Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

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

029 – The Thankless Monkey

Dubhiya-Makkata-Jataka, Bharhut

Once, there lived a gentleman in the outskirt of Varanasi. Close to his house was a highway, where there was a deep well. The travelers often used to drag water by a bucket tied with a rope. Further, they filled a trough for the animals to earn merit. Close to the highway there was a dense forest where lived several monkeys.

One day, it so happened that no traveler passed through the highway. So, no body poured any water into the trough for the animals and it was empty. So, when a thirsty monkey came to the well to look for the water and found the trough empty, he was restless.

By chance the civilised man walked through that road and drew some water for himself and quenched his thirst. Satisfied, when he looked up he noticed the monkey tormented with thirst and jumping up and down to drink water. So, he drew more water from the well and poured it in the trough for the monkey before taking some rest under the tree.

The monkey in no time came to the trough and drank the water to his satisfaction. But after quenching his thirst he started making faces to frighten the man. The man murmured, “o monkey! I helped you by giving water to quench your thirst and you reciprocate nastiness. Can’t you do better than that”. The monkey overheard it and jumped on the tree over his head and said, “Yes I can do better than that;” and he dropped excreta on his head and darted and disappeared into the forest by shrieking, “This is our manner of reciprocity”.

The man again drew water from the well but to wash himself.

Bodhisatta was the civilised traveler those days.

Dubhiya Makkata Jataka Jataka Pali No.174