Sea Otter Feeds Pups In Dying Moment 海獭临死为孩子喂奶

这是一则真实的故事,是一位出家僧人的亲自口述,他讲到:他在未出家前是猎人,专门捕捉海獭。

有一次,他一出门就抓到一只大海獭。等剖下珍贵的毛皮后,就把尚未断气的海獭藏在草丛里。

傍晚时,猎人回到原来的地方,却遍寻不着这只海獭。再仔细察看,才发现草地上依稀沾着血迹,一直延伸到附近小洞穴。猎人探头往洞里瞧,不禁大吃一惊:原来这只海獭忍着脱皮之痛,挣扎回到自己的窝。

为什么这么做呢?

等猎人拖出这只早已气绝的海獭时,才发觉有两只尚未睁眼的小海獭,正紧紧吸吮着死去母亲干瘪的乳头。

当这位猎人看到这一幕时,身心受到极大的震撼,他从来没有想到动物会有这种连人都做不到的母子人伦之情,临死还想着给自己的孩子喂奶,怕自己的孩子饿了,想到这里,这位猎人不由得心生悲泣,痛哭流涕,惭愧的无地自容。

于是,他放下了屠刀,不再当猎户,出家修行去了。每当这位已经出家的僧人回忆起这段往事的时候,眼中还是会泛起泪光。

 

This is a true story depicted personally by a monk. He talked about being a hunter and catches especially the sea otters.

One day, soon after he left home on a hunting trip he caught a big sea otter. The expensive fur was skinned alive from the sea otter, and then the body of the faintly breathing and dying sea otter was left hidden in the thick patches of grass.

When the hunter returned to the same spot in the evening, he could not find the sea otter anymore. Upon careful search, he saw a vague trail of bloodstain on the grass leading to a nearby small cavern.

Looking into the hole, the hunter was surprised to see this sea otter has endured the excruciating pain of her skin been shredded to have struggled all the way back to its own nest.

Why did the sea otter do that?

Only when the hunter pulled out the body of the sea otter which was already dead, did he discovered two little sea otters newly born with eyes still shut and sucking hard for milk from the withered nipples of their dead mother.

The hunter was in enormous shock when he witnessed this scene. He never would have imagined animal could have such great level of mother and child bonding beyond human. While in the very last moment of her own death, the sea otter was still thinking of feeding her own young ones, worrying that her children were hungry.

Upon realization of this, the hunter could not help but felt a deep grievance in his heart. He cried and felt very ashamed.

Then, he buried his hunting equipment and left home to become a monk. Whenever the monk recollects this past event, tears would well up in his eyes.

 

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Rescue Dog

Rescue Dog

Real-life miracle. Excerpt from Reader’s Digest (May 2007)

 

After the runner fell in the wilderness, it was up to Taz to keep her alive.

By Tom Hallman, Jr.

 

 

The Fall

Danelle Ballengee opened the truck’s door, and Taz jumped out, wagging his tail. Today they were going to run a trail into Utah‘s rugged back country. While she stretched, he nuzzled her legs and watched her intently — a sign he wanted to get moving.

It was Taz’s eyes that did it. She’d found him in a shelter, a puppy so unruly she named him after the Tasmanian Devil in the Warner Bros. cartoon. He’d since grown into a 70-pound mutt who was her constant companion, bouncing at her heels on her training runs.

Danelle Ballengee and her running pal Taz.Danelle checked her watch. She and Taz could easily make a loop and return by lunch. She’d eaten a light breakfast and would be ready for a shower and a meal back at her place in Moab at the end of her ten-mile run.

After limbering up, she patted Taz’s brown coat and started jogging. It was winter — December 2006 — and they were alone.

Danelle pushed her five-foot-four, 120-pound frame and soon broke into a sweat. At 35, she remained a world-class endurance athlete who’d run in over 500 long-distance competitions through deserts and mountains around the world. Today’s training route was a mere two-hour workout in the fresh air, even if the air was turning colder.

Up ahead, Taz disappeared, but Danelle didn’t worry as she scrambled along a remote rocky spur and up a second trail to the top of a 60-foot ridge of deep-colored red rock. Near the summit, her foot hit a patch of black ice.

She scraped over solid stone as she slipped toward a precipice. Her hands grabbed for a hold and found none. She was falling. Then she slammed feet first onto a narrow rock ledge and collapsed.

Dead Weight

Stunned, she felt her legs, afraid she might be paralyzed. She could wiggle her toes, but when she tried to stand, pain shot through her. She heard her own screams echoing off the canyon walls. Her pelvis and several vertebrae were shattered. The lower half of her body was useless, dead weight.

Danelle looked at her watch. It was noon. She estimated she was six miles from her truck and trapped high on a hidden desert ledge in winter. Alone. And no one knew where she was. Then she heard Taz.

He ran down from the summit to where she lay, and huddled over her. Danelle stroked his thick coat. If she remained still, the pain subsided and she could try to think her way out of this trap. She’d follow Taz down the path to the canyon floor. Once there, she’d crawl to the truck.

She rolled onto her stomach and screamed so loudly Taz jumped. She caught her breath. The canyon floor was hundreds of feet below, down a rocky path some two city blocks long. “Go, Taz.” He went ahead of Danelle, who began clawing forward over rocks and patches of snow. Taz trotted down the trail, then back, wondering why Danelle wasn’t running along beside him. Willing herself through the pain, she concentrated on her task.

