Sunday, October 2, 2016

When Kids And Frogs Meet (当小孩遇到田鸡)

There are two possibilities that resulted when kids and edible frogs meet:

1.       The kids caught hold of the frogs and go home happily.

2.       The kids caught something else.

We will come to that ‘something else’ later. For the uninitiated, there are many kinds of edible frogs out there. They are normally larger than the ordinary frogs and only their leg muscles are consumed. They taste like chicken but they are tenderer and sweet. Hence the Chinese call these edible frogs as ‘field chickens’ (田鸡). The edible frogs caught in the wild is normally larger than the ones from the farms. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, edible frogs can replenish energy and treat weak spleen. However, these edible frogs may not be consumed by followers of some religions.

As with common frogs, edible frogs are amphibian animals, they would leave the water to hunt for food at night. So whoever wants to catch these creatures must go to the river banks to catch them. The required tool is only torchlight. Edible frogs could be easily picked up under the torchlight light for they would stay dumbfounded when a torchlight shine at them. It is not too difficult to notice the presence of these edible frogs as their eyes would become red under torchlight.

Since catching these frogs must be done in the dark and in the river, there are bound to be something else around. These ‘something else’ are normally snakes and ghosts. So it is actually safer to go in a group of 3 people. Having said so, when the group is a little large; the frogs would also be scared away. Ideally of course, one should just proceed alone for the frog hunt.

I am not particularly brave but during those days, there weren’t too many things to do at night; catching edible frogs become one of those lucrative past times for kids to venture in as edible frog meat can fetch a high price in local restaurants. So, with so many frog hunters out there, these edible frogs were in short supply. Since these animals were almost hunted to their extinction in more popular locations, the best place to hunt for these delicious frogs at that time was a section of a stream near a Chinese cemetery. This was a place shy away by other frog hunters as the place was believed to be haunted by a pair of mother-son ghosts.

It was said that a pregnant lady hung herself on a banyan tree by the stream and this restless spirit and her stillborn haunted the section of the stream ever since. I was lucky for many times with good catches at that place without any eerie experiences until one occasion however. During that particular occasion, I was extremely happy to have discovered a colony of edible frogs resting on a piece of large boulder.

Just as when I was positioning to make a catch, suddenly a round of extremely sorrowful weeping voice of a woman came ahead of me. The disembodied voice just dangled in the air repeatedly which created resonance in my little heart. Due to reflexes, I used my torchlight to shine towards the direction of the sound but there was nothing to be seen. I didn’t want to lose the pray then, so I ventured forward even I was scared.

Then the weeping voice came again. It was “woo-wooo-wooooo” and I pointed my torchlight to the direction of the voice. Again, nothing could be seen…

My natural reflexion then was to turn around and ran for my life. I swear that I could hear those sorrowful and eerie voice for many nights later. Well, thing would be different if I had some magic training then. Perhaps it was the ghosts’ turn to flee if they didn’t want to be my servant spirits.

Of course, bumping into ghosts are scary but they are certainly not life threatening. The scariest creatures by the river at night is none other than the snakes!

In another occasion I was in the river searching for the frogs. As it was taught by old folks that poisonous snakes and wild animals only hunt by the water, I opted to go straight to the middle of the river in the hope not to come face to face with any of those fierce and poisonous creatures. Maybe I was a little too lucky that night, not long after I was in the river; I saw a coral snake swimming beside me…

A few minutes later, I noticed a swift moving noise came from my back. I could make up that it was a large and fast moving creature but before I could turn my back, suddenly a huge king cobra bulleted out from my back and bit the coral snake. Almost instantly two snakes entangled together but after a few seconds the king cobra wound around the coral snake and started to devour it from the head.

As for me, I quickly turn my back and ran as fast as I could back home. I really hate to see the king cobra again which was about thrice as long as my little self!

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