Thursday, June 8, 2017

Jataka Tales - The Story of the Clever Vaidya

Once upon a time, in a village named Chandrapur lived a hard working farmer named Mohan. Mohan was a young and kind person. He took care of his farm and the pair of bulls he had bought just the previous day from the cattle fair. He promised himself that he would feed them well only with fresh grass, bathe them and then take them to work on field. This would be his regular routine, A content man, Mohan would never miss his routine.

Next day, after finishing his work for the first half of the day, Mohan sat down under the tree for lunch. He and his bulls had worked hard for five hours and they needed a break. Content with his work he dozed off for a couple of hours unaware of the fact that he was been watched. A thief had been keeping an eye on Mohan since morning. He had been looking for an opportunity to get his hands on the bulls. The bulls would make him rich for a while, as selling them would fetch him a good price.

Seizing the opportunity, the thief tiptoed towards the bulls and led them away. But he hadn't got a bit far, when suddenly Mohan woke up. Shocked by what he saw, Mohan demanded angrily, "What do you think you are doing?"

The thief snapped back, "Who do you think you are to ask me this? These are my bulls and I can take them wherever I wish." Mohan was outraged by his answer but he was a smart man and couldn't be tricked easily. He held the thief's wrist and wouldn't let him go. 

The quarrel between them caught attention of farmers from the nearby fields. They all gathered around the two wondering what was going on. Since Mohan claimed that he had bought the bulls just the previous day and they had not seen him with them, the farmers couldn't take his side. This made Mohan unhappy. He wondered how this problem would resolve.

Finally one of the farmer suggested, "Let's take these bulls to our Vaidya. He is a wise man and can easily solve this problem." Agreeing with the suggestion made, the bulls were led to the local Vaidya. The Vaidya listened patiently to both the sides and then became quiet. Within minutes he knew what he had to do.

The Vaidya first turned to the thief and asked, "What did you feed the bulls?" Without any delay the thief replied, "Sir, I fed them boiled rice and two pumpkins!" Then the Vaidya asked the farmer, "And what about you?" The farmer said, "Vaidyaji, I fed them fresh grass!"

The Vaidya then went inside his house and came back with some liquid that he gave the bulls. Immediately the bulls threw up and wonder what came out - half digested grass! The Vaidya smiled and remarked, "So, now you know who the rightful owner is!" The farmer sighed in relief, took his bulls and went back home.

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