Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

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

033 – The Story of a Snake Charmer

The snake charmer showing tricks with
a snake and a monkey, Amravati

Once, there lived a snake-charmer in the city of Varanasi. He had a snake and a monkey. And he used to show tricks with them to earn his livelihood. One day, when the entire city was involved in the celebration of seven-day festival, he left the monkey with a corn factor to participate in the festivities.

The corn factor treated the monkey nicely. He took a good care of the animal and offered him all sorts of good food. On the seventh day, when the snake charmer returned after his merriment he was still drunk and was not in his usual senses. He took his monkey back from the corn-factor and beat him three times with a piece of bamboo as if it were a joke. He then tethered him in the garden and fell asleep. The monkey, however, escaped and climbed on a mango tree in the garden.

When the snake charmer woke up and found the monkey sitting on a tree and enjoying the fruits, he coaxed him with sweet words and asked him to come back. So, he said, “Come my nice one.”

The monkey then said,

Thy praises are meaningless and unsound
As a nice monkey is never to be found.

Reciting these stanzas the monkey joined the band of other monkeys and never returned to his master.

(The corn factor, who earned his livelihood by selling corns righteously and treated the monkey nicely, was the Bodhisatta.

See Ahigundika Jataka Jataka Pali No. 365