Five hours later, Danelle reached the canyon bottom, scraped and bruised, the fabric of her running outfit torn. She was 700 feet closer to her goal; the truck was still six miles away.

Danelle checked her watch — 5 p.m. Crawling in the dark could be dangerous. She flopped onto her back, exhausted. Then she noticed an ice-covered hole the size of a pillow. She punched through the ice, pulled herself backward, leaned into the hole and drank deeply.

She’d need water if she was going to crawl out tomorrow. Danelle dipped her empty water bottle into the pool, but it came out full of silt, so she used the lid to slowly scoop water from the surface. It took over 50 scoops to get enough. She finally stopped because spills were freezing her fingers. The temperature had plunged into the 20s.

 Quiet as a Tomb

Her baggy black running pants, a blend of fleece and synthetic polypro, a couple of thin layers and a fleece top offered little protection. She reached out to Taz, and he curled into a ball next to her. Danelle put her arms around him, feeling his warmth, and held on.

As the hours wore on, she tried to distract herself from the pain and cold. Danelle stared into the clear night sky, talked to Taz and counted shooting stars with him. It hurt incredibly to move, but if she didn’t, her core temperature would drop and she’d die of hypothermia. So she flexed her muscles, tapped her feet and lifted her head a few inches off the rock in a small sit-up. When she raced, pain was a constant companion. A good athlete kept moving despite it.

She continued her series of crunches, counting to distract herself. At 1,000, her abdomen ached. She touched her belly — it was swollen with blood from internal injuries. She paced herself: one crunch, rest five seconds, repeat. Throughout the night, she took sips of water, realizing that if she drank too much, she’d urinate and the liquid would freeze on her legs.

At Thursday’s first light, Danelle examined her surroundings. Narrow red rock walls and silence. Not a living thing in sight. In the distance, a small juniper tree, but otherwise only rock and canyon walls. This was terrain where few people ventured, even in summer. At this time of year, it was as quiet as a tomb.

In her pocket she discovered an energy gel in a plastic packet she used on endurance runs. She drank the syrup, rested and waited for the sun to warm her body. She tried to sit up, but her bones ground one against the other and she collapsed from the pain.

Someone in town, she hoped, would realize she was gone. Surely her next-door neighbor would notice her house lights had been left on all night. Even so, no one knew where she’d gone.

Danelle had a six-mile trek ahead of her still.

She turned over and dragged herself forward. She was barely moving now, less than an inch at a time. She pulled hard, scraping her fingers, knuckles and knees until they bled. She crawled from first light to 4 p.m. but became dehydrated and had to return to the water hole. The day had been wasted.

As darkness and the temperature fell, pain and hunger started to take their toll. Danelle had delusions that a blanket had fallen off her and kept searching for it. She was afraid of predators and called to Taz to stay close. When she heard his collar clink, she’d say, “Good dog.”

Something Went Very Wrong

Friday morning broke. The night had been brutal. Her fingers were numb, and she could no longer do sit-ups. Another night and she’d freeze. She decided to make a final attempt to crawl out. Taz paced nervously. He was hungry and tired too. Would he stay with her?

“Taz, I’m hurt,” she said. “Get help.” She held up a weak hand, and Taz walked forward and nuzzled her palm. After a moment, he loped away. But did he understand?

 Danelle started crawling again. She watched the sun move across the sky. Three hours later, she inched back to the water hole and drank. The pain seemed unbearable. Suddenly Taz’s collar jingled in the distance. “Taz,” she called, “Taz.” The jingle faded. He’d left her.

John Marshall, in two layers of clothes and a heavy coat, shivered as he waited for his search-and-rescue squad to arrive at the trailhead. He stared out across 10,000 acres of brutal landscape. He had no idea where to look for Danelle Ballengee, but he had to come up with a plan.

On Thursday afternoon a neighbor realized she hadn’t seen Danelle for two days and called the runner’s parents. They contacted the police, who searched for Danelle’s Ford Ranger in all the likely spots with no luck.

This morning, though, an officer had made a final pass up a little-used road and found the truck. Marshall was called to assemble a search squad. Now he looked anxiously at his watch. In a few hours it would be dark and the team’s task would be impossible.

Marshall knew Danelle was an extreme runner. He’d helped out at an endurance run where he’d treated her for exhaustion.

“We’re not going to be looking for a tourist,” Marshall told his team. “This woman went out there to run the hardest trail she could find. She’s tough. If she’s still out in that country, something went very wrong.”

Marshall tried to think like an endurance runner, focusing the search on five potential trails. When the team arrived, he’d send out squads on all-terrain vehicles. It was a long shot. Good Dog As he

Good Dog

As he turned away from the canyon, Marshall noticed movement in a creek bed about 150 feet below. He peered over the edge. There was a dog down there. He knew Danelle ran with her dog. This one was probably wild, but if it was hers, Danelle was in bad trouble. He’d heard that a dog will stay with its owner unless the owner is severely injured or dies; then it leaves

This dog ran up a trail and stopped 30 feet away. Marshall whistled. He held out his hand, coaxing the dog to come closer so he could catch him. The dog wagged his tail, ran in circles, but refused to come near.

He bolted up the road, dashed around a corner and stopped at Danelle’s pickup. The dog sniffed the truck and ran back into the creek bed, then vanished.

At that point the search team, a crew of 12 volunteers and two ATVs, arrived.

