A COLLECTION OF
FOR NARRATION" OR LATER READING IN SCHOOLS
SELECTED AND ADAPTED
MARIE L. SHEDLOCK
WITH A FOREWORD
By Prof. T. W. RHYS DAVIDS
AND A FRONTISPIECE
By WOLFRAM ONSLOW FORD
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS, LIMITED
NEW YORK: E. I'. DUTTON AND CO.
In offering this volume to teachers, my chief
aim is to provide material for narration which
shall deal, not with things temporal but with
the " Eternal Verities." These, if presented to
our boys and girls in dramatic form, at the
most impressionable period of their lives, will
sink deeply into their minds. When presented
in more direct and didactic fashion, the same
truths often fail to impress. These stories
of the Buddha are not for one age or one
country, but for all time and for the world.
1 have suggested their meaning in the index
to enable teachers to see the contents at a
glance. I strongly urge that little or no
explanation should be offered to the children
themselves. They will be sufficiently in-
terested in the dramatic setting to absorb
(unconsciously) the meaning of the story.
The book is not intended primarily for
children to read but for teachers to use in
telling these tales, but when they have received
the dramatic impression through the telling,
they will have an added interest in reading the
book for themselves.
I have purposely avoided using illustrations
to these stories. I want the children to make
the mental picture suggested to them by the
spoken word, and if they read the story after-
wards, I do not wish to force them to abandon
their own conception and adopt a general one,
because this would mean eliminating one of
the most potent educational factors in the
telling of the story.
I am greatly indebted to Professor Rhys
Davids, not only because he has placed the
material of his translation at my disposal, but
because of his unfailing kindness and help in
directing the work. His preface will give
value, from the scholarly point of view, to this
collection : my own efforts have been limited
to the selection of the most dramatic stories,
and sucli as I know by experience will appeal
to girls and boys.
I most gratefully acknowledge my indebted-
ness to the Cambridge Press, by whose courtesy
and generosity I have been able to include
eleven of the stories published in their volumes.
I have kept to the direct translation in all
cases where it was possible without breaking
dramatic interest. But as my chief aim has
been to present these stories in language
effective for narrative purpose, I have some-
times shortened them, most notably in Mr
Rouse's beautiful translation of the King who
sacrificed his eyes. For reading purpose the
whole of his translation is of thrilling interest,
but in the actual telling the details do not add
to the dramatic strength.
In the story of the Parrot, I have made
little or no change in Mr House's translation,
except that in the few verses which occur
from time to time in the story I have given
the gist of the verse in prose form instead of
the verse itself.
I have already told several of these stories,
and have always found a warm response from
children and adults.
Marie L. Shedlock.
I recollect riding late one night along the
high-road from Galle to Colombo. The road
skirts the shore. On the left hand the long
breakers of the Indian Ocean broke in ripples
on the rocks in the many little bays. On the
right an endless vista of tall cocoanut palms
waved their top-knots over a park-like expanse
of grass, and the lints of the peasantry were
visible here and there beneath the trees. In
the distance a crowd had gathered on the
sward, either seated on the grass or leaning
against the palms. 1 turned aside â€” no road
was wanted â€” to see what brought them there
that moonlight night.
The villagers had put an oval platform
under the trees. On it were seated yellow-
robed monks with palm-leaf books on their
laps. One was standing and addressing the
folk, who were listening to Bana, that is
"The Word" -discourse's, dialogues, legends,
or stories from the Pali Canon. The stories
were the well-known Birth-stories, that is the
ancient tables and fairy-tales con in ion to the
Aryan race which had been consecrated, as
it were, by the hero in each, whether man or
animal, being identified with the Buddha
in a former birth. To these wonderful
stories the simple peasantry, men. women and
children, clad in their best and brightest,
listen the livelong night with unaffected
delight, chatting pleasantly now and again
with their neighbours : rising quietly and
leaving for a time, and returning at their
will, and indulging all the while in the
mild narcotic of the betel-leaf, their stores of
which afford a constant occasion for acts of
polite good-fellowship. Neither preachers nor
hearers may have that deep sense of evil in
the world and in themselves, nor that high
resolve to battle with and overcome it, which
animated some of the first disciples. They all
think they are earning " merit " by their easy
service. But there is at least, at these full-
moon festivals, a genuine feeling of human
kindness, in harmony alike with the teachings
of Gotama, and with the gentle beauty of
those moonlit scenes. 1
It is not only under the palm groves of
the South that these stories are a perennial
delight. Wherever Buddhism lias gone they
have gone with it. They are known and
loved on the plains of Central Asia, in the
valleys of Kashmir and Afghanistan, on the
cold table-lands of Nepal, Tartary and Tibet,
through the vast regions of India and China,
in the islands of Japan and the Malay archi-
pelago, and throughout the jungles of Siam
And not only so. Soldiers of Alexander
who had settled in the East, wandering
merchants of many nations and climes,
crusading knights and hermits who had mixed
with Eastern folk, brought the stories from
East to West. They were very popular in
Europe in the Middle Ages; and were used,
1 See Rhys Davids' Buddhism (S.P.C.K.), pp. 57, â€¢">Â»â€¢
xii FORK WOK I)
more especially by the clergy, as the subjects
of numerous homilies, romances, anecdotes,
poems and edifying plays and mysteries.
