"'Tis not the heat, 'tis not the cold"--This the Master told when at Jetavana, about being tempted back by one's former wife.
For on that occasion the Master asked the monk, "Is it true, then, that you are love-sick?"
"It is true, Lord!" was the reply.
"What has made you sad?"
"Sweet is the touch of the hand. Lord! of her who was formerly my wife. I cannot forsake her!"
Then the Master said, "O Brother! this woman does you harm. In a former birth also you were just being killed through her when I came up and saved you." And he told a tale.
"Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisattva became his private chaplain.
"At that time certain fishermen were casting their nets into the river. Now a big fish came swimming along playing lustily with his wife. She still in front of him smelt the smell of a net, and made a circuit, and escaped it. But the greedy amorous fish went right into the mouth of the net.
"When the fishermen felt his coming in they pulled up the net, seized the fish, and threw it alive on the sand, and began to prepare a fire and a spit, intending to cook and eat it.
"Then the fish lamented, saying to himself;
"'The heat of the fire would not hurt me, nor the torture of the spit, nor any other pain of that sort; but that my wife should sorrow over me, thinking I must have deserted her for another, that is indeed a dire affliction!'
"And he uttered this stanza--
"''Tis not the heat, 'tis not the cold,
"Now just then the chaplain came down, attended by his slaves, to bathe at the ford. And he understood the language of all animals. So on hearing the fish's lament, he thought to himself:
"'This fish is lamenting the lament of sin. Should he die in this unhealthy state of mind, he will assuredly be reborn in hell. I will save him.'
"And he went to the fishermen, and said--
"'My good men! don't you furnish a fish for us every day for our curry?'
"'What is this you are saying, sir?' answered the fishermen. 'Take away any fish you like!'
"'We want no other: only give us this one.'
"'Take it, then, sir.'
"The Bodhisattva took it up in his hands, seated himself at the river-side, and said to it, 'My good fish! Had I not caught sight of you this day, you would have lost your life. Now henceforth sin no more!'
"And so exhorting it, he threw it into the water, and returned to the city."
When the Teacher had finished this discourse, he proclaimed the Truths. At the end of the Truths the depressed monk was established in the fruit of conversion. Then the Teacher made the connection, and summed up the Jataka: "She who at that time was the female fish was the former wife, the fish was the depressed monk, but the chaplain was I myself."