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Babbu Jātaka (No.137)

There was once a rich merchant of Kāsi who amassed four hundred million in gold. His wife died and, because of her love of money, was reborn as a mouse dwelling over the family treasure. In due course the rest of the family died and the village was deserted. The Bodhisatta was a stone-cutter, working a quarry near the mouse’s residence. She, liking him, brought him one day a coin, suggesting that, with a part of it, he should buy her some meat. The Bodhisatta agreed, and this continued for some time. One day the mouse was caught by a cat, but she obtained her release by promising him some of her food. She was later caught by three other cats, but was let free on the same terms. The mouse thus had only one fifth of her food and grew very thin. The Bodhisatta noticed this, and when she told him the reason, he put her inside a crystal box and suggested that when the cats came she should refuse to have anything to do with them. The first cat arrived and, on being reviled by the mouse, jumped on the crystal box and was crushed to death. The same fate overtook the other cats. The mouse thus became free, and in gratitude to the Bodhisatta, showed him all the treasure.

The story was told in reference to Kāṇā (q.v.), who lost her husband owing to four monks. The monks were the cats and Kāṇā the mouse. J.i.477‑80.

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