Marshall split them into groups to explore different trails. He was about to send them out when he glanced down the road and saw the dog in the distance. Animal-control officers had arrived on the scene and were trying to tempt him with biscuits, food and water. But the dog would not let himself be caught. He turned and ran up into the canyon.

This was too much like Lassie to be real, Marshall thought. Yet the dog had spent the last 30 minutes making sure that every person in the area had seen him. Maybe it was Danelle’s dog.

 “That dog is back,” Marshall told the team by radio. “Don’t try and catch him. Repeat, do not catch him. Let him go. See if you can follow him.”

Bego Gerhart, one of the rescue-team members, was exploring up ahead when the dog blew by him and then slowed and started to pick his way up a rock-filled trail. Finally the dog disappeared. Gerhart climbed off the ATV and went after him. Paw prints in the sand led to a path the searcher had never noticed. And then, shoe prints.

Danelle hadn’t heard Taz for a while. She closed her eyes to wait for the end — alone, cold and scared.

Then in the distance she heard the jingle of a dog’s collar. A moment later Taz was beside her. He’d been running hard; he was panting. He lapped water out of the little hole. She thought she heard a vehicle’s engine. But it went silent. Back on the narrow trail, Gerhart had turned off the ATV’s motor. He listened to the desert, waited for it to speak to him. Then he heard a voice: “Help me.” He grabbed his radio.

“I have verbal contact with the subject,” he told Marshall. “Stand by.” He raced ahead on the ATV and spotted Danelle lying on the canyon floor, the dog next to her. Gerhart knelt beside her and called for a helicopter to fly her out.

 As Danelle began to weep, Taz nuzzled her and licked her face. “Good dog,” she said. “Good dog.”

 

 

 

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Annie and Her Hero

Author: Dr. Susan Wagner

 

Our friend and agent Annie Brody never had a dog as a child, but always loved them. New York City was not the perfect place to begin life as a dog person, but at age forty five, Annie felt it was time. She adopted the dream dog of her childhood, a golden retriever, who had been found in a parking lot in the Bronx without any identification. She named him Hero. He would come to change her life in ways both unexpected and unanticipated.

   

Annie cherished Hero’s companionship, and could hardly wait to get home after work so she could go outside with her new buddy. Morning and evening walks and forays to the fenced-in dog park were not enough. She began to take Hero out of the city on weekends to places where he could hike off-leash in the woods. Soon the weekends weren’t enough either. The turning point came one night in the city after a glorious weekend in the country.

It was raining and they were in a taxi driving down Park Avenue. Annie noticed that Hero’s perpetual grin was gone, and that he seemed to have become depressed. She wondered what the problem was, so she crouched down and put her head right next to Hero’s to see from his vantage point. All she saw were sharp angles and glass and metal squares of gray and black. They had just been in the countryside with lush fields and rolling hills and trees – lots of round edges and wonderful smells of nature. No wonder he was depressed.

Annie then realized that subconsciously she was having the same depressed reaction to the city as Hero. Through many years of living surrounded by concrete and metal, she had learned to flip a switch and accept the unnaturalness of Manhattan as the price for her lifestyle. But once she allowed herself to see this metropolitan world through Hero’s eyes – to imagine the smells he was experiencing and to hear the sounds of the city through his ears – it was dramatically different. She desired to build a partnership that was best for both of them, rather than merely assert ownership. Annie realized that the conscious choice was to think beyond how the dog should adapt to her life. How could she create a lifestyle that would be harmonious for human and animal?

Looking and listening from Hero’s vantage point, Annie woke up to what she needed to do. She suddenly knew she needed to find a more natural way of living. She quit her job, sold her apartment, and moved to six wooded acres upstate. Flash forward a few years. Instead of life in the fast lane, Annie now lives at the end of a country dirt road surrounded by animals. She runs weekend dog camps for city people and their canines, and is the marketing director for a company that distributes a line of holistic, all natural dog treats. She likes to say that her life has literally “gone to the dogs,” and she’s proud of it.

The story of Annie and her dog Hero is a perfect example of the spiritual nature of animals. Could it be that Annie was really meant to live in the country, and that one of her life’s tasks was to create CampUnleashed? The point in her life when she knew it was time to get a dog was the time many of us wake up and realize there has to be more to life than we are experiencing. Annie’s answer was always there, but like most of us, she couldn’t see it. She could only discover it through the love of an animal.

The truth of animals is that they are directly connected to our instinctive wisdom. They come into our lives just when we need them, and they exit once their spiritual job has been realized. We only have to learn how to receive their guidance. They teach us by putting knowledge right where it counts – in our hearts. Annie was brave enough to follow her heart, and doing so changed her life.

Its not that city life is bad for every dog or human, it just wasn’t good for Annie anymore. And for every Hero leading his guardian to the country, there is a Heroine leading her two-legged companion to Broadway.

 

Dr. Susan Wagner is a board certified veterinary neurologist whose pioneering work acknowledges the bioenergetic interaction between people and animals. She is an advocate for change in the area of interpersonal violence and animal cruelty, and works toward a greater understanding surrounding the health implications of the human-animal bond.

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The Highway of Life

The Highway of Life

Author: Kerry Spackman

 

 

As Don Juan was walking along a dusty highway he came alongside an old Master with flowing white hair and a weathered face. He adjusted his pace to that of the older man and continued with him in silence. After an hour of agreeable companionship Don Juan turned his head towards the Master and asked what he knew of life.

 

 

The master replied, “There are four steps on the highway of life.”

