A millionaire (seṭṭhi) of Rājagaha.¹ He was lame and hunch-
For seven generations his ancestors had been generous, but Illisa burnt down the almonry and drove away the poor from his house.
Once, at the sight of a yokel drinking, with a piece of dried fish as a relish, Illisa was sorely tempted to drink himself. For a long time he fought the temptation, but he sickened with longing, and having sent a slave with a single penny to the tavern, he got some toddy; he ordered the slave to put the jar of spirits in a thicket by the riverside so that he might drink unseen.
Meanwhile Illisa’s father, who had been born as Sakka, having learnt, as a result of investigations, that his son had become a miser, came down to earth to wean him from his folly. Assuming in every detail the form of Illisa, he entered the king’s palace and offered all the wealth of Illisa to the king. On the offer being refused, he went to Illisa’s house and gave orders to the servants to throw open all the treasure chambers and give the wealth to the poor. The servants took the disguised Sakka to be Illisa himself, and Illisa’s wife, believing her husband’s sudden generosity to be due to his drunkenness, acquiesced in the instructions.
Among those who profited by this unexpected good fortune was a countryman who had been Illisa’s carriage-
Not even Illisa’s wife and children, not even his barber, could distinguish him from the second Illisa.
Bereft of all hope, Illisa swoons, Sakka reveals himself and tells Illisa that the wealth is really his and not Illisa’s, the latter not having earned it. He urges Illisa to do good and practise generosity, or he would die, smitten by Indra’s thunderbolt.
Illisa, taking heed of the warning, becomes a virtuous man (J.i.349 ﬀ).
¹ At the opening of the story the king of Bārāṇasī is mentioned, but it is to Rājagaha that Sakka comes (see p.350), so Rājagaha was evidently Illisa’s residence.