Legend of the Immortal and the Golden Cow

Zheng Jian, Contributor, Dora Li, Contributing Translator

This story happened during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. One day, an old farmer hurriedly walked along a road, guiding a cow with golden fur. Soon, he arrived at the riverbank. He noticed a small boat in the river where a fisherman was putting his oar into the water and getting ready to disembark.

The old farmer shouted to the fisherman, “Hello there! I wish to cross the river in your boat!”

The fisherman replied reluctantly, “My boat is too small to carry your cow.”

The old farmer said, “Don’t worry that my cow is too heavy. I guarantee that your boat will not sink!”

The fisherman was a kind person, and so he invited the old farmer to get on the boat with his cow.
Sure enough, the boat was very stable and did not sink.

The golden cow stood quietly as the boat crossed the river. However, just as the boat reached the middle of the river, the cow started to empty its bowels, and didn't stop. The fisherman frowned upon seeing this. But the farmer acted as though nothing was happening. Instead, he smiled, pointed to the pile of cow dung and said, “I have no money, but I am giving you this!”

When the boat arrived at the other side of the river, the old farmer and his cow got off. The fisherman started to clean his boat. He angrily shoveled up the cow dung and threw it into the river.

By the time he had nearly finished shoveling all of it into the river, he noticed that the small pile of dung left in the boat was not dung at all. Instead it had turned into a pile of shining gold! The fisherman was shocked and realized that old farmer must be an immortal. He immediately jumped off the boat and ran after him and his cow.

As he chased after them, he saw the farmer and the golden cow enter a small crevice in the mountain and disappear. The fisherman searched everywhere, looking for the crevice they had entered, but could find nothing. He even dug along the side of the mountain with his shovel, but in vain.

People later called this place Golden Cow Hill. It still exists, and when tourists visit it they learn the “Legend of the Immortal and the Golden Cow.” The story suggests that we are like the fisherman, unaware of who we might meet and get the opportunity to help in our boring, everyday lives. Will we have the fisherman’s selfless heart when an important moment comes? If so, Heaven might just reward us in unexpected ways!


A legendary story.
So inspiring are all stories. Humility,
innocence , wisdom and pure love
are qualities from within. Children when still young and innocent will gain a lot from such inspiring stories. The stories have an impact and will be imbibed by most who are sensitive to NATURE and all forms of life.
Thank you for sharing.

shashi raj March 25, 2021

Thank you for sharing it with us.
Where is the link of the Chinese version?

( your stories will make most wonderful books for kids growing up here (U.S.A) with Chinese heritage.)

we must all be kind and if we can help someone, why not?

Ting ting Li March 23, 2021

we should always help with a compassionate heart.

Dr.Amwrdev Singh March 16, 2021

It’s inspirational. Should have a section, like Epoch Times “SHARE” with others.

Lena Ko March 16, 2021

Sometimes I think I gets annoyed like the fisherman when things go wrong or not the way I want. But it’s true, later always comes with new look. Like it was said, things are never the way what they seem for the first sight. Let’s stay calm to watch what will come till the end.
Cheers all.

Thiên Hà March 16, 2021

Wonderful to read this story

Suktsing March 16, 2021

I see that the fisherman was kind and had compassion for the old man and his cow and even when the cow relieved itself the fisherman showed forbearance and was patient it was like a test and then the truth about his doing what was right was revealed by a reward. It’s good to be kind.

David Sutton March 16, 2021

Where is the link of the Chinese version?

huapage March 16, 2021

I like this story, and many others you put up on your web site. They are all very educational and inspiring, especially for young Chinese kids growing up in the U.S. I don’t know if anyone has ever thought about publishing these fabulous stories in a book or even a series of books. If not, I would strongly suggest so. It is a big market too, and I will the first one to buy without hesitation, as they serve as great gifts for my kids and grand kids. In fact, I have been looking through Amazon for kid’s favorite stores, fables or fairy tales. They have some, but your stories will make most wonderful books for kids growing up here (U.S.) with Chinese heritage.

Cliff Chen March 16, 2021

I learn a lot from the story to be humble and helpful very inspiring story.

Davida Magadia Lopez March 16, 2021

What a lovely story. It shows you how to reflect the goodness that life has to offer us everyday. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Michael J. Alonge March 16, 2021

What a wonderful story.

Paula March 12, 2021

What a fortune to even read this story. 🧡

Şendağ March 12, 2021

This story enables you to stop and reflect what goes on around us every day.
Thank you for sharing this amazing story.

Sally March 11, 2021

I loved this legend. It’s very inspiring 💖💖💖.

Raqui Beuviere March 11, 2021

Thank you for once again reminding me and others that we must all be kind and if we can help someone, why not?

Doris March 11, 2021

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published