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The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma


059 - The Naive House-Holder  

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Once, a gentle house-holder lived in Kashi. At that time the heavy rain-pour carried away all the grains; and there was famine in the village. So, the villagers along with the house-holder went to the local headman and asked him for some help. The headman gave them an ox in loan against the agreement that the repayment shall be made within two months when the maize crop would mature.

The wife of the house-holder was a woman of lesser virtue. She was having an affair with the village headman. The naïve householder, somehow, came to know that his wife was not faithful. So, one day, he told his wife that he was going abroad and left his house. The head-man, who looked for such an opportunity immediately sneaked into the house-holder’s residence. But when the woman and the headman were having a good time, the householder returned to the surprise of the two mates.

The headman, in particular was scared at his appearance. But the woman soothed her by saying that there was nothing to bother as she had a plan to deceive her naïve husband; and they hurriedly acted accordingly.

When the householder entered the house he saw the headman standing in the middle of the house. He was pretending to shout at his wife, “return my ox or its price.” The wife, who was standing on the garner to pretend as if she was guarding it, shouted back, “We have no rice in the granary and we can’t pay you.” The man immediately knew what was being cooked there, because neither the headman was supposed to ask for the repayment of the loan before the expiry of two months; nor was there any grain in the garner for his wife to guard.

So, he first grabbed the headman by his hair and kept on hitting him until he fainted. Next, he turned to his wife and caught hold of her and gave her a stern warning to stop acting like a bitch.

Since then, neither the headman ever dared to look at householder’s residence; nor his wife dared to transgress.

The house holder (extreme right) questioning the headman (left); and his wife sitting in the garner. Bharhut

 

See Gahapati Jataka Jataka Pali No. 199.

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