 

“Please tell me what these four steps are,” enquired Don Juan.

 

“The first step is fear,” replied the old Master.

 

Don Juan continued walking in silence for a long time while he pondered these words. The more he thought about it, the more he realized the truth in the old man’s answer. His last girlfriend wasn’t a good match for him but he dated her anyway. Maybe this was because he was afraid of being alone or maybe he was scared he’d never find the right woman. So he’d settled for her. And why had he recently bought such an expensive house with all those rooms he’d never need? If he was truly honest with himself it was because he was afraid people might not hold him in such high esteem if he lived in a more modest house. He thought of how he behaved in the company of his friends and the strange things they had to do because they were “cool”. Was this generated by a fear of not being accepted or of not wanting to be different? Even the stress he felt at work seemed to be driven by a fear of failure. Fear seemed to come in many forms.

 

The old man seemed to be aware of Don Juan’s thoughts while he walked effortlessly beside him.

 

“Most people never conquer fear,” added the Master.

 

The sun was hot and the road dry and dusty, but Don Juan didn’t notice. He was thinking of the people he knew and what they did and realized this was true. As time went by these thoughts began to settle in his mind and feel comfortable – like they belonged there. Don Juan was ready to learn about the second step on the Highway of Life and so he enquired of the Master what this might be.

 

Once more the Master spoke, “The second step on the Highway of Life is impetuousness.”

 

Again Don Juan fell silent while he digested the Master’s words. Without fear he was of course free to do whatever he wanted and this freedom was intoxicating. But in a flash he became aware of all the projects he’d begun with such enthusiasm that now languished half-finished. The criss-crossing and backtracking of decisions caused by setting off without clearly identifying a destination. Romances begun on a whim. Journeys poorly resourced. Impetuousness had wasted much energy and life. As he considered the implications of the Master’s words he realized his life was a mixture. Some parts of his life were still on the first step while other aspects had already progressed to the second step. Indeed, some days his whole life was lived as if he had stumbled back to the first step, while on other days he seemed to see the world from the second step. He resolved to progress those parts of his life that lagged behind.

 

Quite some time passed in quiet contemplation as the two men continued on their journey. Finally Don Juan felt ready to ask the Master for the third step, but just as he was about to open his mouth, the Master turned to Don Juan, “When you have conquered fear and conquered impetuousness – then you have power. You’ll say to people, ‘come’ and they will come. You will say to people, ‘go’ and they will go. You will have power not only to do things but also over yourself.”

 

Power required even deeper thought for it also brings with it a heavy responsibility. What does one do with genuine power?

 

Many thoughts turned inside Don Juan’s mind. He realized each person is unique and so too their powers will be unique. He needed to identify what his special powers were and what they should be used for. He asked himself if he had ever conquered both fear and impetuousness at the same time so that he had genuine power. And if he had power in any aspect of his life, was it used or did it just sit there idle, like a magician’s wand on a table?

 

As Don Juan and the old Master continued walking the sun began to set. Don Juan was puzzled. The first three steps seemed to cover so much and explain so much. What on earth could the fourth step on the Highway of Life possibly be? Indeed, what could possibly lie beyond having power over oneself and the world?

 

Don Juan turned to the Master and said, “You have given me much to think about. I am not sure I can handle the fourth and final step, but as the sun is setting and we will soon part ways, I must ask you.”

 

The Master looked at Don Juan with a far-away look in his eyes, “The final step is to know that everything matters and yet nothing matters – that you are but dust on the Highway of Life.”

 

And with that Don Juan and the Master parted company.

 

 

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半个弃饼啃动人心

师大附中附工补习班理二班的八十余位同学经历了一件让他们终身难忘的事。

早晨,同学们正在上自习时,他们的班主任张老师像往常一样走进教室进行例行检查。张老师突然发现教室门口的垃圾桶里扔了半个用塑料袋包着的饼子,他立即将饼子拣起来问道:「这是谁扔的?你们没经历过困难日子,不知道粮食的可贵。」

 

张老师的问话并没人回应,他拿着饼说:「你们没人承认那我就吃了」。然后,张老师就要将饼子放进口中。这一让全班同学震惊的举动,令那位扔饼子的同学站出来,并冲上讲台阻止老师。最终张老师和那位同学当着全班同学的面一人一半将饼子吃了。

记者趁下课的间隙采访了事发班级的同学。一位学生一连用很负责、很认真、很敬业来表示对张老师的看法。她说,张老师已六十多岁了,曾担任过师大附中的教导主任,做事很仔细;但张老师也很幽默,经常和同学们开玩笑,像爷爷一样和蔼可亲。

记者随后让班里的同学将自己对这件事的感受写出来。一些同学在写感受时低声哭泣,他们大多以『震撼』、『沉重』、『影响一生』来形容自己对这件事的感受。

学校的其他老师谈起张老师时也赞不绝口,他们说,张老师是一个平易近人、以身作则的好老师。他班里的学生集体感强,而且高考成绩经常名列学校前茅。

张老师为什么会做出这样一个惊人的举动?

下午记者见到了正在上课的张老师,在得知记者来意后,他连连摇头说:『这不是什么大事,没什么,没什么。 』

他说自己是1960年参加工作的,当时正是全国困难时期,所以知道粮食的可贵。他说早上的事发生后,他告诉学生要懂得七个字:做人、求知、上大学。首先做人是最主要的,其次是求知,短期目标是上大学。

以下是记者与张老师的对话实录:

记者:张老师,您做出这样一件让人惊讶的举动是为了什么?

