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KURUNGA-MIGA JĀTAKA ~ The Wily Antelope

Once upon a time, when Brahma-datta was reigning in Benares, the Bodisat became A KURUNGA ANTELOPE and lived in his forest home, feeding on fruits. And at one time he was eating the Sepaṇṇi fruit on a heavily-laden Sepaṇṇi tree.

Now, a deerstalker of that village used to note the tracks of the deer at the foot of the fruit-trees, build himself a platform on the tree above, and seating himself there, wound with a javelin the deer who came to eat the fruit, and make a living by selling their flesh.

On seeing, one day, the foot-marks of the Bodisat at the foot of the Sepaṇṇi-tree, he made himself a platform upon it, and having breakfasted early, he took his javelin with him, went to the wood, climbed up the tree, and took his seat on the platform.

The Bodisat, too, left his lair early in the morning, and came up to eat the Sepaṇṇi-fruits; but without going too hastily to the foot of the tree, he thought to himself, “Those platform-hunters sometimes make their platforms on the trees. I wonder can there be any danger of that kind.” And he stopped at a distance to reconnoitre.

But the hunter, when he saw that the Bodisat was not coming on, kept himself quiet, and threw down fruit so that it fell in front of him.

The Bodisat said to himself, “Why, these fruits are coming this way, and falling before me. There must be a hunter up there!” And looking up again and again, he discerned the hunter. Then pretending not to have seen him, he called out, “Hallo, O tree! You have been wont to let your fruit fall straight down, as if you were putting forth a hanging root: but to-day you have given up your tree-nature. So as you have surrendered the characteristics of tree-nature, I shall go and seek my food at the foot of some other tree.” So saying, he uttered this stanza:

“The Kurunga knows full well, Sepaṇṇi,
What kind of fruit you thus throw down.
Elsewhere I shall betake myself:
Your fruit, my friend, belikes me not.”

 

Then the hunter, seated as he was on the platform, hurled his javelin at him, calling out, “Away with you! I’ve lost you this time!”

The Bodisat turned round, and stopped to cry out, “I tell you, O man, however much you may have lost me this time, the eight Great Hells and the sixteen Ussada Hells, and fivefold bondage and torment—the result of your conduct—these you have not lost!” And so saying, he escaped whither he desired. And the hunter, too, got down, and went whithersoever he pleased.

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