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Mahā-Assāroha Jātaka (No.302)

The Bodhisatta was once king of Bārāṇasī, and having been defeated in some frontier disturbance, he fled on his horse until he reached a certain village. At the sight of him all the people disappeared except one man, who made enquiries, and, on finding that he was no rebel, took him home and entertained him with great honour, looking after his horse well. When the king left, he told the man that his name was Mahā-Assāroha, and asked him to visit his home if ever he should be in the city. On reaching the city himself, he gave orders to the gate-keepers that if anyone should come enquiring for Mahā-Assāroha, he should be brought at once to the palace. Time passed and the man failed to appear. The king, therefore, constantly increased the taxes of the village, until the villagers asked their neighbour to visit his friend Mahā-Assāroha and try to obtain some relief. So he prepared presents for Mahā-Assāroha and his wife, and taking a cake baked in his own house he set forth. Arrived at the city gates, he was conducted by the gate-keeper to the palace. There the king accepted his presents, showed him all the honours due to a king, and, in the end, gave him half of his kingdom. When the ministers complained, through the medium of the king’s son, that a mere villager had been exalted to the rank of king, the Bodhisatta explained that real friends who help one in time of adversity should be paid every honour.

The story was related in reference to the good offices of Ānanda, who is identified with the villager. J.iii.8‑13.

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