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Kaṇavera Jātaka (No.318)

Once the Bodhisatta was born as a robber in a village in Kāsi and became notorious for his banditry. When the people complained of him to the king, the latter had him arrested by the governor of the province and condemned to death. While being led to execution with a wreath of red kaṇavera-flowers on his head, he was seen by Sāmā, the chief courtesan of the city, and she immediately fell in love with him for his comely and striking appearance. Sāmā, sending word to the governor that the robber was her brother, persuaded him, by means of a bribe of one thousand pieces of money, to set him free and send him to her for a little while. Then, using all her guile, she substituted for the robber a youth who was enamoured of her and who had happened to visit her that day. This youth was killed in the place of the robber, who was brought to Sāmā, and she showered on him all her favours. Fearing that when Sāmā grew tired of him she might betray him, the robber went with her one day into the park and, on the pretence of embracing her, squeezed her until she swooned, then taking all her ornaments, made good his escape. Sāmā, all unsuspecting, imagined him to have run away from fear of having killed her by his too violent embraces, and she used all her ingenuity in searching for him, such as bribing some wandering minstrels to sing, wherever they went, a set of stanzas declaring that she was still alive and loved none but him, her lover. One day the robber heard the stanzas and learned from the minstrels that Sāmā still longed for him, but he refused to return, sending her word that he doubted her constancy. In despair, Sāmā returned to her former means of livelihood. J.iii.58‑63.

The occasion for the telling of this story is given in the Indriya Jātaka. The story is referred to in the Sulasā Jātaka (J.iii.436) and in the scholiast to the Kuṇāla Jātaka (J.v.446).

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