"Twin pair of birds,"--This story the Master dwelling at Jetavana told concerning a greedy Brother. He was, it was said, greedy after the Buddhist requisites and casting off all duties of master and pastor, entered Savatthi quite early, and after drinking excellent rice-gruel served with many a kind of solid food in the house of Visakha, and after eating in the daytime various dainties, paddy, meat and boiled rice, not satisfied with this he goes about thence to the house of Culla-Anatha Pindika, and the king of Kosala, and various others. So one day a discussion was raised in the Hall of Truth concerning his greediness. When the Master heard what they were discussing, he sent for that Brother and asked him if it were true that he was greedy. And when he said "Yes," the Master asked, "Why, Brother, are you greedy? Formerly too through your greediness, not being satisfied with the dead bodies of elephants, you left Benares and wandering about on the bank of the Ganges, entered the Himalaya country." And hereupon he told a story of the past.
"Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, a greedy crow went about eating the bodies of dead elephants, and not satisfied with them he thought, 'I will eat the fat of fish on the bank of the Ganges,' and after staying a few days there eating dead fish he went into the Himalaya and lived on various kinds of wild fruits. Coming to a large lotus-tank abounding in fish and turtles, he saw there two golden-colored geese who lived on the sevala plant. He thought, 'These birds are very beautiful and well-favored: their food must be delightful. I will ask them what it is, and by eating the same I too shall become golden-colored.' So he went to them, and after the usual kindly greetings to them as they sat perched on the end of a bough, he spoke the first stanza in connection with their praises:
"'Twin pair of birds in yellow dressed,
"The ruddy goose on hearing this spoke the second stanza:
"'O bird, of human kind the pest,
"Hearing this the crow spoke the third stanza:
"'What fruits upon the sea abound,
"Then the ruddy goose spoke the fourth stanza:
"'No fruits are on the sea to eat,
"Then the crow spoke two stanzas:
"'I like not, goose, the words you use:
"'But now I doubt it, for I eat
"Then the ruddy goose told the reason why the crow failed to attain to personal beauty, while he himself attained to it, and spoke the remaining stanzas:
"'Not satisfied with fruit, or garbage found
"'But all that thus shall work their wicked will,
"'So happy beings that no creatures harm
"Thus did the ruddy goose in many ways reproach the crow. And the crow having brought this reproach upon himself said, 'I want not your beauty.' And with a cry of 'Caw, Caw,' he flew away."
The Master, his lesson ended, revealed the Truths and identified the Birth:--At the conclusion of the Truths the greedy Brother attained to fruition of the Second Path:--"In those days the crow was the greedy Brother, the she-goose was the mother of Rahula, the he-goose myself."