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Nigrodha Jātaka (No.445)

A king, named Magadha, once reigned in Rājagaha. His son married a rich merchant’s daughter, but she, because she was barren, lost favour. Thereupon she pretended to be with child, and when her time drew near, she journeyed to her home with an old nurse who was in the secret. On the way she found a child deserted by its mother, and, greatly rejoicing, she claimed it as her own. The child was the Bodhisatta and was called Nigrodha. His father found for him two companions: Sākha, son of a merchant, and Pottika, son of a tailor.

These three grew up together and were educated in Takkasilā. In the course of their travels, while his companions lay sleeping, Pottika heard a cock say that whoever ate its fat would become king, the flesh of its body commander-in-chief, and the flesh near its bone’s treasurer. Pottika killed the cock, gave to Nigrodha the fat, to Sākha the flesh of the body, while he himself ate the flesh near the bones. Immediately after, men, in search of a successor to the throne of Bārāṇasī chose Nigrodha, while the others accompanied him as commander-in-chief and treasurer. One day Nigrodha, wishing to have his parents near him, sent Pottika to fetch them from Rājagaha. On the way back he called at Sākha’s house, but Sākha, who had a grievance against him for having given the cock’s fat to Nigrodha, insulted him. When Pottika reported this to Nigrodha, he wished to have Sākha killed, but Pottika intervened on his behalf.

The story was related in reference to Devadatta’s ingratitude. Sākha is identified with Devadatta and Pottika with Ānanda. J.iv.37 ff.

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