Once on a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta came to be a teacher of world wide fame, with five hundred young brahmins studying under him. One of these pupils was a young Brahmin from a foreign land, who fell in love with a woman and made her his wife. Though he continued to live on in Benares, he failed two or three times in his attendance on the master. For, you should know, his wife was a sinful and wicked woman, who was as meek as a slave on days when she had done wrong, but on days when she had not done wrong, played my lady, passionate and tyrannical. Her husband could not make her out at all; and so worried and harassed by her was he that he absented himself from waiting on the Master. Now, some seven or eight days later he renewed his attendances, and was asked by the Bodhisatta why he had not been seen of late.
“Master, my wife is the cause,” said he. And he told the Bodhisatta how she was meek one day like a slave girl, and tyrannical the next; how he could not make her out at all, and how he had been so worried and harassed by her shifting moods that he had stayed away.
“Precisely so, young Brahmin,” said the Bodhisatta; “on days when they have done wrong, women humble themselves before their husbands and become as meek and submissive as a slave girl; but on days when they have not done wrong, then they become stiff necked and insubordinate to their lords. After this manner are women sinful and wicked; and their nature is hard to know. No heed should be paid either to their likes or to their dislikes.” And so saying, the Bodhisatta repeated for the edification of his pupil this Stanza:-
Think’st thou a woman loves thee? Be not glad.
Think’st thou she loves thee not? Forbear to grieve.
Unknowable, uncertain as the path
Of fishes in the water, women prove.
Such was the Bodhisatta’s instruction to his pupil, who thence forward paid no heed to his wife’s caprices. And she, hearing that her misconduct had come to the ears of the Bodhisatta, ceased from that time forward from her naughtiness.