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

No. 286.


[419] "Envy not what Celery eats" etc.--This story the Master told in Jetavana, about the temptation springing from a fat girl. The circumstances will be explained in the Cullanāradakassapa 2 story. So the Master asked this brother whether it was true he had fallen in love. Yes, he said. "With whom?" the Master asked. "With a fat girl." "That woman, brother," said the Master, "is your bane; long ago, as now, you became food for the crowd through your desire to marry her." Then at the request of the brethren he told an old-world tale.


Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta reigned in Benares, the Bodhisatta was an ox named Big Redcoat, and he had a young brother called Little Redcoat. Both of them worked for a family in some village.

p. 286

There was in this family a grown-up girl, who was asked in marriage by another family. Now in the first family a pig called Sālūka or Celery 1, was being fatted, on purpose to serve for a feast on the wedding-day; it used to sleep in a sty 2.

One day, Little Redcoat said to his brother, "Brother, we work for this family, and we help them to get their living. Yet they only give us grass and straw, while they feed you pig with rice porridge, and let it sleep in a sty; and what can it do for them?"

"Brother," said Big Redcoat, "don't covet his porridge. They want to make a feast of him on our young lady's wedding-day, that's why they are fattening him up. Wait a few days, and you'll see him dragged out of his sty, killed, chopped into bits, and eaten up by the visitors." So saying, he composed the first two stanzas: [420]

"Envy not what Celery eats;
Deadly is the food he gets.
Be content and eat your chaff:
It means long life on your behalf.

"By and bye the guest will come,
With his gossips all and some.
All chopt up poor Celery
With his big flat snout will lie."

A few days after, the wedding guests came, and Sālūka was killed and made a meal of. Both oxen, seeing what became of him, thought their own chaff was the best.


The Master, in his perfect wisdom, repeated the third stanza by way of explanation:

"When they saw the flat-snout lie
All chopt up, poor Celery,
Said the oxen, Best by half
Surely is our humble chaff!"

When the Master had finished this discourse, he declared the Truths, and identified the Birth:--at the conclusion of the Truths, the Brother in question attained the fruition of the First Path:--"At that time, the stout girl was the same, the lovesick brother was Sālūka, Ānanda was Little Redcoat, and I was Big Redcoat myself." '


285:1 Compare No. 30, Vol. i. p. 75, and No. 477; parallels are quoted by Benfey, Pañcatantra pref. pp. 228, 229. Æsop's fable of the Calf and the Ox will occur to the reader. See also Rhys Davids' note to his translation of No, 30.

285:2 No. 477.

286:1 Lit. edible lotus root.

286:2 Heṭṭhamañca, 'perhaps the platform outside the house under the eaves, a favourite resort.' Cp. Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories, p. 277.

Next: No. 287. Lābha-Garaha-Jātaka