Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

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

028 – The Story of Khardiya Deer

Kharadiya / Tipallatthamiga-Jataka, Bharhut

Once the Bodhisatta was born as a deer and dwelt in a forest. He was as the leader of many hundred deer. One day, his sister came to him with her son and requested him to teach him the deer-tricks for his self-protection. The deer chief readily complied with the request and promised her that he would do the best for his nephew. He asked the young one to visit him on the following day at a particular time to take the lessons. But the young deer was very playful. He did not turn up. The deer chief, however, waited for him. He waited for him on the following day but the nephew did not appear. Thus, seven days elapsed but he did not show his face. On the eighth day, his sister came. She was wailing. She informed him that her son was caught in a snare and she wanted him to be rescued. As she had no apprehension that her son had never visited him to take any lesson, she blamed him, too, by saying that he had not taught her son any deer-trick. The deer chief then said, “Look sister, your son is a rascal. He never wanted to learn; and he had never turned up to take any lesson. Now, nothing could be done to save him.”

Next morning, the hunter came and saw the young deer caught in a snare. He was delighted. He immediately took out a sharp knife and killed the deer and packed his skin and flesh to sell in the market.