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The Jataka, Vol. V, tr. by H.T. Francis, [1905], at

p. ix



A priest who took bribes and gave false judgments is reborn to a state of suffering all day, but because he had kept half a fast-day, he enjoys great glory throughout the night. His king, who had become an ascetic, is transported by a river-nymph to the mango grove where the priest was reborn and hears the story of his alternate misery and bliss.


How a forester accidentally discovered strong drink and how this led to the ruin of all India, until Sakka appeared on earth and by his exposition of the evils of drink induced a certain king to abstain from its use.


A female yakkha carries off a royal infant and rears him as her own offspring, teaching him to eat human flesh. In course of time the man-eater captures his royal brother, but sets him free on the condition that he should return as soon as he had redeemed his promise to a brahmin. The king's son surrenders himself as a victim in his father's stead, and the man-eater, who is now recognised as the king's brother, is converted and becomes an ascetic.


A royal elephant had two wives. One of them, owing to an imaginary slight, conceives a grudge against her lord, and afterwards, when she is reborn as the favourite wife of a certain king, she pretends to be sick, and to have seen in a dream an elephant with six tusks; and in order to recover from her sickness, she declares the possession of its tusks must be secured for her. A bold hunter, after crossing vast mountain ranges and encountering many difficulties and dangers, at length finds and slays the elephant, but the queen on receiving the tusks and hearing of the elephant's death is filled with remorse and dies of a broken heart.

p. x


A king, anxious for a definition of goodness and truth, sends his brahmin chaplain to consult all the sages of India, and finally obtains the solution of his doubts from a boy only seven years old.


A husbandman, in looking for his strayed oxen, loses himself in a forest, and falling into a deep pit is rescued by a monkey. The man makes an attempt upon the life of his benefactor, and for his ingratitude is smitten with leprosy.



An ascetic worms out from a snake-king the secret wherein his strength lies and betrays him to his enemy, the garuḍa-king. The garuḍa by means of this secret vanquishes the snake, but through pity sets him free. The snake invokes a curse on the ascetic, who is swallowed up by the earth to be reborn in hell.


A prince is struck with leprosy and retires into a lonely forest, accompanied by his devoted wife, who carefully watches over him. She is rescued by Sakka from an ogre, and though she is suspected by her husband, yet by her virtue and faith she recovers him of his leprosy. He returns to rule over his kingdom but shows no gratitude to his wife, until at the reproof of his father he asks her forgiveness and restores her to her rightful position.


An unrighteous king is reproved by a tree-sprite, and, as he travels with his chaplain on a tour of inspection through his dominions, many instances of the evil effects of his unjust rule are brought to his notice. Thenceforth the king rules his kingdom righteously.


A king finds a nest containing three eggs. When the young birds are hatched from them the king adopts them as his children. They all give him sound advice in the ruling of his kingdom and are promoted to high office in the state.


An archer displays wonderful feats of skill in shooting. He declines the honours offered him by his king and retires to a forest hermitage. Here he gathers around him a great company of disciples, solves the doubts of three kings as to the fate of certain notorious sinners, and converts them and a host of their followers to the ascetic life.

p. XI


An ascetic by his great holiness excites the jealousy of Sakka, who sends down a heavenly nymph to seduce him. After a temporary lapse, the saint recovers his virtue and attains to a state of ecstasy.


After a life of holiness a certain king is reborn in the Nāga world. Growing weary of his state of glory he returns as a snake to earth, and would have perished at the hands of a band of ruffians, had he not been rescued by a rich householder travelling that way with a large retinue. The Nāga king invites his benefactor to his heavenly mansion and keeps him there in great honour for a whole year, when he too wishes to leave the Nāga world, to become an ascetic upon earth. By a recital of all that had happened to him and the Nāga king, he converts the ruler of the land to a life of charity and good works.


A king is so affected by the discovery of a grey hair on his head that he resigns his crown and resolves to become an ascetic. In spite of the entreaties of his parents, wife, children, and friends, he persists in his resolution and together with his family and a great number of his subjects enters on the religious life.


