This story was recorded in the book of Fayuan Zhulin. In the year of Wu-de, during the reign of Tan Gao-zu, there lived a farmer who was by nature a cruel man.
One day, while out checking his fields, he saw his neighbor's bull trampling on his crops. Extremely angered by it, he caught hold of its head, tied the bull's tongue with a rope and pulled hard enough to sever it. The poor animal's mouth was filled with blood; but it could not cry out in pain. The villagers who had gathered around to witness his evil act reprimanded him for being so cruel.
Later, he got married and had three sons who were all born mute. Everyone knew that this was the visible retribution for a cruel and unkind man.