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J 394
{Sutta: J iii 313|J 394|J 394} {Vaṇṇanā: atta. J 394|atta. J 394}
Vattaka-Jataka (Vaṭṭakajātakaṃ)
translated form Pali into English by
H.T. Francis and R.A. Neil
edited by
E. B. Cowell
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"Oil and butter," etc.

The Master told this while dwelling in Jetavana, concerning a greedy Brother. Finding that he was greedy the Master said to him, "This is not the first time you are greedy: once before through greed in Benares you were not satisfied with carcases of elephants, oxen, horses and men; and in hopes of getting better food you went to the forest;" and so he told an old tale.

Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born as a quail and lived in the forest on rude grass and seeds. At the time there was in Benares a greedy crow who, not content with carcases of elephants and other animals, went to the forest in hopes of better food: eating wild fruits there he saw the Bodhisatta and thinking "This quail is very fat: I fancy he eats sweet food, I will ask °° him of his food and eating it become fat myself," he perched on a bough above the Bodhisatta. The Bodhisatta [313], without being asked, gave him greeting and spoke the first stanza: —

[§_] Oil and butter are your victuals, nuncle; rich your food, I trow: Tell me then what is the reason of your leanness, master crow.

Hearing his words the crow spoke three stanzas: —

[§_] I dwell in midst of many foes, my heart goes pit-a-pat In terror as I seek my food: how can a crow be fat? [§_] Crows spend their lives in fear, their wits for mischief ever keen; The bits they pick are not enough; good quail, that's why I'm lean. [§_] Rude grass and seeds are all your food: there's little richness there: Then tell me why you're fat, good quail, on such a scanty fare.

The Bodhisatta hearing him spoke these stanzas, explaining the reason of his fatness: —

[§_] I have content and easy mind, short distances to go, I live on anything I get, and so I'm fat, good crow. [§_] Content of mind, and happiness with little care of heart, A standard easily attained: that life's the better part.

[314] After the lesson, the Master declared the Truths, and identified the Birth: —At the end of the Truths the Brother was established in the fruition of the First Path: "At that time the crow was the greedy Brother, the quail was myself."

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