Friday, June 21, 2013

Jataka: The Oxen and the Pig

There were once two oxen who worked on a farm. The oxen were brothers, one older and one younger. The older brother was named Big Ox and the younger brother was named Little Ox.

There was also a pig who lived on the farm, and the farmer was fattening up the pig for the feast that would he would serve at his daughter's wedding. In order to make the pig grow fat, the farmer gave the pig all the best food to eat. To the oxen, however, he gave only straw and grass.

Little Ox did not like this situation at all. "Brother," he said to Big Ox, "I do not understand. We work hard all day, and the farmer would never be able to manage this farm without us. Yet he feeds us only straw and grass while the pig, who does no work of any kind, gets to eat all the very best food!"

Big Ox was more wise in the ways of the world than his younger brother and explained, "That pig is eating the food of death! The farmer is making the pig fat and then he will slaughter the pig for meat. Be content that you are valuable to the farmer for the work that you do! You should eat your straw and grass happily, rejoicing in the long life you will live."

Sure enough, things happened just as Big Ox said they would. The day of the wedding feast arrived, on which occasion the pig was killed, cooked, and eaten.

Little Ox sighed and said to his brother, "I now see you were right! I will eat my straw and grass contentedly, remembering always the fate of that poor pig!"

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