The Animals’ Peace Party
The ancient books say that the pig is a very unclean animal and of no great use to the world or man, and one of them contains this story:
Once upon a time the horses and cattle gave a party. Although the pigs were very greedy, the horses said, “Let us invite them, and it may be we can settle our quarrels in this way and become better friends. We will call this a Peace Party.
“Generations and generations of pigs have broken through our fence, taken our food, drunk our water, and rooted up our clean green grass; but it is also true that the cattle children have hurt many young pigs.
“All this trouble and fighting is not right, and we know the Master wishes we should live at peace with one another. Do you not think it a good plan to give a Peace Party and settle this trouble?”
The cattle said, “Who will be the leader of our party and do the inviting? We should have a leader, both gentle and kind, to go to the pigs’ home and invite them.”
The next day a small and very gentle cow was sent to invite the pigs. As she went across to the pigs’ yard, all the young ones jumped up and grunted, “What are you coming here for? Do you want to fight?”
“No, I do not want to fight,” said the cow. “I was sent here to invite you to our party. I should like to know if you will come, so that I may tell our leader.”
The young pigs and the old ones talked together and the old ones said, “The New Year feast will soon be here. Maybe they will have some good things for us to eat at the party. I think we should go.”
Then the old pigs found the best talker in all the family, and sent word by him that they would attend the party.
The day came, and the pigs all went to the party. There were about three hundred all together.
When they arrived they saw that the leader of the cows was the most beautiful of all the herd and very kind and gentle to her guests.
After a while the leader spoke to them in a gentle voice and said to the oldest pig, “We think it would be a good and pleasant thing if there were no more quarrels in this pasture.
“Will you tell your people not to break down the fences and spoil the place and eat our food? We will then agree that the oxen and horses shall not hurt your children and all the old troubles shall be forgotten from this day.”
Then one young pig stood up to talk. “All this big pasture belongs to the Master, and not to you,” he said. “We can not go to other places for food.
“The Master sends a servant to feed us, and sometimes he sends us to your yard to eat the corn and potatoes.
“The servants clean our pen every day. When summer comes, they fill the ponds with fresh water for us to bathe in.
“Now, friends, can you not see that this place and this food all belongs to the Master? We eat the food and go wherever we like. We take your food only after you have finished. It would spoil on the ground if we did not do this.
“Answer this question—Do our people ever hurt your people? No; even though every year some of our children are killed by bad oxen and cows.
“What is your food? It is nothing; but our lives are worth much to us.
“Our Master never sends our people to work as he does the horses and oxen. He sends us food and allows us to play a year and a year the same, because he likes us best.
“You see the horses and oxen are always at work. Some pull wagons, others plow land for rice; and they must work—sick or well.
“Our people never work. Every day at happy time we play; and do you see how fat we are?
“You never see our bones. Look at the old horses and the old oxen. Twenty years’ work and no rest!
“I tell you the Master does not honor the horses and oxen as he does the pigs.
“Friends, that is all I have to say. Have you any questions to ask? Is what I have said not the truth?”
The old cow said, “Moo, Moo,” and shook her head sadly. The tired old horses groaned, “Huh, Huh,” and never spoke a word.
The leader said, “My friends, it is best not to worry about things we can not know. We do not seem to understand our Master.
“It will soon be time for the New Year feast day; so, good night. And may the pig people live in the world as long and happily as the horses and the oxen, although our Peace Party did not succeed.”
On their way home the little pigs made a big noise, and every one said, “We, we! We win, we win!”
Then the old horses and oxen talked among themselves. “We are stronger, wiser, and more useful than the pigs,” they said. “Why does the Master treat us so?”
Ee-Sze (Meaning): Why have some more power than others? Only one knows. Why have some longer life than others? Only one knows. Why do some try and not succeed; while others do not try and yet they do succeed? Only one knows.
From Chinese Fables and Folk Stories, Mary Hayes Davis & Chow-Leung.
New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Company, 1908.