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Siri Jātaka (No.284)

The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic and had, as patron, an elephant-trainer. A stick gatherer, sleeping at night in a temple, heard two cocks, roosting on a tree nearby, abusing each other. In the course of the quarrel one cock boasted that whoever ate his flesh would be king; his exterior, commander-in-chief or chief queen; his bones, royal treasurer or king’s chaplain. The man killed the cock and his wife cooked it; then, taking it with them, they went to the river to bathe. They left the meat and the rice on the bank, but, as they bathed, a breeze blew the pot holding the food into the river. It floated down stream, where it was picked up by the elephant trainer. The Bodhisatta saw all this with his divine-eye and visited the trainer at meal time. There he was offered the meat and divided it, giving the flesh to the trainer, the exterior to his wife, and keeping the bones for himself. Three days later the city was besieged by enemies. The king asked the trainer to don royal robes and mount the elephant, while he himself fought in the ranks. There he was killed by an arrow, and the trainer, having won the battle, was made king, his wife being queen, and the ascetic his chaplain.

The story was told in reference to a brahmin who tried to steal Anāthapiṇḍika’s good fortune (siri). He perceived that this lay in a white cock, for which he begged. Anāthapiṇḍika gave it to him, but the good fortune left the cock and settled in a jewel. He asked for that also and was given it. However, the good fortune went into a club. The club was also asked for, and Anāthapiṇḍika giving it, asked the brahmin to take it and be gone. However, the good fortune now settled on Anāthapiṇḍika’s wife. The brahmin then owned defeat, and confessed his intentions to Anāthapiṇḍika, who told the story to the Buddha. J.ii.409 ff; cf. Khadiraṅgāra Jātaka.

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