张老师:这对我来说没什么。我只想通过自己的这种做法教育学生学会节俭。

记者:您批评您的学生了吗?

张老师:我当了一辈子老师,教了一辈子学生,最离不开学生,这个学生当时就认错了,只要他认识到错误就行了。

记者:您的这一举动达到预期目的了吗?

张老师:达到了,从他们给你们打电话就可以看出这件事感动了他们,而且那个学生对我说了对不起,这就说明这件事对他们还是很有影响的,我想他们以后不会再浪费粮食了。

班里同学感受实录

同学一:他的行动不是表演,而是内心世界的真实表现。笑过之后,我好想哭,他用无声的行动为我们上了人生的一课。他让我们的灵魂震颤。

同学二:今天发生的事对我是一个极大的影响,张老师的行动我想会影响我的一生。

同学三:当只有在电影里发生的一幕发生在我们班上时,全班一片笑声,但沉重是无法用笑声来掩盖的,我只想说,我不会再浪费粮食了。

同学四:张老师的这一举动着实让我震惊,从这件事上我学到了很多,首先是做个什么样的人。

在我看来,这个老教师和朱自清先生的《背影》中那位蹒跚地走到铁路边,爬过栅栏为自己的儿子买橘子的老父亲一样,以强烈的感召力震撼了每一个有着同样亲身经历的学生和社会大众。

教育学生如何秉承节俭的传统美德,用怎样的方式方法更为有效,这是近年来教育界热衷探讨的话题。但到现在,这些方式多样、手段灵活的教育方式仍然没有收到很好的效果,为什么?可见仅仅是教育者口头空洞的说教,没有教育者发自内心的自觉遵守和身体力行,被教育者很难能够心服口服地被感化并转化为自己的日常行为。

由于现在的年轻人,特别是城市的年轻人大都没有经历过劳动的艰辛和生计的艰难,要求他们自觉或本能地遵守勤俭节约的美德,的确不太容易。正是在这种环境下,这位老师通过自己的言传身教,让自己的学生感受到了拥有传统美德的感召力量。事实也证明这位老师的教育效果立竿见影,当这位老师当着全班学生的面一口一口地咽下这个大饼时,那位扔饼子的学生被老师的行为深深地感动了,当场向老师承认了自己的错误行为。这位老师的教育过程,实际也是体现这位老师仁者襟怀的过程。

 

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三袋米的故事

这是一个真实的故事,这是个特困家庭。儿子刚上小学时,父亲去世了。娘儿俩相互搀扶着,用一堆黄土轻轻送走了父亲。

母亲没改嫁,含辛茹苦地拉扯着儿子。那时村里没通电,儿子每晚在油灯下书声朗朗,写写画画,母亲拿着针线,轻轻,细细地将母爱密密缝进儿子的衣衫。

曰复一曰,年复一年,当一张张奖状覆盖在了两面斑驳陆离的土墙时,儿子也像春天的翠竹,噌噌地往上长。望着高出自己半头的儿子,母亲眼角的皱纹张满了笑意。

当满山的树木泛出秋意时,儿子考上了县重点一中。母亲却患上了严重的风湿病,干不了农活,有时连饭都吃不饱。那时的一中,学生每月都得带30斤米交给食堂。

儿知道母亲拿不出,便说:「娘,我要退学,帮你干农活。」母亲摸着儿的头,疼爱地说:「你有这份心,娘打心眼儿里高兴,但书是非读不可。

放心,娘生你,就有法子养你。你先到学校报名,我随后就送米去。 」儿固执地说不。母亲说快去,儿还是说不,母亲挥起粗糙的巴掌,结实地甩在儿的脸上,这是16岁的儿第一次挨打……儿终于上学去了,望着他远去的背影,母亲在默默沉思。

没多久,县一中的大食堂迎来了姗姗来迟的母亲,她一瘸一拐地挪进门,气喘吁吁地从肩上卸下一袋米。

负责掌秤登记的熊师傅打开袋口,抓起一把米看了看,眉头就锁紧了,说:「你们这些做家长的,总喜欢占小便宜。你看看,这里有早稻,中稻,晚稻,还有细米,简直把我们食堂当杂米桶了。」这位母亲臊红了脸,连说对不起。熊师傅见状,没再说什么,收了。

母亲又掏出一个小布包,说:「大师傅,这是5元钱,我儿子这个月的生活费,麻烦您转给他。」熊师傅接过去,摇了摇,里面的硬币丁丁当当。他开玩笑说:「怎么,你在街上卖茶叶蛋?」母亲的脸又红了,支吾着道个谢,一瘸一拐地走了。

又一个月初,这位母亲背着一袋米走进食堂。熊师傅照例开袋看米,眉头又紧锁,还是杂色米。他想,是不是上次没给这位母亲交代清楚,便一字一顿地对她说:「不管什么米,我们都收。 但品种要分开,千万不能混在一起,否则没法煮,煮出的饭也是夹生的。下次还这样,我就不收了。 」

母亲有些惶恐地请求道:「大师傅,我家的米都是这样的,怎么办?」熊师傅哭笑不得,反问道:「你家的一亩田能种出百样米?真好笑。」遭此抢白,母亲不敢吱声,熊师傅也不再理她。

第三个月初,母亲又来了,熊师傅一看米,勃然大怒,用几乎失去理智的语气,毛辣辣地呵斥:「哎,我说你这个做妈的,怎么顽固不化呀?咋还是杂色米呢?你呀,今天怎么背来的,还是怎么背回去!」

