"The golden heap, methinks."--This the Master told while at Jetavana, about a monk living under Sariputta.
He, they say, was meek, and mild of speech, and served the Elder with great devotion. Now on one occasion the Elder had taken leave of the Master, started on a tour, and gone to the mountain country in the south of Magadha. When they had arrived there, the monk became proud, followed no longer the word of the Elder; and when he was asked to do a thing, would even become angry with the Elder.
The Elder could not understand what it all meant. "When his tour was over, he returned again to Jetavana; and from the moment he arrived at the monastery, the monk became as before. This the Elder told the Master, saying,--
"Lord! there is a mendicant in my division of the Order, who in one place is like a slave bought for a hundred, and in another becomes proud, and refuses with anger to do what he is asked."
Then the Teacher said, "Not only now, Sariputta, has the monk behaved like that; in a former birth also, when in one place he was like a slave bought for a hundred, and in another was angrily independent."
And at the Elder's request he told the story.
"Long ago, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisattva came to life again as a landowner. He had a friend, also a landowner, who was old himself, but whose wife was young. She had a son by him; and he said to himself,--
"'As this woman is young, she will, after my death, be taking some husband to herself, and squandering the money I have saved. What, now, if I were to make away with the money under the earth?'
"And he took a slave in the house named Nanda, went into the forest, buried the treasure in a certain spot of which he informed the slave, and instructed him, saying, 'My good Nanda! when I am gone, do you let my son know where the treasure is; and be careful the wood is not sold!'
"Very soon after he died; and in due course his son became of age. And his mother said to him, 'My dear! your father took Nanda the slave with him, and buried his money. You should have it brought back, and put the family estates into order.'
"And one day he accordingly said to Nanda, 'Uncle! is there any money which my father buried?'
"'Yes, Sir!' said he.
"'Where is it buried?'
"'In the forest, Sir.'
"'Then come along there.' And taking a spade and a bag, he went to the place whereabouts the treasure was, and said, 'Now, uncle, where is the money?'
"But when Nanda had got up on to the spot above the treasure, he became so proud of it, that he abused his young master roundly, saying, 'You servant! You son of a slave-girl! Where, then, did you get treasure from here?'
"The young master made as though he had not heard the abuse; and simply saying, 'Come along, then,' took him back again. But two or three days after he went to the spot again; when Nanda, however, abused him as before.
"The young man gave him no harsh word in reply, but turned back, saying to himself,--
"'This slave goes to the place fully intending to point out the treasure; but as soon as he gets there, he begins to be insolent. I don't understand the reason of this. But there's that squire, my father's friend. I'll ask him about it, and find out what it is.'
"So he went to the Bodhisattva, told him the whole matter, and asked him the reason of it.
"Then said the Bodhisattva, 'On the very spot, my young friend, where Nanda stands when he is insolent, there must your father's treasure be. So as soon as Nanda begins to abuse you, you should answer, "Come now, slave, who is it you're talking too?" drag him down, take the spade, dig into that spot, take out the treasure, and then make the slave lift it up and carry it home!' And so saying he uttered this verse--
"'The golden heap, methinks, the jeweled gold,
"Then the young squire took leave of the Bodhisattva, went home, took Nanda with him to the place where the treasure was, acted exactly as he had been told, brought back the treasure, put the family estates into order; and following the exhortations of the Bodhisattva, gave gifts, and did other good works, and at the end of his life passed away according to his deeds."
When the Teacher had finished this discourse, showing how formerly also he had behaved the same, he established the connection, and summed up the Jataka, "At that time Ananda was the monk under Sariputta, but the wise squire was I myself."