Wu Yongtian and Yang Hai had heard that eating the bird would cure their piles and set off to climb a mountain near their home village Zhansheng part of the town of Maqiaohe in the north east province of Heilongjiang.
Spotting a nest Yang took the golden eagle chick and the pair headed down the mountain with their prize. But the men were spotted by the mother who swooped after the thieves, chasing them until they were finally picked up by a farmer and driven to safety.
After keeping the chick for a few days, the men fried and ate the bird, though it failed to cure them of their affliction.
That was in July 2010, and some two years on the men had all but forgotten their mischievous deed. But, it seems, eagles do not forget and earlier this year the vengeful mother eagle once again spotted the pair and launched a ferocious attack according to local media.
The Heilongjiang Morning Post reported that Wu Yongtian needed some 40 stitches to wounds inflicted by the eagle, and has moved away from the town, fearful of further reprisals. His friend Yang was also injured recently and had 12 stitches to wounds on his head, neck and arms.
The attack came when Yang was with other villagers harvesting some wheat. "I was working when I saw a black shadow approaching me," Yang said whilst lying in a hospital bed with his head and arms wrapped in bandages. "I used my elbow to fend off the attack, but the black shadow scratched my elbow, then it started to scratch and peck my head."
Head of the Village Committee Jia Shuzhong said "Yang Hai was so scared and had no place to hide." He attempted to take cover in a haystack but the attacks continued despite efforts of other villagers trying to frighten off the bird.
As the eagle continued to dive bomb Yang other villagers called the police for help. "We came to try and rescue him but the eagle continued to fly around squawking," Jin Yongping, a local policeman said.
Even when the man was bundled into a police car and driven away, the eagle continued to give chase. It even left scratches on the car according to the driver Kong Lingzhi. "This eagle kept chasing us and only stopped when I put the siren on."
As for Yang, the whole episode has left him deeply marked. "My experience has prompted me to persuade everyone to cherish our wild animals and not hurt them," he said after his ordeal. [Heilongjiang TV - Chinese includes video report]
tvnewswatch, London, UK