While I was out walking with Rusty last night, I saw a man and his partner, each holding a torchlight. They were seeking out stray cats hiding under bushes and parked cars. Later I spotted him again, crouching next to a cat, smiling contently as he watched the cat feeding on the food he brought.
He suddenly felt self-conscious and lost his smile when he saw me looking. I can understand his wariness. Some people frown upon these cat feeders but not me. I applaud them for their dedication and kindness. I'm an animal lover and I know these cats do not cause any harm or destruction. Being neutered, they will not produce any offsprings and will eventually die in their old age. I learned from young that when strays know their end is near, they will go away quietly and die discreetly. Even in their death, they will not bring inconvenience to anyone.
So when I read about the Korean documentary 'Old Partner', I couldn't help but shed a tear. I am sad for the farmer and his beloved cow. I even feel sorry for his nagging wife.
This is a love triangle of a man, wife and cow. The director wanted to make a documentary about the beauty of simple things. So he chose a farmer who preferred his devoted old cow to any modern tractor.
The documentary chronicles two years in the lives of a hardworking couple as they await the death of the cow which had served them for 40 years.
The old farmer is nearly deaf, has a deformed leg and often had to crawl across his rice fields. The staggering brown cow was no better off. Both struggled and toiled in the fields as if they had a secret pact to keep working together or both will die.
His wife was jealous that he gave the cow more attention, often griping about how he loved the cow more than he loved her. Yet when they knew the end was near, the man, his wife and the cow, they all shed tears. At this point, I had to pause and wipe away my tears. I'm so glad I'm not much of a beef eater.
In one of their last days together, the cow struggled on a trip to collect firewood. The farmer stopped the cart, unloaded some of the wood, strapped them to his back and walked alongside his old partner.
When the cow finally died, even his wife was moved. "May you go to heaven", she said."But why are you leaving before us?"