49.



In times past there dwelt in a cave the Vindhya mountains a wise boar, who was none other than the Buddha in a previous state of existence, and with him his friend a monkey. He was compassionate towards all living beings. One day there came to his cave a lion and a lioness and their cub. And the lion said to his mate: "Since the rains have hindered the movements of all living beings, we shall of a certainty perish for lack of some animal to eat." And the lioness said: "Of a certainty one or another of us is destined to die of hunger. Therefore do you and the cub eat me, for thus you will save your lives! Are you not my lord and master? Can you not get another mate like me? Therefore do you and the cub eat me, for thus you will save your lives!"

Now at that moment the wise boar awoke, and hearing the words of the lioness, was delighted, and thought to himself: "This is the fruit of the merit which I have acquired in previous states of existence. I will satisfy the hunger of my friends with my own body and blood." Then the wise boar arose from his bed and went out of his cave and said to the lion: "My good friend, do not despair. For here I am, ready to be eaten by you and your mate and your cub. Eat me, lion!" Now when the lion heard these words, he was delighted, and said to his mate: "Let our cub eat first; then I will eat, and you shall eat after me." The lioness agreed.

So first the cub ate some of the flesh of the wise boar, and then the lion began to eat. And while he was eating, the wise boar said to him: "Be quick and drink my blood before it sinks into the ground, and satisfy your hunger with my flesh, and let your mate eat what is left." So the lion gradually devoured the flesh until only the bones were left. But--wonderful to relate!--the wise boar did not die, for his life remained in him, as if to see how long his endurance would endure. In the meantime the lioness died of hunger in the cave, and the lion went off somewhere or other with his cub, and so the night came to an end.

Then the monkey awoke and went out of the cave, and seeing the wise boar reduced to a heap of bones, became greatly excited and exclaimed: "What reduced you to a heap of bones? Tell me, O friend, if you can." So the wise boar told him the whole story. Then the monkey did reverence to the wise boar, and said to him: "Tell me what you wish me to do, and I will do it." The wise boar replied: "I wish only to have my body restored to me like as it was before, and to have the lioness that died of hunger restored to life again, that she may satisfy her hunger with my body and blood." Thereupon, as the fruit of the merit which the wise boar had acquired, he was transformed into a sage, and the monkey into a sage likewise.