Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

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

066 – The Envoy of Belly

Once, the prince of Varanasi went to Taxila for his education and training. Upon his return his father died and he succeeded him as the king on the throne of Varanasi. As he was a dainty eater people called him ‘King Dainty’. Further, he was so extravagant in eating that he spent one hundred thousand pieces on one dish. He also had the habit to invite the people and made them watch what he ate. For this he had a pavilion built in front of his palace door and in its the middle he got one golden dais constructed, where he sat and ate. Thus, when he ate, the people could watch him. One day, when he was sitting and eating in front of the people, a man suddenly jumped on the dais and shouted, “I am an envoy! I am an envoy!!” As he introduced himself as an envoy, no body could dare to prevent him. The man then scooped at one of the dishes, much to offend the by standers. Considering his act to be rude, the soldiers drew out their sword to slay him. But the king refrained them and allowed the man to eat to his satisfaction. The man enjoyed all the sumptuous dishes. When the man finished his meals, the king himself offered him his drinking water and betel nut. Next, he asked him, whose envoy was he; and what message was he carrying.

The man said,

O king! I am the envoy and messenger of Belly
So, O lord of chariots don’t be angry
For the belly’s sake men go very far
Even approaching an enemy they find no bar.

The king was pleased with this reply. He admitted the veracity of the statement. Truly, the people are dictated for most of their actions by their bellies.

Satisfied with the answer the King gave him hundred cows in reward and retired to his chamber.

See Duta Jataka Jataka Pali No.260.