S: “ The original text is :
So, what this means is that there is a butcher who is going home after he had sold all the meat that he brought with him. On his way home, two wolves start to follow him. The butcher gets scared and throws a bone to one of the wolves. But the other wolf is still following. So he throws another bone to the other wolf. Now he has no more bones, but the two wolves continue following him. He is very scared of being attacked from the front and rear. He sees a large wheat stack nearby and leans on it while drawing his butcher knife. The wolves see the knife and stop approaching. After a while, one wolf leaves, and the other wolf sits in front of the butcher. The sitting wolf appears to be sleeping. The butcher quickly jumps up and kills the wolf with his knife. Right before the butcher leaves, he discovers that the other wolf is digging a hole behind the wheat stack! Thus, he kills this wolf as well.
Wolves are cunning, but they can die in an instant. How many tricks do these beasts have? It only adds to the laughter.”
here is the pingyin version of the original text:
Yī tú wǎn guī, dān zhōng ròu jìn, zhǐ yǒu shèng gǔ. Tú zhōng liǎng láng, zhuì xíng shén yuǎn.
Tú jù, tóu yǐ gǔ. Yī láng dé gǔ zhǐ, yī láng réng cóng. Fù tóu zhī, hòu láng zhǐ ér qián láng yòu zhì. Gǔ yǐ jìn yǐ, ér liǎng láng zhī bìng qū rú gù.
Tú dà jiǒng, kǒng qián hòu shòu qí dí. Gù yě yǒu mài chǎng, chǎng zhǔ jī xīn qí zhōng, shān bì chéng qiū. Tú nǎi bēn yǐ qí xià, chī dān chí dāo. Láng bù gǎn qián, dān dān xiāng xiàng.
Shǎo shí, yī láng jìng qù, qí yī quǎn zuò yú qián. Jiǔ zhī, mù sì míng, yì xiá shén. Tú bào qǐ, yǐ dāo pī láng shǒu, yòu shù dāo bì zhī. Fāng yù xíng, zhuǎn shì jī xīn hòu, yī láng dòng qí zhōng, yì jiāng suì rù yǐ gōng qí hòu yě. Shēn yǐ bàn rù, zhǐ lù kāo wěi. Tú zì hòu duàn qí gǔ, yì bì zhī. Nǎi wù qián láng jiǎ mèi, gài yǐ yòu dí.
Láng yì xiá yǐ, ér qǐng kè liǎng bì, qín shòu zhī biàn zhà jǐ hé zāi? Zhǐ zēng xiào ěr.
S: “This is a short story written by Songling Pu, so I think this fits your description of tale.This is the story that I have studied for my language art in my elementary school in China. The original text is Classic Chinese. If I haven’t studied during class I wouldn’t be able to understand what the words mean as well.”
Wolves, as a symbol of cunning and deception, serve as a foil to the human protagonist. The story’s vivid imagery and Classical Chinese language contribute to its appeal as a piece of folklore passed down through generations, often as part of an oral tradition or in this case, as a written work by Songling Pu. This story is included in Songling Pu’s work of 聊斋志异, or Liao zhao zhi yi, which means strange stories from a Chinese studio. It’s a tale collection about faires, ghosts and monsters.
This tale is also a padagogy that teaches a moral lesson that animals can be cunning, but eventually they are only animals and the human wisdom also oppress the animals. It also teaches the kids in the elementary school that when they meet bad and cunning people like the two wolves, they need to fight like the butcher, and in smart ways. I am not sure if this is the best lesson to elementary school students.
The structure of the tale follows a classic format, with a protagonist facing a challenge or a series of obstacles, in this case, the two cunning wolves. The butcher’s fears and actions are relatable to the reader, as they convey the human instinct to survive and adapt when facing danger.