FOLK-TALES OF INDIA. 329
drink too much (for fear he wouldn't get enough), saying, "Drink
in moderation of the water in the ocean, drink sparingly." The
sea-sprite, on witnessing this, spake the following gdthd : —
" Now pray who is this I see hopping about, Restraining the fish that swim in these waves ? He fears that the sea salt water will lack, It grieves him full sore to see so much waste."
The water-crow, on hearing this, made answer in the following gdtlid : —
"I'm a famous fine bird, eternally sipping, But greedy I am and never get sated, The sea, were I able, to the dregs I'd be drinking, And leave ne'er a drop to the lord of the rivers.'*
On hearing this the sea-sprite gave utterance to the following gdtM : —
" The sea ebbs and flows but never gets less, Though all the world drink not a drop would it miss ; The ocean is deep, exhaustless its streams. Unable are any its waters to drain."
When he had thus spoken he appeared as an object of fearful shape, and put the sea-crow to flight.
The Kapota Jataka.*
The greedy Crow.
Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta reigned at Benares, the Bodhisat was reborn amongst the pigeon-kind. At that time the inhabitants of Benares, desirous of acquiring religious merit by doing good deeds, suspended in various places straw-baskets as snug (nest-) abodes for birds. The cook of a wealthy citizen in Benares caused one of these baskets to be hung up in his kitchen, and in it the Bodhisat lived. It was his (the pigeon's) custom to go out early in the morning in search of food, to return in the evening, and spend the rest of his time in the nest-basket.
♦ Jataka Booh, vol. i. No. 42, p. 241.