Village Folk-tales of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), vol. 1-3
Story 263 - The Ascetic and the Jackal
This folk-tale entitled “the ascetic and the jackal” is gathered from oral sources sources, tracing its origin to ancient Ceylon (Sri Lanka). These tales are often found to contain similarities from stories from Buddhism and Hinduism. This is the story nr. 263 from the collection “stories of the western province and southern india”.
IN a certain country, in the midst of a forest a pack of Jackals stayed, it is said. One out of the Jackals having gone near villages one day for the purpose of catching and eating the fowls and various animals, at the time when he was walking about having arrived at a shed in which was some toddy (fresh palm-juice), and having drunk toddy until his belly fills, after he became drunk fell down at one place and stayed [there], it is said.
When he was staying thus, the Jackal went very thoroughly asleep, it is said. Having stayed in this way, when it was just becoming light the Jackal’s eyes were opened. Well then, at that time the Jackal was unable to go to the pack. Because of what [reason] was that ? Because the eyes of the whole of the persons in the village Were opened. Owing to it he got into a jungle near by, and when he was there an extremely old ascetic came to go by the place where the Jackal is.
The Jackal having seen the ascetic and spoken to him, says,
“Meritorious ascetic, having been in which district are you, Sir, coming ? I have sought and sought a meri-orious person like you, Sir, and [now] I have met with you; it is very good,”
When the Jackal spoke thus the ascetic asks,
“On account of what matter dost thou speak to me in that manner ?”
When he asked him thus, the Jackal says,
“I did not say thus to you, Sir, for my profit. I had sought and sought an excellent person like you, Sir. A quantity of my masuran are in the midst of such and such a forest. To give those masuran I did not meet with a good person like you, Sir. For many days I was watching and looking on this search, but until this occurred I did not meet with a meritorious excellent person, except only you, Sir. I am very happy to give the masuran to you, Sir,”
The ascetic having been much pleased, asks the Jackal,
“Regarding it, what must be done by me for thee ?”
When he said [this] the Jackal says,
“I don’t want you, Sir, to do any favour at all for me. If I am to give the masuran to you, Sir, please carry me to the place where the masuran are,”
Thereupon the ascetic, carrying in his arms the Jackal, went into the midst of the forest where he said the masuran are. When he went into the midst of the forest, the J ackal having spoken to the ascetic, says,
“Look, the masuran are here; please place me here,”
Thereupon the ascetic placed the Jackal on the ground. The Jackal then says,
“Taking your outer robe, Sir, and having spread it on the ground, please remain looking in the direction of the sun, not letting the eyelid fall. Having dug up the masuran I will put them into your robe, Sir,”
When the Jackal said thus, the ascetic, through greed for the masuran, without thinking anything having spread the robe on the ground, was looking in the direction of the sun. When he was looking thus for a little time, the Jackal having dunged into the robe, and for a little time more having falsely dug the ground, said to the ascetic,
“Now then, be pleased to take the masuran.”
Thereupon when the ascetic through greed for the masuran looks in the direction of the robe, because of the sun’s rays his eyes having become weak, the Jackal dung that he had put [there] appeared like masuran. Making [the robe] into a bundle he went away.
The Jackal having bounded off, went into the midst of the forest.
This tale agrees in some respects with the Jataka story No. 113 (vol. i. p. 256), in which the person who carried the Jackal was a Brahmarta, who, however, was not told to look at the sun, as in the Sinhalese tale No. 65, in vol. i, of which this is a variant.
Footnotes and references:
Gold, according to a variant of the N.W. Province. Some of these coins were made of gold. See Appendix.