母亲似乎早有预料,双膝一弯,跪在熊师傅面前,两行热泪顺着凹陷无神的眼眶涌出:「大师傅,我跟您实说了吧,这米是我讨……讨饭得来的啊!」熊师傅大吃一惊,眼睛瞪得溜圆,半晌说不出话。

母亲坐在地上,挽起裤脚,露出一双僵硬变形的腿,肿大成梭形……母亲抹了一把泪,说:「我得了晚期风湿病,连走路都困难,更甭说种田了。儿子懂事,要退学帮我,被我一巴掌打到了学校……」

她又向熊师傅解释,她一直瞒着乡亲,更怕儿子知道伤了他自尊心。每天天蒙蒙亮,她就揣着空米袋,拄着棍子悄悄到十多里外的村子讨饭,然后挨到天黑后才偷偷摸进村。

她将讨来的米聚在一起,月初送到学校……母亲絮絮叨叨地说着,熊师傅早已潸然泪下。他扶起母亲,说:「好妈妈啊,我马上去告诉校长,要学校给你家捐款。」

母亲慌不迭送地摇着手,说:「别,别,如果儿子知道娘讨饭供他上学,就毁了他的自尊心,影响他读书可不好。大师傅的好意我领了,求你为我保密,切记切记!」母亲走了,一瘸一拐。

校长最终知道了这件事,不动声色,以特困生的名义减免了儿子三年的学费与生活费。三年后,儿以627分的成绩考进了清华大学。

欢送毕业生那天,县一中锣鼓喧天,校长特意将母亲的儿子请上主席台,此生纳闷:考了高分的同学有好几个,为什么单单请我上台呢?更令人奇怪的是,台上还堆着三只鼓囊囊的蛇皮袋。

此时,熊师傅上台讲了母亲讨米供儿上学的故事,台下鸦雀无声。校长指着三只蛇皮袋,情绪激昂地说:「这就是故事中的母亲讨来的三袋米,这是世上用金钱买不到的粮食。下面有请这位伟大的母亲上台。」

儿子疑惑地往后看,只见熊师傅扶着母亲正一步一步往台上挪。我们不知儿子那一刻在想什么,相信给他的那份震动绝不亚于惊涛骇浪。

于是,人间最温暖的一幕亲情上演了,母子俩对视着,母亲的目光暖暖的,柔柔的,一绺儿有些花白的头发散乱地搭在额前,儿子猛扑上前,搂住她,嚎啕大哭:「娘啊,我的娘啊……」

 

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The Purpose of A Dog

The Purpose of A Dog

Author: Unknown

 

 

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a 10-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker.

 

The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

 

 

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

 

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for 6-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

 

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him.

 

Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

 

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.

 

We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

 

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

 

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth stunned me. I have never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

 

He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”

 

The 6-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

 

 

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You Are My Joy

You Are My Joy

Author: Unknown

 

 

I stood in the living room doorway absolutely stunned. I had come to visit her, knowing her habit of keeping the kitchen door open ("Oh, stop complaining. If a burglar comes through the door they´ll soon realize there´s nothing of value here. And once that is clear, I´ll make a pot of good strong coffee and give them blueberry pie with whipped cream! Maybe we´ll strike an interesting conversation.")

 

 

 

I glanced at the kitchen table and sure enough – on it, right under a small framed picture on the wall, was a freshly baked peach pie.

 

Grandma loved visitors – and everyone loved grandma so she had plenty of people she could "strike an interesting conversation with".

 

The little picture on the wall was a drawing of grandma. Grandpa had made it when he returned from the war and she had visited him at the hospital. A young woman, sitting in a chair, with a cane. "You are my Joy" was written under it in my grandfather´s handwriting. And under that one another line. "I love you with my life" and then his signature.

 

The picture had always been there and we all loved it because it symbolized their love that only got deeper as they grew old together.

 

I heard her sing when I opened the door and did not want to interrupt the beautiful song by yelling I had arrived, so I just tiptoed to the living room. I loved that tune. It was Tchaikovsky, from the ballet Sleeping Beauty. I remembered falling asleep as a child when she was humming that beautiful music. She and grandpa loved to invite us grandchildren over. And once the day´s playing was done, she tucked us in bed and stayed in the bedroom, humming this music with her beautiful clear voice until we fell asleep.And now she was not only singing the tune but dancing to it. I looked how her still lean body bent beautifully, her arms greeting the sunlight that was pouring through the window. And her legs… Those legs that had stiffly walked, aided with a cane, in sensible shoes as long as I could remember. Now she was wearing beautiful dancing shoes and her legs obeyed her perfectly. No limping. No stiffness. Just beautiful, fluid motion.

 

"Joy of Dance" they had called her when she was on top of her career as a ballet dancer. Perfect nickname – her first name was Joy. "Joy of Dance dances the Dance of joy." This was a headline in a newspaper article Grandpa had showed us.

 

She was the pet of the dancing world. Pretty as a butterfly – and just like a butterfly her body seemed to break the rules of gravity when she floated over the stage. She was so good that when she danced it was like she created a sculpture out of thin air using her body as a tool. I had read that in an old newspaper clipping. And then she had her accident and it was all over.

 

She turned around in a slow pirouette and saw me standing in the doorway. Her song ended and her beautiful movement with it so abruptly it felt like being shaken awake from a beautiful dream. The sudden silence rang in my ears.

