Book 1: Ekanipāta
Translated from the Pāli by
Robert Chalmers, B.A., of Oriel College, Oxford
Under the Editorship of Professor E. B. Cowell
Published 1969 For the Pāli Text Society.
First Published by The Cambridge University Press in 1895
This work is in the Public Domain. The Pali Text Society owns the copyright."
"You vaunt." — This story was told by the Master once at Jetavana, about a boastful Brother. (The introductory story and the story of the past in this case are like those of Kaṭāhaka related above.)
Kalaṇḍuka was in this case the name of the slave of the Treasurer of Benares. And when he had run away and was living in luxury with the daughter of the border-merchant, the Treasurer missed him and could not discover his whereabouts. So he sent a young pet parrot to search for the runaway. And off flew the parrot in quest of Kalaṇḍuka, and searched for him far and wide, till at last the bird came to the town where he dwelt. And just at that very time Kalaṇḍuka was enjoying himself on the river with his wife in a boat well-stocked with dainty fare and with flowers and perfumes. Now the nobles of that land at their water-parties make a point of taking milk with a pungent drug to drink, and so escape suffering from cold after their pastime on the water.  But when our Kalaṇḍuka tasted this milk, he hawked and spat it out; and in so doing spat on the head of the merchant's daughter. At this moment up flew the parrot, and saw all this from the bough of a fig-tree on the bank. "Come, come,  slave Kalaṇḍuka," cried the bird; "remember who and what you are, and don't spit on the head of this young gentlewoman. Know your place, fellow." So saying, he uttered the following stanza: —
You vaunt your high descent, your high degree,
With lying tongue. Though but a bird, I know
The truth. You'll soon be caught, you runaway.
Scorn not the milk then, slave Kalaṇḍuka.
Recognizing the parrot, Kalaṇḍuka grew afraid of being exposed, and exclaimed, "Ah! good master, when did you arrive?"
Thought the parrot, "It is not friendliness, but a wish to wring my neck, that prompts this kindly interest." So he replied that he did not stand in need of Kalaṇḍuka's services, and flew off to Benares, where he told the Lord Treasurer everything he had seen.
"The rascal!" cried the Treasurer, and ordered Kalaṇḍuka to be hauled back to Benares where he had once more to put up with a slave's fare.
His lesson ended, the Master identified the Birth by saying, "This Brother was Kalaṇḍuka in the story, and I the Treasurer of Benares."