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Kaṭāhaka Jātaka (No.125)

Once when the Bodhisatta was a rich treasurer in Bārāṇasī a son was born to him. A female slave in the house gave birth to a son on the same day. The boys grew up together, the slave’s son being called Kaṭāhaka. Kaṭāhaka acquired various arts in the company of his master. When he grew up he was appointed as the Treasurer’s private secretary. One day he visited a merchant on the frontier, carrying a letter purporting to be from the Treasurer (in which he was stated to be the son of the latter), asking for the hand of the merchant’s daughter in marriage. The merchant was overjoyed, and the marriage took place. Kaṭāhaka gave himself great airs and spoke contemptuously of everything “provincial.” The Treasurer, discovering what had happened, decided to visit the merchant, but Kaṭāhaka went to meet him on the way, and paying him all the honour due from a slave, begged him not to expose him. Meanwhile, he had misled his wife’s relations into the belief that the homage, paid by him to the Treasurer, was but the regard due from a son to his father. He was not like the sons of other parents, but knew what was due to his father. The Bodhisatta, being pleased, did not expose the slave, but on learning from Kaṭāhaka’s wife that Kaṭāhaka always complained of his food, he taught her a stanza which contained the threat — not intelligible to her, though clear to Kaṭāhaka — that if Kaṭāhaka continued to make a nuisance of himself, the Treasurer would return and expose him. Thenceforth Kaṭāhaka held his peace.

The story was related in reference to a novice who used to boast of his high lineage and the wealth of his family until his pretensions were exposed (J.i.451 ff).

According to the Dhammapada Commentary (DhA.iii.357 ff), the story was told in reference to a novice named Tissa who would complain, no matter what attentions were paid to him.

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