the chef. He brought it to his kitchen and began to scale it, thinking how to cook it into a delicious dish.
Lying flat on the platter the carp was in despair. It began to recall its actions, like a train of events.

“Why did I try to swallow the bait, knowing the danger of the hook?

“Surely, I was hungry. But it would have been better to stay alive than be caught and killed!”

“I thought I could escape death by transforming into a carp, to cool down my fever and to live. But now, I am back near death! It is not funny. I should have acted on reason and turned away from the bait.”

Suddenly the carp felt a sharp pain, as the chef chopped off its head with a cleaver. It woke up and became Shie again. He was feeling better, as the medicine and the sound sleep had helped to ease his fever.

In his new state of mind, he realized that he had learnt a big lesson about himself and human nature.

“I can’t help but to behave driven by feelings and needs,” he thought aloud, “but I must curb my actions with what I know.”
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Note: This is an English narration from a story in the book《民間故事》. It showed the author’s imagination in transforming man into a fish and allowing the fish to think and behave like a human.
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