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The Jātaka:
Stories of the Buddha's Former Births
Volume II

Book 3: Tika Nipāta

No. 297


Translated from the Pāli by
W.H.D Rouse, M.A., Sometime Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge
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."



"O bird, that fliest," etc. — This story the Master told at Jetavana, about a man who pined for his former wife. The circumstances which called it forth are[1] explained in the Puppharatta Birth-tale,[2] and the tale of the past in the Indriya Birth-tale.[3]



So the man was impaled alive. As he hung there, he looked up and saw a crow flying through the air; and, nought reeking of the bitter pain, he hailed the crow, to send a message to his dear wife, repeating these verses following:

"O bird, that fliest in the sky!
O winged bird, that fliest high!
Tell my wife, with thighs so fair:
Long will seem the time to her.

"She knows not sword and spear are set:
Full wroth and angry she will fret.
That is my torment and my fear,
And not that I am hanging here.

"My lotus-mail I have put by,
And jewels in my pillow lie,
And soft Benares cloth beside.
With wealth let her be satisfied."

[444] With these lamentations, he died.



When the Mister had ended this discourse, he declared the Truths, and identified the Birth (now at the conclusion of the Truths, the lovesick brother attained the fruition of the First Path): "The wife then was the wife now; but the spirit who saw this, was I myself."


[1] Reading kathitaɱ.

[2] No. 147 above, vol. i. page 312.

[3] No. 423.


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