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Quails caught in a net, rise up in a body with the net and escape several times. After a time they quarrel and are caught.
Pictured by: PongPang
Coloured by : Pupay
The Origin of the Story
This story was told by the Lord Buddha while was dwelling in the Banyan-grove near Kapilavatthu about a squabble over a porter’s head-pad as will be related in the Kunalajataka.
On this occasion, however, the Buddha went to the border himself and spoke thus to his kinsfolk to defuse the tension of war between Kapilavatthu and Devataha —‘My lords, strife among kinsfolk is unseemly. Yes, in bygone times, animals who had defeated their enemies when they lived in concord came to utter destruction when they fell out.’ And at the request of his royal kinsfolk, he told this story of the past.
The story of Jātaka
Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta was born a quail and lived in the forest at the head of many thousands of quails.
In those days, a fowler who caught quails came to that place, hiding himself among the bushes and he used to imitate the note of a quail till he saw that the birds had been drawn together on the grounds near the bushes, when he flung his net over them and whipped the sides of the net together so as to get them all huddled up in a heap. Then he crammed them into his basket and going home sold his prey for a living.
The Bodhisatta quail witnessed the fowler making havoc among his kinsfolk and tried to think out a device whereby the fowler would be unable to catch the quails. Now one day, the Bodhisatta called for a meeting and said to those quails, ‘Henceforth, the very moment he throws the net over you, don’t be startled but let each one put his head through a mesh and then all of you together must fly away with the net to such place as you please and there let it down on a thorn-brake; this done, you will all escape from your several meshes.’
On the morrow, when the net was cast over them, they did just as the Bodhisatta had told them —they lifted up the net and let it down on a thorn-brake, escaping themselves from underneath. While the fowler was still disentangling his net, evening came on and he went away empty-handed. On the morrow and following days the quails played the same trick. So that it became the regular thing for the fowler to be engaged till sunset disentangling his net and then to betake himself home empty-handed.
Not long after this, one of the quails, in alighting on their feeding ground, trod by accident on another’s head. But notwithstanding the former admitted his fault and said apology, the other remained as angry as before. Continuing to answer one another, they began to bandy taunt. Consequently, polarization was settled among them.
As they wrangled thus with one another, the Bodhisatta went in to ease the situation but they disregarded his statement; thus he told them, ‘There’s no safety with one who is quarrelsome. The time has come when they will no longer lift up the net and thereby they will come to great destruction. The fowler will get his opportunity. I can stay here no longer.’ And thereupon he with his following went elsewhere.
Sure enough the fowler came back again a few days later and first collecting them together by imitating the note of a quail, flung his net over them. Without the unity, each kept inviting the other to lift the net, the fowler himself lifted the net for them and crammed them in a heap into his basket and bore them off home.
The revealing of the identities
‘Thus, sir,’ said the Lord Buddha, ‘such a thing as a quarrel among kinsfolk is unseemly; quarrelling leads only to destruction.’ His lesson ended, he showed the connection, and identified the birth by saying, ‘Devadatta was the foolish quail of those days and I, myself, the wise and good quail.’
What are learned from the story:
1. The nature of the fool is being feisty and boring a grudge. It is advisable to be mindful to at the first place not affect other’s interest which can lead to dispute; moreover mindfulness can defeat anger enabling the victor sleep happily.
2. Associate with the wise and stay away from the fool.
3. Whenever a dispute takes place, try finding way to end it.