- February 10, 2022
Once upon a time the Bodhisatta was born in a certain village of the Magadha kingdom, in a wealthy family. When he grew up, he renounced desires and adopted the religious life, reaching the perfection of meditation. After dwelling long in the Himalaya, he came to Rajagaha for salt and vinegar, and dwelt in a hut of leaves which he made in a mountain enclosure. The goatherds drove their goats there. One day as a single she-goat was going out later than the rest, a panther waited by the door, thinking to eat her. When she saw him, she thought, “My life is forfeit. By some means I must get him into pleasant and kindly talk, and so soften his heart and save my life.” Beginning a friendly talk with him from some distance, she spoke:
How fares it with you, uncle? and is it well with you?
My mother sends her kind regards and I am your friend so true.
Hearing her, the panther thought, “This baggage would beguile me by calling ‘uncle’. she does not know how hard I am;” and so he spoke:
You have trod upon my tail, miss goat, and done me injury.
And you think by saying ‘Uncle’ that you can go scot-free.
When she heard him, she said, “O uncle! don’t talk in that way,” and spoke:
I faced you as I came, good Sir, you face me as you sit.
Your tail is all behind you. how could I tread on it?
He answered, “What do you say, she-goat? Is there any place where my tail might not be?” and so he spoke:
As far as four great continents with seas and mountains spread,
My tail extends; how could you fail on such a tail to tread?
The she-goat, when she heard this, thought, “This wicked one is not attracted by soft words. I will answer him as an enemy,” and so she spoke:
Your villain’s tail is long, I know, for I had warning fair.
Parents and brothers told me so; but I flew through the air.
Then he said, “I know you came through the air: but as you came, you spoiled my food by your way of coming,” and so he spoke:
The sight of you, miss goat, on high, the air a-flying through,
Frightened a herd of deer and so my food was spoiled by you.
Hearing this, the goat in fear of death could bring no other excuse, but cried out, “Uncle! do not commit such cruelty; spare my life.” But though she cried out, the other seized her by the shoulder, killed her and ate her.