Digital Dimdima

JATAKA TALES

The Physician's Revenge

This story is adapted from the Jatakas and shows how important it is to evaluate advice before acting on it.

A girl threw a firebrand at a goat that was eating her corn and the goat's coat caught fire. Maddened with fear, it ran to a haystack and started rubbing against it . The haystack was soon ablaze. The fire spread to the barn and then to the stables in which the royal elephants were housed. Some of the elephants were badly burnt before the fire was finally put out.
The men looking after the elephants could not heal their wounds. So the king sent for his own physician.
On the way to the palace the physician lay down under a tree for a nap. Hardly had he closed his eyes than he felt something warm running down his face. He got up with a start and found that a crow that was sitting on a branch directly above him, had spattered him with its droppings.The physician cursed the crow and wiping his face, continued on his way, but in a foul mood. When he reached the palace and the king asked him for a remedy for the elephants' wounds he replied: "Rub the wounds with crow's fat, lots of crow's fat!"
And so began a great slaughter of crows. Thousands were shot and it looked as if the slaughter would continue till all the crows in the kingdom were dead. One day, a crow flew into the palace and settled down in front of the king. Soldiers rushed forward to catch it, but the king waved them back.
"Let it be,' he said. "Perhaps it has come to tell me something."
"I have," said the bird. "I am the king of crows and I have come to tell you that you are doing us a great wrong. You are being led astray by a man bent on revenge against my brethren."
"You are making a serious accusation," said the king." Have you any proof?"
"I have," said the crow. "The proof lies in the fact that crows have no fat, otherwise you would have got bucketfuls of it from the thousands you have already slaughtered."
The king felt ashamed of what he had done and immediately stopped the slaughter of the birds.

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