 

Please, don´t stop… I managed to say, – It was so beautiful.

 

Grandma looked so much like a kid caught with her hand in a cookie jar. I couldn´t help it and a slightly nervous laughter escaped. Grandma sighed and turned towards the kitchen.

 

 All right, you might hear the whole story then, now that you caught me.

 

I followed her, not believing my eyes. She was walking with no difficulties in her beautiful shoes. All my life she had walked stiffly, leaning to her cane, and we had felt so sorry for her having lost her beautiful career as a ballet dancer. There was a picture of her in the upstairs hall – a sepia toned photo of breathtaking beauty – she was in her costume for Sleeping Beauty, her trim body expressing the very essence of everything that was beautiful in ballet. As a little girl I had stood there often, watching it for a long time, wanting to become a dancer myself.

 

I took the coffee cups and plates from the cupboard while grandma made coffee. We sat down by the table and cut ourselves big pieces of her delicious peach pie. That pie should have been sold as a cure-all. When we were younger, her pies always cured whatever small (or bigger) sorrows we might have. Everything from cut fingers to heartbreak.

 

So… I blurted, – How did your leg heal?

 

To tell you the truth – my legs have been well all my life, she said, – Oh, the cream! Don´t eat another bite until I bring the cream!

 

Grandma loved whipped cream that was spiced with real vanilla. She always seemed to have a bowl of it in her fridge. She brought the white and blue bowl, put it on the table and administered a generous portion of cream on my pie. I knew it was no use to try and say no.

 

But I don´t understand! I said, – Your dancing career… I mean… You pretended all these years?

 

Very much so, grandmother closed her eyes and savored the peach pie and whipped cream, – And for a very good reason.

 

What reason?

 

Your grandfather.

 

You mean he told you not to dance?

 

Oh for heavens sake, he would never had said anything of the sort! Shame on you for even thinking that! her voice was sharp, – He was the best man you could imagine! No, this was my choice. I am sure I would have lost him if I had continued dancing. I weighed fame and love against each other and love won.

 

She thought for a while and then continued.

 

We were talking about engagement when your grandfather had to go to war. It was the most horrible day of my life when he left. I was so afraid of losing him, the only way I could stay sane was to dance. I put all my energy and time into practising. I danced until I collapsed with exhaustion in the evenings. And I became very good. I was invited to perform with the best – and one day I realized I was considered to be one of them.

 

Critics praised me, the public loved me – and all I could feel was the ache in my heart, not knowing would the love of my life ever return. Gentlemen sent me flowers and jewels, suggesting dinner and meetings. I returned the jewels and gave the flowers to hospitals. Then I went home and read and re-read his letters until I fell asleep. He always ended his letters with "You are my Joy. I love you with my life" and after that he wrote his name.

 

I remembered the shoebox I had found in the attic. Filled with praising newspaper articles and old photos of grandma, dancing like a flame. But never any love letters. Well – of course they were so private grandma had hidden them from curious children.

 

And then one day the letter came. He wrote to me from a military hospital. There were only three sentences. Here, let me show you.

 

Grandma got up and opened the kitchen cupboard. On the upmost shelf was an old wooden jewelry box with a ballet dancer painted on the lid. She opened it and took out a letter, one of many. This she handed to me. It was written with a pencil on a paper torn from a hospital notepad. The paper had been torn carelessly – the logo was only partially visible on the upper corner.

 

"I have lost my leg. I am no longer a whole man, and now give you back your freedom. It is best you forget about me." There was no "You are my Joy – I love you with my life" before the signature. Actually there was no signature at all.

 

I made my decision there and then. I loved him so much I was not going to lose him to depression. I took my leave, and traveled away from the city. When I returned I had bought myself a cane and wrapped my leg tightly with bandages. I told everyone I had been in a car crash and that my leg would never completely heal again. My dancing days were over. No one suspected the story – I had learned to limp convincingly before I returned home. And I made sure the first person to hear of my accident was a reporter I knew well.

 

I remembered the clippings in the shoebox. "Fairytale comes to an end" one reporter had written. "Tragic loss for ballet" another had said. As a child I found it no wonder she did not want to see those old articles anymore and had abandoned them in a box in the attic.

 

I traveled to his hospital. They had pushed him outside in his wheelchair. I was told he was deeply depressed and did not want to talk to anyone. They had found a stash of pain medication he had collected – obviously planning to end his life with them.

 

My heart almost broke when I saw him sitting there, with his head bent, staring into nothingness with no expression on his face. His left leg was nothing but a short stump. There was a cane on the ground by his wheelchair. I took a deep breath, leaned on my cane and limped to him.

 

I had forgotten about the pie now and listened to grandma, mesmerized.

 

What happened then? I hurried her when she took her time eating some pie.

 

"So there you are! Feeling all sorry for yourself?" That´s what I asked – in no friendly tone. You have no idea how hard it was to speak in an angry tone to him.

 

He almost fell off his wheelchair, he had certainly not expected me to come. He stared at me and my cane, not saying anything.

 

Grandmother sipped her coffee and smiled. It was the kind of smile someone has when they are deep in good memories.

 

I told him he was not the only one who had lost a leg, even if mine was still attached to me. I showed him newspaper clippings of my accident. I had brought them to convince him I was now a cripple too.

