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"Thou didst (what was) right". This the Master related, while living at Jetavana, concerning the priest Láḷudáyi. He, forsooth, was not able, among two or three persons, to succeed in uttering a single word. Being of a very timid mind, when thinking: I will say one thing, he said another. Talking about this disposition of his, p. 32 the monks sat down in the Hall of Dhamma. The Master having arrived, asked: what do you now sit here talking about? and when they answered: truly about this, he (said): not (only) now, o monks, Láḷudáyi is of a very timid mind, (but) also formerly (he was) of a very timid mind, (and) thus having said he related a tale:
In (times) past, while Brahmadatta reigned in Báráṇasí, Bodhisatta, having been born in a bráhmaṇa-family in the kingdom of Kásí, (and) after reaching the age of maturity, having acquired (all sorts of) accomplishments in Takkasilá, returned to (his) home, and (here) learning his parents' poverty, in order to relieve (his) distressed family, having asked leave of (his) parents, he went to Báráṇasí and served the king. He became dear (and) pleasing to the king.
p. 33
Then (it happened that) while his father got (his) living by ploughing with two oxen, one of them died. He went to Bodhisatta and said: "(my) dear (son), one ox (of mine) is dead, the work of ploughing does not proceed, ask the king for an ox". "(My) dear (father), not long ago the king (was) seen by me, now to ask for oxen (would) not (be) proper, do you ask" "(My) dear (son), you know not my timidity, forsooth I in the presence of two or three am not able to succeed (in my) speech, if I go into the presence of the king to ask for an (other) ox, I shall return after having given (him) the one (remaining)". "(My) dear (father), be it as it may, I cannot ask the king, but on the other hand, I will make you fit (for it)". " Well then, make me fit".
p. 34
Bodhisatta took (his) father, went to a cemetery choked with bíraṇa-grass, and having bound here and there (some) bundles of grass, gave them names, saying: this is the king, this the vice-king, (and) this the general, (whereupon) he showed them to (his) father successively, saying: "(my) dear (father), when thou hast gone to the presence of the king and said: (may) the great king be victorious, you shall ask for an ox by reciting this stanza," (and) so he taught him the (following) stanza:
"I (used to) have two oxen, O great king,
by means of which we plough the field;
of them one is dead, O Sire,
give (me) another, O khattiya!"
The bráhmaṇa having for a year made this stanza familiar to himself, he said to Bodhisatta: "(My) dear Somadatta, the stanza is familiar to me, now I am able to recite it in the presence of any one, lead me to the presence of the king."
He saying: well, (my) dear (father), and having caused (him) to take (with him) a suitable present, led (his) father to the presence of the king. The bráhmaṇa having said: (may) the great king be victorious, offered the present. The king said: "Somadatta, what is this bráhmaṇa to thee?" "(He is) my father, O great king." "For what purpose bas he come?" At this moment the bráhmaṇa, in order to ask for the ox, reciting the stanza said:
"I (used to) have two oxen, O great king,
by means of which we plough the field;
of them one is dead, O Sire,
take the other, O khattiya!"
The king understanding that the bráhmaṇa had repeated (it) wrongly, smiled and said: "Somadatta, in your house I suppose p. 35 (there are) many oxen." "Great king, they must have been given by you (then)." The king being pleased with Bodhisatta ('s answer) gave the bráhmaṇa sixteen oxen, (several) ornamental articles and a village for his clothing, as a bráhmaṇa-present, and sent him away with great honor. The bráhmaṇa having mounted a carriage drawn by entirely-white Sindhu-horses, went with a great retinue to the village.
Bodhisatta sitting down together with his father in the carriage (said) on the way: "(my) dear (father), for a whole year I made you apt, but at the moment of your being accomplished, you gave the ox to the king," (and) having said so he recited the first stanza:
"Steadily attentive, thou didst (what was) right,
for a year in (the cemetery) full of bíraṇa-grass,
(but) alteredst the chief word, when thou enteredst the assemblage;
no training protects the (man) with little brains."
Whereupon the bráhmaṇa, having heard his words, recited the second stanza:
"He who asks (for anything), dear Somadatta,
runs a double (risk):
(viz.) loss and the acquirement of wealth,
for such is the nature of asking."
The Master having given this moral instruction, summed up the Játaka thus: "At that time Somadatta's father was Láḷudáyi, and Somadatta I. The Somadatta-Birth.