A prince and his wife, returning after a long journey, were greatly distressed by hunger, and some hunters, seeing them, gave them a roasted lizard. The wife carried it in her hand, hanging it from a creeper. Arriving at a lake, they sat down at the foot of a tree, and while his wife was away fetching water the prince ate the whole lizard. When his wife came back, he told her that the lizard had run away, leaving only the tail in his hand. Later, the prince became king, but his wife, though appointed queen consort, received no real honour. The Bodhisatta, who was the king’s minister, wishing to see justice done to the queen, contrived that the king should be reminded of his ingratitude by allusion being made to the incident of the roast lizard. The king thereupon realised his neglect of his dutiful wife, and conferred on her supreme power.
The story was told in reference to a couple who had been given a roast lizard, when returning from a journey undertaken to collect debts. The husband ate the whole lizard when his wife was away. She said nothing and drank some water to appease her hunger, but when they visited the Buddha, and he asked her if her husband were good and affectionate, she replied in the negative. The Buddha then told her the story of the past. J.iii.106 f; cf. Succaja Jātaka.