Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C. B. Varma Introduction | Glossary | Bibliography

024 – The Story of a Rooster

The rooster on the tree and the cat proposing marriage, Bharhut

Once, the Bodhisatta was born as a rooster and lived in a forest with several hundred kinsmen. In the same forest there lived a wily cat. She had caught and killed many roosters. As the Bodhisatta had foiled all her manouverings to be caught, she decided to take a fresh course of action to catch him. So, one day she came and stopped near a bush, where the Bodhisatta was sitting. She tried to cajole him by praising his look and other features. Finally, she proposed to woo him and remain his faithful wife. So, she mewed,

You have the nice flashy wings, and a graceful crest
Accept me as your wife; I shall serve you the best
So leave the bough and come to me
Enjoy life and be care-free.

The rooster said,

O Cat! You have four feet and I have two
So, Look for other mortal to woo.
Beasts and birds cannot be one;
Try your luck elsewhere as you are winsome.

The cat again repeated her request with the hope that the rooster would be beguiled and come down to him to be an easy prey. But the rooster spoke in dry and candid words,

You have drunk my kin’s blood; and
Destroyed and killed them mercilessly.
Now you propose to be my ‘honoured wife’
When you have no kindness for me.

Having been rejected, the cat never ever dared to meet her eyes with the rooster again; and left for some other place for good.

Kukkuta Jataka Jataka Pali No.383