Jataka Tales - Ellen C. Babbitt - ebook
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The Jatakas, or Birth-stories, form one of the sac-red books of the Buddhists and relate to the adventures of the Buddha in his former existences, the best character in any story being identified with the Master.  These legends were continually introduced into the religious discourses of the Buddhist teachers to illustrate the doctrines of their faith or to magnify the glory and sanctity of the Buddha, somewhat as medieval preachers in Europe used to enliven their sermons by introducing fables and popular tales to rouse the flagging interest of their hearers. Sculptured scenes from the Jatakas, found upon the carved railings around the relic shrines of Sanchi and Amaravati and of Bharhut, indicate that the "Birth-stories" were widely known in the third century B.C., and were then considered as part of the sacred history of the religion.   At first the tales were probably handed down orally, and it is uncertain when they were put together in systematic form.  While some of the stories are Buddhistic and depend for their point on some custom or idea peculiar to Buddhism, many are age-old fables, the flotsam and jetsam of folklore, which have appeared under various guises throughout the centuries, as when they were used by Boccaccio or Poggio, merely as merry tales, or by Chaucer, who unwittingly puts a Jataka story into the mouth of his pardoners when he tells the tale of "the Ryotoures three."  Quaint humor and gentle earnestness distinguish these legends and they teach many wholesome lessons, among them the duty of kindness to animals.  Dr. Felix Adler in his "Moral Instruction of Children," says: The Jataka Tales contain deep truths, and are calcu-lated to impress lessons of great moral beauty. The tale of the Merchant of Seri, who gave up all that he had in exchange for a golden dish, embodies much the same idea as the parable of the priceless Pearl, in the New Testament. The tale of the Measures of Rice illustrates the importance of a true estimate of values. The tale of the Banyan Deer, which offered its life to save a roe and her young, illustrates self-sacrifice of the noblest sort. The tale of the Sandy Road is one of the finest in the collection..

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Jataka Tales:

“Tales of Indıa”

[Illustrated]

Ellen C. Babbitt

Illustrated by Ellsworth Young

ILLUSTRATED &

PUBLISHED BY

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Copyright,

2017 by e-Kitap Projesi

Istanbul

ISBN: 978-605-9496-65-0

© All rights reserved. No part of this book shell be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or by any information or retrieval system, without written permission form the publisher.

Table of Contents

FOREWORD

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

I- THE MONKEY AND THE CROCODILE

PART I

PART II

II- HOW THE TURTLE SAVED HIS OWN LIFE

III- THE MERCHANT OF SERI

IV- THE TURTLE WHO COULD N'T STOP TALKING

V- THE OX WHO WON THE FORFEIT

VI- THE SANDY ROAD

VII- THE QUARREL OF THE QUAILS

VIII- THE MEASURE OF RICE

IX- THE FOOLISH, TIMID RABBIT

X- THE WISE AND THE FOOLISH MERCHANT

XI- THE ELEPHANT GIRLY-FACE

XII- THE BANYAN DEER

XIII- THE PRINCES AND THE WATER-SPRITE

XIV- THE KING'S WHITE ELEPHANT

XV- THE OX WHO ENVIED THE PIG

XVI- GRANNY'S BLACKIE

XVII- THE CRAB AND THE CRANE

XVIII- WHY THE OWL IS NOT KING OF THE BIRDS

 

***

 

 

FOREWORD

Long ago I was captivated by the charm of the Jataka Tales and realized the excellent use that might be made of them in the teaching of children. The obvious lessons are many of them suitable for little people, and beneath the obvious there are depths and depths of meaning which they may learn to fathom later on. The Oriental setting lends an additional fascination. I am glad that Miss Babbitt has undertaken to put together this collection, and commend it freely to teachers and parents.

FELIX ADLER.

 

 

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

The Jatakas, or Birth-stories, form one of the sacred books of the Buddhists and relate to the adventures of the Buddha in his former existences, the best character in any story being identified with the Master.

These legends were continually introduced into the religious discourses of the Buddhist teachers to illustrate the doctrines of their faith or to magnify the glory and sanctity of the Buddha, somewhat as medieval preachers in Europe used to enliven their sermons by introducing fables and popular tales to rouse the flagging interest of their hearers.