Sakka, jealous of a holy ascetic, appears to the king of the country and declares that the drought from which the land was suffering was due to the action of this ascetic, and that the only way to remedy this evil was to overcome his virtue. To this end the king's daughter visits him, disguised as an ascetic youth, and owing to his simplicity his fall is brought about. When his father returns, he cautions his son against the wiles of womankind and brings about his restoration to his former state of holiness.


A king is bewitched by the wife of his commander-in-chief. This officer by a ruse makes the king believe that his guilty secret is generally known, and by his wise counsel persuades him to give up his infatuation.


An ascetic finds favour with a king and is preferred to high honour, thereby exciting the envy of the king's councillors, who slander him to the king and lay a plot to kill him. He is saved by a warning from a dog. Afterwards the ascetic convicts the four wicked councillors of various heresies and brings about their disgrace and exile.

p. xii

529. SONAKA-JĀTAKA    127

A king after many years is anxious to see again a friend of his early youth who had become a paccekabuddha, and in the form of a song he offers a reward to anyone that can tell him where he is to be found. His friend teaches a little boy a refrain to the song which he is to sing before the king and to claim the promised reward. So the king finds his friend, and owing to his instruction he abdicates in favour of his son and adopts the religious life.


A prince who was eager to succeed to the throne proposes to murder his father. His friend, unable to dissuade him from his purpose, retires from the court and becomes an ascetic. The prince after the murder of his father is filled with guilty fears. His friend at length returns and, after describing all the various hells and the punishments of notorious sinners, by his admonition restores the king's peace of mind.

531. KUSA-JĀTAKA    141

A certain king has no heir, but at length, by the favour of Sakka, his chief queen miraculously gives birth to two sons. The elder is ill-favoured but supernaturally wise. He only consents to marry when a princess is found exactly like a golden image which he himself had fashioned. The bride is not to look upon her husband's face by daylight till she has conceived. When she accidentally discovers how ugly he is, she leaves him and returns to her father's kingdom. He follows her there and under a variety of menial disguises tries, but in vain, to win her affections. At length by Sakka's device she incurs the enmity of seven kings and is rescued from imminent death by her despised husband. He returns with her to his own country where they live happily ever after.


Two brahmin brothers become ascetics and watch over their aged parents. The younger one persists in supplying them with unripe fruits, and at length is sent away by the elder brother. The younger one by the help of a powerful king, whom he had made victorious over all his rivals, regains his brother's favour and is allowed once more to minister to his father and mother.


A king of wild geese is caught in a fowler's snare and deserted by all except his chief captain, who refuses to leave him. The fowler is so touched by this devotion that he would have released the captive bird, but they insist on being taken before the king of the country, and after preaching the Law to him the two birds are set at liberty and return home to their kith and kin.

p. xiii


A queen has a dream about golden geese and entreats the king to bring her one. The king has a decoy lake constructed and his fowler at length captures the king of the geese. The rest of the story is like the Cullahaṁsa-Jātaka.


A rich miser is seized with a great longing to have some rice porridge, and to escape having to give some to any one else he retires into a forest to cook it for himself. Sakka and other gods appear and claim a share of the porridge. The miser is converted by their admonitions, gives away all his money, and becomes an ascetic. He is afterwards called upon to award the prize of virtue to the best of four heavenly nymphs, the daughters of Sakka. He adjudges the prize to Honour, and on his rebirth in the deva world he is rewarded with the hand of this nymph and enjoys immense power.

536. KUṆĀLA-JĀTAKA    219

A king of birds for the instruction of his friend, a royal cuckoo, relates many instances he had known, to illustrate the deceitfulness, ingratitude, and immorality of womenkind.


A king, who had been a yakkha in a former birth, develops a taste for human flesh and has his subjects murdered to supply himself with his favourite food. When his guilt is brought home to him, he refuses to give up his cannibalism and is driven out of his kingdom. He now dwells in a forest and preys upon all travellers that pass that way. At length he captures a king who had been his friend and teacher in early youth, but releases him on the condition that he should return after he has fulfilled a promise that he has made to a brahmin. The king returns into captivity, and the man-eater is so pleased with his good faith that he offers to grant him any four boons that he may ask of him. When asked to give up cannibalism he reluctantly consents and is eventually restored to his kingdom.

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