“Once upon a time in ancient China, the people at a village received orders from the regional governor to build a shrine for the emperor. If they could meet the deadline, the governor would reward them handsomely. The chosen location for the shrine had a well, so they needed to fill it up before construction could take place. They brought in a donkey to transport piles of sand and mud for that purpose. An accident occurred. The donkey got too close to the exposed well, lost his footing, and fell into it. The villagers tried to lift him out but could not. After many failed attempts, they realized it would take too long to rescue him.
Keeping the deadline in mind, the villagers decided to sacrifice the donkey. They proceeded to shovel sand and mud into the well, thinking they had no choice but to bury him alive. When the donkey realized what they were doing, he began to wail pitifully. The villagers heard him but ignored him. The value of the donkey wasn’t much compared to the rewards they would get, so they continued to shovel.
After a while, the wailing stopped. The villagers wondered about this. Was the donkey dead already? Or did he just give up? What was going on?