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Sālittaka Jātaka (No.107)

The king of Bārāṇasī once had a very talkative chaplain. Outside the city gate was a cripple, who lived under a banyan tree, so clever that he could cut the leaves of the tree into various shapes by throwing stones at them. The king, seeing him, engaged his services to cure his chaplain. The cripple obtained a peashooter filled with dry goat’s dung, and, sitting behind a curtain with a hole in it, he shot pellets of dung into the mouth of the chaplain as he talked away ceaselessly. When half a peck had thus been shot, the king revealed the plot to the chaplain and advised an emetic. The chaplain realised his folly and did not offend again. The cripple was given four villages, bringing in four thousand a year.

The story was told in reference to a novice on the banks of the Aciravatī who, challenged by his companions, shot a pebble through the eye of a swan in flight, the pebble emerging through the other eye.

The novice is identified with the cripple and Ānanda, with the king. The Bodhisatta was one of the king’s courtiers. See also Sunetta (3). J.i.418 f; cf. DhA.ii.69 f; Pv.iv.16; PvA.282 f.

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