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Sūci Jātaka (No.387)

The Bodhisatta was once a very clever smith of Kāsi, but was very poor. The principal royal smith had a beautiful daughter, and the Bodhisatta, wishing to win her, made a delicate needle that could pierce dice and float on water, and for this needle he made seven sheaths. He then went to the village of the head smith, stood outside his house, and sang the praises of his needle. The smith’s daughter, who was fanning her father, spoke to the Bodhisatta and asked him to go elsewhere, as no one in that village would want needles. The Bodhisatta answered that his were no ordinary needles, and the head smith asked him to show them. The Bodhisatta suggested that all the smiths be summoned, and in their presence he gave the needle-tube to the head smith. He thought that it was the needle itself, for he could find no end or tip. The tube was handed back to the Bodhisatta, who took out the first sheath. In this way the seven sheaths were removed, and when the needle was at last revealed he made the needle pierce the anvil and lie on the surface of a vessel of water. The whole assembly was filled with envy and admiration, and the head smith gave his daughter to the Bodhisatta.

The story was related in the same circumstances as the Umaṅga Jātaka(q.v). The smith’s daughter is identified with Rāhulamātā. J.iii.281‑6.

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