Tittha Jataka

Once on a time Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares. In those days the Bodhisatta used to be the king’s director in things temporal and spiritual.

            At this time folk hand washed another horse, a sorry beast, at the bathing place of the king’s state – charger. And when the groom was for leading the state – charger down in to the same water, the animal was so affronted that he would not go in. So the groom went off to the king and said, “Please your Majesty, your state – charger won’t take his bath.”

            Then the king sent the Bodhisatta, saying, “Do you go, sage, and find out why the animal will not go into the water when they lead him down.” “Very good, sire,” said the Bodhisatta, and went his way to the waterside. Here he examined the horse; and finding it was not ailing in any way, he tried to divine what the reason could be. At last he came to the conclusion that some other horse must have been washed at that place, and that the charger had taken such umbrage thereat that he would not go into the water. So he asked the grooms what animal they had washed first in the water. “Another horse, my lord, an ordinary animal.” “Ah, it’s his self – love that has been offended so deeply that he will not go into the water,” said the Bodhisatta to himself; “the thing to do is to wash him elsewhere.” So he said to the groom, “A man will tire, my friend, of even the daintiest fare, if he has it always. And that’s how it is with this horse. He has been washed here times without number. Take him to other waters [185] and there bathe and water him.” And so saying, he repeated this stanza:-

                        Change thou the spot, and let the charger drink

                        Now here, now there, with constant change of scene.

                        For even milk – rice cloys a man last.

After listening to his words, they led the horse off elsewhere, and there watered and bathed him all – right. And while they were washing the animal down after watering him, the Bodhisatta went back to the king. “Well,” said the king; “has my horse taken his drink and bath, my friend?” “He has, sire.” “Why would he not do so at first?” “For the following reason,” said the Bodhisatta, and told the king the whole story. “What a clever fellow he is,” said the king; “he can read the mind even of an animal like this.” And he gave great honour to the Bodhisatta, and when his life closed passed away to fare according to his deserts. The Bodhisatta also passed away to fare likewise according to his deserts.

 

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