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

p. 47

No. 173.


[68] "Father, see! a poor old fellow," etc.--This story the Master told whilst staying in Jetavana, about a rogue.--The circumstances will be explained in the Uddāla Birth 1, Book xiv. Here too the Master said, "Brethren, not this once only has the fellow turned out a rogue; in days of yore, when he was a monkey, he played tricks for the sake of a fire." And he told a tale of days long gone by.


Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born in a brahmin family in a village of Kāsi.. When he came of years, he received his education at Takkasilā, and settled down in life.

His lady in time bore him a son; and when the child could just run to and fro, she died. The husband performed her obsequies, and then, said he, "What is home to me now? I and my son will live the life of hermits." Leaving his friends and kindred in tears, he took the lad to the Himalaya, became a religious anchorite, and lived on the fruits and roots which the forest yielded.

On a day during the rainy season, when there had been a downpour, he kindled some sticks, and lay down on a pallet, warming himself at the fire. And his son sat beside him chafing his feet.

Now a wild Monkey, miserable with cold, spied the fire in the leaf-hut of our hermit. "Now," thought he, "suppose I go in: they'll cry out Monkey! Monkey! and beat me back: I shan't get a chance of warming myself.--I have it!" he cried. "I'll get an ascetic's dress, and get inside by a trick!" So he put on the bark dress of a dead ascetic, lifted his basket and crooked stick, and took his stand by the hut door, where he crouched down beside a palm tree. The lad saw him, and cried to his father (not knowing he was a monkey) "Here's an old hermit, sure enough, miserably cold, come to warm himself at the fire." [69] Then he addressed his father in the words of the first stanza, begging him to let the poor fellow in to warm himself:

"Father, see! a poor old fellow huddled by a palmtree there!
Here we have a hut to live in; let us give the man a share."

p. 48

When the Bodhisatta heard this, up he got and went to the door But when he saw the creature was only a monkey, he said, "My son, men have no such face as that; ’tis a monkey, and he must not be asked in here." Then he repeated the second stanza:

"He would but defile our dwelling if he came inside the door;
Such a face--’tis easy telling--no good brahmin ever bore."

The Bodhisatta seized a brand, crying--"What do you want there?"--threw it at him, and drove him away. Mr Monkey dropt his bark garments, sprang up a tree, and buried himself in the forest.

Then the Bodhisatta cultivated the Four Excellences until he came unto Brahma's heaven.


When the Master had ended this discourse, he identified the Birth: "This tricky Brother was the Monkey of those days; Rāhula 1 was the hermit's son, and I myself was the hermit." '


47:1 No. 487.

Next: No. 174. Dūbhiya-Makkaṭa-Jātaka