 

"So if you think I´m going to let you feel sorry for yourself for the rest of your life, think again. There is a whole life waiting for us out there! I don´t intend to be sorry for myself for this. But I have enough on my plate as it is, so you´d better snap out of it too. And I am not going to carry you – you are going to walk yourself."

 

Grandma giggled. A surprisingly girlish sound coming from an old lady with white hair and a spot of whipped cream on her chin.

 

He tried to say something but I did not let him. I limped a few steps away and showed him what I took out of my pocket. "Now show me you are still a man. I won´t ask again."

 

He bent to take his cane from the ground and struggled out of that wheelchair. I could see he had not done it before, because he almost fell to his face, having only one leg. But I was not going to help. And so he managed it on his own and walked to me and never sat in a wheelchair again in his life.

 

I only danced at home when no one was around – and never regretted my decision. He got his will to live back without feeling he was pitied. Your grandfather was a proud man and hated being pitied more than anything. I figured I could change a few years of fame to a lifetime of love. And I was right. It was worth it.

 

What did you show him? I had to know.

 

Grandma looked at me and grinned. I could still see why her smile had made men fall in love with her when she was young.

 

Two engagement rings, of course. I had bought them the day after he left for war and I was not going to waste them on any other man.

 

I looked at the picture on the kitchen wall. The picture became distorted when tears filled my eyes.

 

"You are my Joy. I love you with my life." I spelled quietly. And the young woman in the picture sat on her park bench and with twinkling eyes smiled broadly at me, an engagement ring carefully drawn on her finger.

 

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The Magic Writer

The Magic Writer

Real-life miracle. Excerpt from Reader’s Digest (December 2009)

 

 

Gary Cotter was a big, solid guy who had earned his living as an industrial spray painter. He loved old cars, Irish music, and telling stories to his friends after work at the Omega, a 24-hour diner. Most of all, Gary Cotter loved his kids, his grandkids, and Gail, his wife of 37 years.

 

He loved Christmas too. Every year, it was Gary who picked out the tree, hung the decorations, and strung cards around the family room of their home in Bay View, Wisconsin. Exuberant, affectionate, vivacious—to his family, Gary was larger than life.

 

In 2006, he was diagnosed with oral cancer. By Thanksgiving of 2007, he was dying. His family moved him from the hospital to receive hospice care at home. Yet, as if he could not bear to say goodbye to his loved ones at the time of year that meant so much, Gary hung on into the Christmas season.

 

It was Gail who swallowed her anguish on December 18 and gave her husband permission to leave them. She held Gary‘s hand and told him, "It’s okay to go."

 

When Gary stopped breathing, Gail called her daughter, Michelle, who lived across town. "Dad’s gone," she said. Michelle rushed to her mother’s side. On the drive over, she turned on the radio and heard "I’ll Be Home for Christmas." Every time she turned on the radio for the next week, she heard the song and was comforted. But Gail was overcome by her loss.

 

By April, Gail had moved in with Michelle and her husband and their daughters, ages three and one. And just like that, it was Christmas time again, the anniversary of Gary‘s death. The holiday had become joyless for Gail. She missed Gary‘s touch, his voice, the way he filled the room, the way he filled their lives.

 

Concerned about Gail’s continuing grief, Michelle often planned outings with her mother. One evening, she suggested that they go shopping at Big Lots, a store where her father had enjoyed hunting for bargains. For Gary, a trip to Big Lots at Christmastime had been a treasure hunt, with surprises around every corner, all destined for those he loved most.

 

As mother and daughter pulled into the parking lot, Gail, conscious of Michelle’s worry, tried to put on a cheerful expression. She knew that her granddaughters were eagerly awaiting the surprises that always turned up on Christmas Day. But without Gary, shopping at Big Lots was sad.

 

Inside the store, the women split up to search the shelves and tables for gifts for the girls. Gail wandered listlessly to the back of the store, where she saw a stack of Magic Writer tablets, popular doodle pads that kids can draw on and then clear by pulling a knob. Gail picked up one of the tablets to try and saw something written on it. She turned the screen sideways to read the markings. Suddenly, she froze.

 

In bold block letters, the message said "I love you Gail."

 

Gail called out to her daughter: "Shelly, come here, quick."

 

Michelle was a few aisles away, looking at dollhouse furniture. "What is it? Just tell me, Mom," she said. Gail called out again. This time, Michelle heard the urgency in her mother’s voice. She ran over.

 

Gail was holding out the tablet in trembling hands. "Did you write this?" she asked her daughter. Michelle shook her head.

 

The handwriting didn’t look like Gary‘s. Gail is a common enough name. Anyone passing through the store could have written the words for any reason and at any time—a teenager teasing his girlfriend, a husband writing an apology to his wife, a father showing affection for a young daughter. But Gail knew whom the message was for.

 

"Oh, my God," she said. "Dad left me a sign."

 

Gail bought the toy, telling the woman at the checkout counter not to erase the message. Then she and her daughter took it home. Gail put it in her bedroom, out of the kids’ reach—one light touch and the message might vanish forever. A year later, it’s still there: a promise for all Christmases to come.

 

Gail is a practical woman. Neither she nor her daughter is easily fooled by cheap mysticism or discounted grace. But Gail believes this—that at the loneliest moment of her life, a surprise and a treasure, a message of love, "was put there for me to find."

 

Every child knows that Christmas is a season of surprises. And every adult knows that hidden amid sorrows and joys, disappointments and losses, closeouts and odd lots of discounted items, the ultimate surprise is love.

 

 
 

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