The character of the hero of them in his last
or former births appealed so strongly to the
sympathies, and especially to the religious
sympathies, of mediaeval Christians, that the
Buddha (under another name) was included,
and has ever since remained, in the list of
canonised saints both in the Roman and
Greek Churches ; and a collection of these
and similar stories â€” wrongly but very natur-
allyâ€”ascribed to a famous story-teller of the
ancient Greeks, has become the common
property, the household literature, of all the
nations of Europe ; and, under the name of
.E sop's Fables, has handed down, as a first
moral lesson - book for our children in the
West, tales first invented to please and to
instruct our far-off* cousins in the distant East.
So the story of the migration of the stories
is the most marvellous story of them all. 1
' For the details <>t' this story the introduction to my Buddhid
Birth Stories may be consulted : and for the history of the
And, strange to say, in spite of the enormous
outpouring of more modern tales, these old
ones have not, even yet, lost their charm. I
used to tell them by the hour together, to
mixed audiences, and never found them fail.
Out of the many hundred Birth- stories there
are only a small proportion that are suitable
for children. Miss Shedlock. so well known
on both sides of the Atlantic for her skill
and judgment in this regard, has selected
those she deems most suitable ; and, so far as
I can judge, has succeeded very admirably in
adapting them for the use of children and
of teachers alike. Much depends, no doubt,
upon the telling. Could Miss Shedlock her-
self be the teller, there would be little doubt
of the success. Hut I know from my own
experience that less able story-tellers have no
cause at all to be discouraged.
The reason is, indeed, not far to seek. The
stories are not ordinary ones. It is not on
sharpness of repartee, or on striking incidents.
Jatakas in [ndia the chapter <>n thai auhjecl in mj Buddhui
I nil id.
that their charm depends. These they have
sometimes. Hut their attraction lies rather in
a unique mixture of subtle humour, cunning
make-belief, and earnestness ; in the piquancy
of the contrast between the humorous in-
congruities and impossibilities of the details,
and the real serious earnestness, never absent
but always latent, of the ethical tone. They
never raise a boisterous laugh : only a quiet
smile of delighted appreciation ; and they
leave a pleasant aroma behind them. To the
child-mind the impossibilities are no impos-
sibilities at all, they are merely delightful.
And these quaint old-world stories will con-
tinue to appeal to children, young and old,
as they have done, the world over, through
the long centuries of the past.
