Buddhist Fables

Buddhist Classics

Life and Legends of Buddha

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

067 – Story of a Drummer

Once there lived a drummer near Varanasi. Hearing that a festival was being celebrated in the city of Varanasi, he went there along with his son to play drums before the crowd. Thus, he earned a great deal of money.

On his way back he had to cross a dense forest infested with bandits. His son, however, overjoyed with his earnings kept on playing the drum incessantly. The father, however, cautioned him against the possible attraction of the bandits by the excessive drumming. He instead advised him for the occasional drumming, which could keep the robbers away by thinking that some local chieftain was on a journey along with his armed men.

The son did not listen to the advice of his father and kept on drumming in his joyous mood. Soon the robbers noticed the sound and caught them. They then beat them and ripped them off what they had.

Thus what was gained by the skillful drumming
Was lost by the excessive drumming.

It is therefore said that excessiveness is bad; and restraint is a virtue.

See Bherivada Jataka Jataka Pali No.59.