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Story of Nigrodha Deer
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|018 - The Story of Nigrodha Deer|
deer and the king's archers, the Thai version
Once the Bodhisattva was born
as a golden deer in a forest of Varanasi. His eyes were like round gems;
horns like silver; and he was bigger in size than other deer. He headed a
band of five hundred deer and was called Nigrodharaja. In the same forest
there lived another golden deer Sakha, who, too, headed a band of five
As the king of Varanasi was very fond of the deer meet, he asked his men to bring him at least one deer every day. His men, one day, decided to catch all the deer of the forest and bring them to the royal garden to please the king. So, they besieged the forest from all directions by keeping the garden-path clear and approached the centre with noise and drum-beating. No wonder all the deer were forced to enter the royal park and were caged inside. When the king saw the two golden deer, too, in his park he was very pleased. Further, charmed by their elegance he granted them immunity from being killed. But no other deer enjoyed the similar privilege. So, whenever a royal hunter entered the park to kill a deer all the deer would run helter-skelter, which caused more damages to the herd. So, the two deer kings convened a meeting and resolved that one deer from each group had to go to the hunter for the slaughter on every alternate day. The agreement was, however, to be followed rigorously.
The king granting amnesty to the two deer, the Thai version
The king was moved by his compassion. He said, “O deer king! I am impressed with your loving kindness. I spare the life of the doe and yours.”
Nigrodha said, I thank you for that. But what shall happen to other deer, here?”
(Anand is identified with the king of Varanasi; and Devadatta with Sakha deer).
See Nigrodha-Miga Jataka Jataka Pali No.12.
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