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"That is not the roar of a lion". This the Master related, while living at Jetavana, concerning Kokálika. The latter was, namely, at that time desirous of reciting the sarabhañña. The Master having heard this incident, related a tale:
In times past, while Brahmadatta reigned in Báráṇasí, Bodhisatta having been born in an agricultor's family, when grown up gained his livelihood by tilling the ground.
At this time a merchant wanders about trafficking by the help of an ass. In every place he comes to, having taken his merchandise from the back of the ass, he clothes him in a lion's skin and lets him loose into the rice and barley fields. The watchers of the field, on seeing him and believing him to be a lion, dare not approach.
One day, then, this merchant having taken his stand at the entrance of a town, while causing his breakfast to be prepared, lets loose the ass into a barley field, having previously clothed him in the lion's skin. The watchers of the field believing him to be a lion and not daring to approach him, went home and told the matter. The inhabitants of the whole town, after seizing their weapons, while blowing the conchs and sounding the drums, drew near to the field, and shouted aloud. Terrified with the fear of death, the ass brayed like an ass. Knowing him then to be an ass, Bodhisatta pronounced the first stanza:
|1.||"That is not the roar of a lion,|
nor a tiger, nor a panther;
clothed in a lion's skin
a wretched ass roars".
The inhabitants of the town, also knowing him to be an ass, killed him by breaking his bones, and went away, carrying with them the lion's skin. The merchant then, having come and seen the unfortunate ass, pronounced the second stanza:
|2.||"For a long time, indeed, the ass did eat|
that green barley,
clothed in a lions skin;
but when roaring he committed himself."
While he said this, the ass died there.
The Master having given this moral instruction, he summed up the Játaka thus: "At that time the ass was Kokálika, but the wise agricultor I." The Síhacamma-Birth.