Sacred Texts  Buddhism  Index  Previous  Next 

The Jataka, Vol. II, tr. by W.H.D. Rouse, [1895], at

p. 126

No. 217.


"All the world's on pleasure bent," etc.--This story the Master told, while dwelling at Jetavana, about a greengrocer who was a lay-brother.

The circumstances have been already given in the First Book 1. Here again the Master asked him where he had been so long; and he replied, "My daughter, Sir, is always smiling. After testing her, I gave her in marriage to a young gentleman. As this had to be done, I had no opportunity of paying you a visit." To this the Master answered, "Not now only is your daughter virtuous, but virtuous she was in days of yore; and as you have tested her now, so you tested her in those days." And at the man's request he told an old-world tale.


Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta was a tree-spirit.

This same pious greengrocer took it into his head to test his daughter. He led her into the woods, [180] and seized her by the hand, making as though he had conceived a passion for her. And as she cried out in woe, he addressed her in the words of the first stanza:--

"All the world's on pleasure bent;
Ah, my baby innocent!
Now I've caught you, pray don't cry;
As the town does, so do I."

When she heard it, she answered, "Dear Father, I ant a maid, and I know not the ways of sin:" and weeping she uttered the second stanza:--

"He that should keep me safe from all distress,
The same betrays me in my loneliness;
My father, who should be my sure defence,
Here in the forest offers violence."

And the greengrocer, after testing his daughter thus, took her home, and gave her in marriage to a young man. Afterwards he passed away according to his deeds.


When the Master had ended this discourse, he declared the Truths and identified the Birth:--at the end of the Truths the greengrocer entered on the Fruit of the First Path:--"In those days, father and daughter were the snore as now, and the tree-spirit that saw it all was I myself."


126:1 No. 102, Paṇṇika-Jātaka, where recurs the second stanza.

Next: No. 218. Kūṭa-Vāṇija-Jātaka