Sculptured scenes from the Jatakas, found upon the carved railings around the relic shrines of Sanchi and Amaravati and of Bharhut, indicate that the "Birth-stories" were widely known in the third centuryB.C., and were then considered as part of the sacred history of the religion. At first the tales were probably handed down orally, and it is uncertain when they were put together in systematic form.

While some of the stories are Buddhistic and depend for their point on some custom or idea peculiar to Buddhism, many are age-old fables, the flotsam and jetsam of folk-lore, which have appeared under various guises throughout the centuries, as when they were used by Boccaccio or Poggio, merely as merry tales, or by Chaucer, who unwittingly puts a Jataka story into the mouth of his pardoners when he tells the tale of "the Ryotoures three."

Quaint humor and gentle earnestness distinguish these legends and they teach many wholesome lessons, among them the duty of kindness to animals.

Dr. Felix Adler in his "Moral Instruction of Children," says:

The Jataka Tales contain deep truths, and are calculated to impress lessons of great moral beauty. The tale of the Merchant of Seri, who gave up all that he had in exchange for a golden dish, embodies much the same idea as the parable of the priceless Pearl, in the New Testament. The tale of the Measures of Rice illustrates the importance of a true estimate of values. The tale of the Banyan Deer, which offered its life to save a roe and her young, illustrates self-sacrifice of the noblest sort. The tale of the Sandy Road is one of the finest in the collection.

And he adds that these tales "are, as everyone must admit, nobly conceived, lofty in meaning, and many a helpful sermon might be preached from them as texts."

 

 

 

I- THE MONKEY AND THE CROCODILE

 

PART I

 

MONKEY lived in a great tree on a river bank.

In the river there were many Crocodiles. A Crocodile watched the Monkeys for a long time, and one day she said to her son: "My son, get one of those Monkeys for me. I want the heart of a Monkey to eat."

"How am I to catch a Monkey?" asked the little Crocodile. "I do not travel on land, and the Monkey does not go into the water."

"Put your wits to work, and you'll find a way," said the mother.

And the little Crocodile thought and thought.

At last he said to himself: "I know what I'll do. I'll get that Monkey that lives in a big tree on the river bank. He wishes to go across the river to the island where the fruit is so ripe."

So the Crocodile swam to the tree where the Monkey lived. But he was a stupid Crocodile.

"Oh, Monkey," he called, "come with me over to the island where the fruit is so ripe."

"How can I go with you?" asked the Monkey. "I do not swim."

"No—but I do. I will take you over on my back," said the Crocodile.

The Monkey was greedy, and wanted the ripe fruit, so he jumped down on the Crocodile's back.

"Off we go!" said the Crocodile.

"This is a fine ride you are giving me!" said the Monkey.

"Do you think so? Well, how do you like this?" asked the Crocodile, diving.

"Oh, don't!" cried the Monkey, as he went under the water. He was afraid to let go, and he did not know what to do under the water.

When the Crocodile came up, the Monkey sputtered and choked. "Why did you take me under water, Crocodile?" he asked.

"I am going to kill you by keeping you under water," answered the Crocodile. "My mother wants Monkey-heart to eat, and I'm going to take yours to her."

 

"Why did you take me under water, Crocodile?" he asked.

 

"I wish you had told me you wanted my heart," said the Monkey, "then I might have brought it with me."

"How queer!" said the stupid Crocodile. "Do you mean to say that you left your heart back there in the tree?"

"That is what I mean," said the Monkey. "If you want my heart, we must go back to the tree and get it. But we are so near the island where the ripe fruit is, please take me there first."

"No, Monkey," said the Crocodile, "I'll take you straight back to your tree. Never mind the ripe fruit. Get your heart and bring it to me at once. Then we'll see about going to the island."

"Very well," said the Monkey.

But no sooner had he jumped onto the bank of the river than—whisk! up he ran into the tree.

From the topmost branches he called down to the Crocodile in the water below:

"My heart is way up here! If you want it, come for it, come for it!"