T. \Y. Rhys Davids.
Preface .......... v
Foreword. By Prof. T. W. Rhys Davids . . . ix
The Buddha (To Be) as Lion : illustrating
The Folly of Panic ...... 3
The Buddha (To Be) as one of the Cods : illustrating
The Punishment of Hypocrisy ....!>
The Buddha (To Be) as Hare : illustrating
The True Spirit of a Festival Day . . .17
The Buddha (To Be) as Osprey : illustrating
The Power of Friendship ..... 25
The Buddha (To Be) as King : illustrating
The Time Meaning of Giving. .... 33
The Buddha (To Be) as Parrot : illustrating
Filial Piety . . . . . .41
The Buddha (To Be) as Merchanl : illustrating
The Value OF Perseverance . . . . .411
The Buddha (To Be) as Dealer in Tin : illustrating
The Power of Honesty ...... .").">
The Buddha To Be aa King i illustrating
The Folly or Greed ...... <;â€¢'<
The Buddha (To Be) as Minister : illustrating
The Strength of Friendship among Animals . 69
The Buddha (To Be) as Bull : illustrating
The Value of Kindness ...... ~.J
The Buddha (To Be) as Bull : illustrating
Gratitude and Filial Affection .... 83
The Buddha (To Be) as Brahmin : illustrating
The Power of Kind Thoughts .... Hi)
The Buddha (To Be) as Tree-Spirit : illustrating
Our Duty to the Next Generation ... 97
The Buddha (To Be) as Wise Minister : illustrating
Oi-r Duty towards the Worthy Old of the
Community ........ 103
The Buddha (To Be) as Horse : illustrating
The Strength which comes with Fixity of Purpose 109
The Buddha (To Be) as Mallard : illustrating
The Punishment of Cupidity ..... 117
The Buddha as Physician or Comforter : illustrating
The POWEB OF Sorrow TO ENLARGE SYMPATHY AND
Understanding ....... 121
General Note. ........ 124
Notes on mi: Stories ....... 125
THE FOLLY OF PANIC
THE BUDDHA (TO BE) AS LION I ILLUSTRATING
THE FOLLY OF PANIC
And it came to pass that the Buddha (to be)
was born again as a Lion. Just as he had
helped his fellow-men, he now began to help
his fellow-animals, and there was a great deal
to be done. For instance, there was a little
nervous Hare who was always afraid that
something dreadful was going to happen to
her. She was always saying : " Suppose the
Earth were to fall in, what would happen to
me ? " And she said this so often that at
last she thought it really was about to happen.
One day, when she had been saying over and
over again, " Suppose the Earth were to fall
in, what would happen to me ? " she heard a
slight noise : it really was only a heavy fruit
which had fallen upon a rustling leaf, but
the little Hare was so nervous she was ready
to believe anything, and she said in a
4 BUDDHA (TO BE) AS LION
frightened tone: "The Earth is falling in."
She ran away as fast as she could go, and
presently she met an old brother Hare, who
said: "Where are you running to. Mistress
And the little Hare said : " I have no time
to stop and tell you anything. The Earth
is falling in, and I am running away."
"The Earth is falling in, is it?" said the
old brother Hare, in a tone of much astonish-
ment ; and he repeated this to his brother
hare, and he to his brother hare, and he
to Ms brother hare, until at last there
were a hundred thousand brother hares, all
shouting: "The Earth is falling in." Now
presently the bigger animals began to take
the cry up. First the deer, and then the
sheep, and then the wild boar, and then
the buffalo, and then the camel, and then
the tiger, and then the elephant.
Now the wise Lion heard all this noise
and wondered at it. " There are no signs,"
he said, " of the Earth falling in. They
must have heard something." And then he
stopped them all short and said : " What is
this you are saying \ "
THE FOLLY OF PANIC
And the Elephant said : " I remarked that
the Earth was falling in."
" How do yon know this '. " asked the Lion.
" Why, now T come to think of it, it was
the Tiger that remarked it to me."
And the Tiger said : " / had it from the
Camel," and the Camel said : " / had it from
the Buffalo." And the buffalo from the wild
hoar, and the wild boar from the sheep, and
the sheep from the deer, and the deer from
the hares, and the Hares said : " Oh ! we
heard it from that little Hare."
And the Lion said: "Little Hare, what
made you say that the Earth was falling
And the little Hare said : " I saw it."
" You saw it ? " said the Lion. " Where '. "
" Yonder, by that tree."
"Well," said the Lion, "come with me
and I will show you how "
" No, no," said the Hare, " I would not
go near that tree for anything, I'm so
" But," said the Lion, k * I am going to
take you on my back." And he took her
on his back, and begged the animals to stay
6 BUDDHA (TO BE) AS LION
where they were until they returned. Then
lie showed the little Hare how the fruit had
fallen upon the leal*, making the noise that
had frightened her, and she said : " Yes, I
see the Earth is not falling in. And the
Lion said: "Shall we go hack and tell the
other animals?" And they went baek. The
little Hare stood before the animals and
said : " The Earth is not falling in." And
all the animals began to repeat this to one
another, and they dispersed gradually, and
you heard the words more and more softly :
"The Earth is not falling in," etc., etc.,
etc., until the sound died away altogether.
Note. â€” This story I have told in my own words,
using the language I have found most effective for
very young children.
THE PUNISHMENT OF HYPOCRISY
THE BUDDHA (TO BE) AS ONE OF THE
GODS : ILLUSTRATING
THE PUNISHMENT OF HYPOCRISY
On one occasion four divine beings made
their appearance on the Earth to attend a
festival of the Gods.
