Beauty And Brownie
A Buddhist Folk Tale
Two Deer named Beauty and Brownie lived with their father and mother and great herds of Deer in a forest. One day their father called them to him and said: "The Deer in the forest are always in danger when the corn is ripening in the fields. It will be best for you to go away for a while, and you must each take your own herd of Deer with you."
"What is the danger, Father?" they asked.
"When the Deer go into the fields to eat the corn they get caught in the traps the men set there," the father said. "Many Deer are caught in these traps every year."
"Shall you go away with us?" Brownie said.
"No, your mother and I, and some of the other old Deer will stay here in the forest," said the father. "There will be food enough for us, but there is not enough for you and your herds. You must lead your herds up into the high hills where there is plenty of food for you, and stay there until the crops are all cut. Then you can bring your herds back here. But you must be careful.
"You must travel by night, because the hunters will see you if you go by day. And you must not take your herd near the villages where hunters live."
So Beauty and Brownie and their herds set out. Beauty traveled at night and did not go near any villages, and at last brought his herd safely to the high hills. Not a single Deer did Beauty lose.
But Brownie forgot what his father had said. Early each morning he started off with his herd, going along all through the day. When he saw a village, he led his herd right past it. Again and again hunters saw the herd, and they killed many, many of the Deer in Brownie's herd.
When crops had been cut, the Deer started back to the forest. Beauty led all his herd back, but stupid Brownie traveled in the daytime, and again he took his herd past the villages. When he reached the forest only a few were left of all Brownie's herd.
Once upon a time a Dog used to go into the stable where the king's Elephant lived. At first the Dog went there to get the food that was left after the Elephant had finished eating.
Day after day the Dog went to the stable, waiting around for bits to eat. But by and by the Elephant and the Dog came to be great friends. Then the Elephant began to share his food with the Dog, and they ate together. When the Elephant slept, his friend the Dog slept beside him. When the Elephant felt like playing, he would catch the Dog in his trunk and swing him to and fro. Neither the Dog nor the Elephant was quite happy unless the other was nearby.
One day a farmer saw the Dog and said to the Elephant-keeper: "I will buy that Dog. He looks good-tempered, and I see that he is smart. How much do you want for the Dog?"
The Elephant-keeper did not care for the Dog, and he did want some money just then. So he asked a fair price, and the fanner paid it and took the Dog away to the country.
The king's Elephant missed the Dog and did not care to eat when his friend was not there to share the food. When the time came for the Elephant to bathe, he would not bathe. The next day again the Elephant would not eat, and he would not bathe. The third day, when the Elephant would neither eat nor bathe, the king was told about it.
The king sent for his chief servant, saying, "Go to the stable and find out why the Elephant is acting in this way."
The chief servant went to the stable and looked the Elephant all over. Then he said to the Elephant-keeper: "There seems to be nothing the matter with this Elephant's body, but why does he look so sad? Has he lost a playmate?"
"Yes," said the keeper, "there was a Dog who ate and slept and played with the Elephant. The Dog went away three days ago."
"Do you know where the Dog is now?" asked the chief servant.
"No, I do not," said the keeper.
Then the chief servant went back to the king and said, "The Elephant is not sick, but he is lonely without his friend, the Dog."
"Where is the Dog?" asked the king.
"A farmer took him away, so the Elephant-keeper says," said the chief servant. "No one knows where the farmer lives."
"Very well," said the king. "I will send word all over the country, asking the man who bought this Dog to turn him loose. I will give him back as much as he paid for the Dog."
When the farmer who had bought the Dog heard this, he turned him loose. The Dog ran back as fast as ever he could go to the Elephant's stable. The Elephant was so glad to see the Dog that he picked him up with his trunk and put him on his head. Then he put him down again.
When the Elephant-keeper brought food, the Elephant watched the Dog as he ate, and then took his own food.
All the rest of their lives the Elephant and the Dog lived together.
Sources And Further Reading
Project Gutenberg More Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt