I Used to Think Like You

我以前跟你一样

Special Focus - - Contents - Huang Chaopeng黄超鹏

The ex­e­cu­tioner is a spe­cial­ist at car­ry­ing out the King’s death sen­tences, a pro­fes­sional at putting crim­i­nals to death. A qual­i­fied ex­e­cu­tioner needs to go through many years of rig­or­ous train­ing, learn­ing how to ex­e­cute in one fowl swoop, with­out mud­dling up the job. One such skilled heads­man was Zhang San.

One day, a con­vict guilty of ter­ri­ble crimes was sen­tenced to cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. The pun­ish­ment was to be car­ried out by an ex­e­cu­tioner with a be­head­ing. The guilty party was pulled up to the chop­ping block. He was fright­ened to end­less sob­bing, beg­ging Zhang San for mercy, “I’m scared to die, please don’t kill me.”

Zhang San, look­ing at him blankly, non­cha­lantly replied, “What’s so scary about a lit­tle be­head­ing? Don’t worry about it, my knife is sharp and quick, one lit­tle ‘ chop- chop’ and it’ll all be over. With a roll of the head, you’ll be a good guy in the next life.”

The crim­i­nal was shak­ing all over and kept plead­ing. Zhang San, weary of all the squab­bling, let the knife sweep, and all went quiet.

A few days later, Zhang San had up­set the king some­how. In a rage the king or­dered Zhang San’s de­cap­i­ta­tion. Upon ar­rival to the ex­e­cu­tion grounds, Zhan San, started bawl­ing deaf­en­ingly, stamp­ing his feet and beat­ing his chest. The ex­e­cu­tioner car­ry­ing out the sen­tence was a good friend of his. The heads­man looked at him kind of puz­zled and said, “What’s so scary about a lit­tle be­head­ing? Don’t worry about it, my knife is sharp and quick, one lit­tle ‘ chop- chop’ and it’ll all be over. With a roll of the head, you’ll be a good guy in the next life.”

Zhang San, upon hear­ing this, wept even more bit­terly, say­ing, “It’s easy for you to say, I used to think just like you. And who knew? Now I’ve switched places, with my neck on the block, I have no way to calm down.” u

(From SpeechandElo­quence , Fe­bru­ary 2018. Trans­la­tion: Sam Bow­den)

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