And they bore in their hands wreaths of
the strangest flowers that had ever been seen,
and those around asked : " What are these
flowers?" And the Gods made answer and
said : " These divine flowers are fit for those
possessed of great powers: for the base, the
foolish, the faithless, the sinful beings within
the world of men, they are not fitted. But,
whosoever amongst men is endued with
certain virtues â€” to them is due the honour
of wearing these flowers.
10 Bri)I)IIA (TO BE) AS one of the gods
"He who steals no thing from another,
Who uttereth no lie.
Who doth not lose his head at the
height of Fame â€”
Me may wear the flowers.
Now there was a certain false Teacher or
Priest who thought to himself: " I do not
possess one of these qualities, but, by appear-
ing to possess them, I shall obtain permission
to wear the wreaths, and the people will
believe that I really am what I appear to be,
and they will place their confidence in me."
Then, with exceeding boldness, he came
to the first of the Gods and exclaimed
with great solemnity : " Behold, / am en-
dowed with these qualities of which you
" I have stolen from no man, never have
I uttered a lie, nor has fame ever caused me
to be proud or haughty."
And when he had uttered these words,
the wreath was placed upon his brow. And,
emboldened by his success, he came with the
same pride and confidence into the presence of
the second God, and asked that the second
wreath should be bestowed upon him.
THE PUNISHMENT OF HYPOCRISY 11
And the God said :
" He who earns wealth honestly, and
shuns dishonest means,
Who takes but sparingly of the Cup of
To him shall be awarded this second
And the false Priest bowed his head and
said : " Behold all that I have earned is
honestly gotten, and all pleasure have 1
shunned. Give me the wreath ! "
And the wreath was placed upon his
Then, with boldness increased by his
success, he approached the third God, and
asked that the third wreath should encircle
And the God said :
" He who scorns choice food,
Who never turneth from his purpose.
Who keepeth his faith unchanged,
To him shall be given the wreath."
And the false Priest said : " I have ever
lived on the simplest fare. I have been ever
steadfast of purpose, and loyal in my faith.
Therefore give me the wreath."
12 BUDDHA (TO BE) AS ONE OF THE GODS
And the third wreath was bestowed upon
Then did the pride of the false Priest
know no bounds, and he went hastily to the
fourth God and demanded the fourth wreath.
And the God said :
" He who will attack no good man to
his face or behind his back,
And who keeps his word in all things,
To him belongs this wreath."
Then the false Priest cried out in a loud
voice : " I have attacked no man, good or
evil, and never have I broken my word to
The God looked at him sadly, but he placed
the wreath upon his brow, and the four divine
beings disappeared from the sight of man.
Hut no sooner had they left the earth than
the Priest felt a violent pain. His head
seemed to be crushed by spikes, and. writhing
in agony, he made full confession and begged
that the flowers should be removed from his
head ; but though all pitied his condition,
none could remove the flowers, for they
seemed to be fastened on with an iron band.
And he called aloud to the Gods, saying :
THE PUNISHMENT OF HYPOCRISY 1:5
" O ye great powers, forgive my pride and
spare my life ! " And they answered : " These
flowers are not meet for the wicked. Yon
have received the reward of your false words."
Then, having rebuked him in the presence of
the people, they removed the flowers from
the head of the repentant man and returned
to the abode of the Blest.
STATE NORMAL SCHOOL
THE TRUE SPIRIT OF A
THE BUDDHA (TO BE) AS HARE : ILLUSTRATING
THE TRUE SPIRIT OF A FESTIVAL DAY
And it came to pass that the Buddha was
born a Hare and lived in a wood ; on one
side was the foot of a mountain, on another
a river, on the third side a border village.
And with him lived three friends : a Monkey,
a Jackal, and an Otter ; each of these creatures
got food on his own hunting ground. In the
evening they met together, and the Hare
taught his companions many wise things :
that the moral law should be observed â€” that
alms should be given to the poor, and that
holy days should be kept.
One day the Buddha said : " To-morrow is
a fast day. Feed any beggars that come to
you by giving food from your own table/'
They all consented.
The next day the Otter went down to the
bank of the Ganges to seek his prey. Now
18 THE BUDDHA (TO BE) AS HARE
a fisherman had landed seven red fish and had
buried them in the sand on the river's bank
while lie went down the stream catching
more fish. The Otter scented the buried fish,
dug up the sand till he came upon them,
and he called aloud: "Does any one own
these fish?" And, not seeing the owner,
he laid the fish in the jungle where he dwelt,
intending to eat them at a fitting time. Then
he lay down, thinking how virtuous he was.
