Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 3 1885.djvu/75
FOLK-TALES OF INDIA. 67
The Mahasuka Jataka.* The grateful Parrot.
In former days there lived in the region of the Himavat, in an Udumbara wood, on the bank of the Ganges, more than a hundred thousand parrots. In that place a parrot-king, when the fruits of the tree in which he dwelt came to an end, ate buds, leaves, bark or chips, and drank the water of the Ganges. Being extremely con- tented and satisfied he did not go elsewhere (in search of better fare). By reason of the merit and efficiency of his contented and satisfied condition, the abode of Indra was shaken. On considering the matter he discovered the cause, and, in order to put the parrot-king to the proof, he caused by his marvellous power that tree to wither away. It became a mere leafless stock riddled all over with holes, and it swayed to and fro as the wind blew against it. From the holes and crevices there came out a dry powder, which the parrot-king ate, and he drank of the water of the Ganges, and went not elsewhere, but sat on the top of the Udumbara stock, taking no heed of the wind and glare of the sun.
When Indra became aware of the parrot's extreme contentment he thought to himself, " I'll hear (from him) the value of his friendship, and having given him a boon I'll come and make an Udumbara-tree • bearing immortal fruit."
Taking the form of a flamingo-king," with Suja, his mate, in front
of him, he went to that Udumbara wood and sat on the branch of a
tree not far off the parrot, and by way of beginning the conversation
he spake the following gdtha : —
" When coverM with leaves the birds find a tree, It's shelter they seek, and eat the ripe fruit ; But when it is dead and its fruit is all gone, They leave their old home and fly far away."
And when he had thus spoken he uttered the following gdtha in
order to send him away from that tree : —
" Thou bird with red beak, dwell not in this tree, But go on thy way fresh shelter to find.
- Jataka Bonk, vol. iii. No. 429, p. 490.