Monday, February 12, 2007

The Nutty Turtle Collector

So we're hanging out at the pier, as we often are of an evening, and the Nutty Turtle Collector comes along. We've seen him a few times now, and he's clearly bonkers. He bounds up in a battered crash helmet, flashes a wild-eyed and toothless grin, hops down the steps and over the edge into the murky water, and ducks under the pier. There, he wades around in the filthy water with a torch for a while and then emerges triumphantly brandishing a plastic carrier bag full of turtles ranging in size from tiny to maybe 8 inches long, which he proudly displays to us for a few moments before jumping on his bike and puttering away.

We asked him once what the turtles were for. Turns out they're for merit-making, the Buddhist practice of earning karma for the next reincarnation. You can make merit in a variety of ways: offering incense and candles to Buddha; giving food to monks; generally being a nice person... and releasing animals into the wild. That's what these turtles are destined for – they've been plucked from their home by Nutty Turtle Guy, whence they will be carted off to market to sit in a bucket of water until some worthy fellow comes and buys one to release it back into the river from which it came in the first place. I hope the poor turtles get to earn a little Buddhist merit for the inconvenience this process causes them.


At 2:46 pm, Anonymous Dddy said...

Good grief. Truly recycled turtles.

At 9:34 am, Blogger Mother said...

Are you quite sure there is no soup involved here?

At 2:38 am, Blogger Charlotte said...

Quite sure - we can tell the difference between a "soup" mime and a "releasing into the river" mime.


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