The Jackal also went off* in search of food,
and found in the hut of a field watcher a
lizard, two spits, and a pot of milk-curd.
And. after thrice crying aloud, " To whom
do these belong ? " and not finding an owner,
he put on his neck the rope for lifting the
pot, and grasping the spits and lizard with
his teeth, he laid them in his own lair, think-
ing, " In due season I will devour them."' and
then he lay down, thinking how virtuous he
The Monkey entered the clump of trees,
and gathering a bunch of mangoes, laid them
up in his part of the jungle, meaning to eat
them in due season. He then lay down and
thought how virtuous lie had been.
THE TRUE SPIRIT OF A FESTIVAL DAY 19
But the Hare (who was the Buddha-to-be)
in due time came out thinking to lie (in
contemplation) on the Kuea grass. "It is
impossible for me to offer grass to any beggars
who may chance to come by, and I have no
oil or rice or fish. If any beggar come to
me, I will give him (of) my own flesh to
Now when Sakka, the King of the Gods,
heard this thing, lie determined to put the
Royal Hare to the test. So he came in dis-
guise of a Brahmin to the Otter and said :
" Wise Sir, if I could get something to eat,
I would perform (ill my priestly duties.*'
The Otter said: "I will give you food.
Seven red fish have I safely brought to land
from the sacred river of the Ganges. Eat
thy fill, O Brahmin, and stay in this wood."
And the Brahmin said : " Let it be until
to-morrow, and I will see to it then."
Then he went to the Jackal, who confessed
that he had stolen the food, but he begged
the Brahmin to accept it and remain in the
wood: but the Brahmin said: "Let it be
until the morrow, and then I will see to it."
And he came to the Monkey, who offered
20 THE BUDDHA (TO BE) AS HARE
him the mangoes, and the Brahmin answered
in the same way.
Then the Brahmin went to the wise Hare,
and the Hare said : " Behold, I will give you
of my flesh to eat. Hut you must not take
life on this holy day. When you have piled
up the logs I will sacrifiee myself by falling
into the midst of the flames, and when my
body is roasted you shall eat my flesh and
perform all your priestly duties."
Now when Sakka heard these words he
caused a heap of burning coals to appear,
and the Wisdom Being, rising from the grass,
came to the place, but before casting himself
into the flames he shook himself, lest per-
chance there should be any insects in his coat
who might suffer death. Then, offering his
body as a free gift, he sprang up, and like a
royal swan, lighting on a bed of lotus in an
ecstasy of joy. he fell on the heap of live coals.
But the flame failed even to heat the pores or
the hair on the body of the Wisdom Being,
and it was as if lie had entered a region of
frost. Then he addressed the Brahmin in
these words : " Brahmin, the fire that you
have kindled is icy cold: it fails to heat the
THE TRUE SPIRIT OF A FESTIVAL DAY 21
pores of the hair on my body. What is the
meaning of this ? "
" O most wise Hare ! I am Sakka, and
have come to put your virtue to the test."
And the Buddha in a sweet voice said :
" No god or man could find in me an un-
willingness to die."
Then Sakka said : " O wise Hare, be thy
virtue known to all the ages to come."
And seizing the mountain he squeezed out
the juice and daubed on the moon the signs
of the young hare.
Then he placed him back on the grass that
he might continue his Sabbath meditation, and
returned to Heaven.
And the four creatures lived together and
kept the moral law.
THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP
THE BUDDHA (TO BE) AS OSPREY :
THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP
There lived once, on the shores of a natural
lake, a Hawk on the south shore, a She-Hawk
on the west shore, on the north a Lion, the
king of beasts, on the east the Osprey, the
king of birds, in the middle a Tortoise on a
Now the Hawk asked the She-Hawk to
become his wife. She asked him : " Have
you any friends ? " " Xo, madam," he replied.
" But," she said, " we must have some friends
who can defend us against any danger or
trouble that may arise. Therefore I beg of
you to find some friends." " But," said the
Hawk, " with whom shall I make friends ? "
" Why, with King Osprey, who lives on the
26 THE BUDDHA (TO BE) AS OSPREY
eastern shore, with King Lion on the north,
and with the Tortoise who lives in the middle
of the lake/'
And he took her advice. And all these
creatures formed a hond of friendship, and
promised to protect each other in time of