Once the squire of a certain village, in the Kāsi country, promised the deity of a banyan tree a sacrifice should his enterprise succeed. When he came back from his journey he slew a number of creatures and took them to the tree. The deity of the tree appeared and admonished the squire, saying that no one could attain deliverance by means of slaughter.
The story was related in answer to a question by some monks, who had noticed that many people when going on a business journey would slay living creatures and offer them to various deities in order that their ventures might be successful. The monks wished to know if such sacrifices were of any good (J.i.169).
The Jātaka is also known as the Pānavadha Jātaka (Feer: JA.1876, p.516).