Ja 44 The Story about the Mosquito

In the present some foolish villagers the Buddha came across on his walking tour, aiming to clear the clouds of mosquitos manage to shoot themselves instead. The Buddha tells of a previous life in which a son, aiming to save his father from a mosquito, had, through his recklessness, killed him with an axe instead (full story).

1. Seyyo amitto matiyā upeto
Na tveva mitto mativippahīno,
‘Makasaṁ vadhissan’-ti hi eḷamūgo
Putto pitū abbhidā uttamaṅgan-ti.

Better is a foe endowed with wisdom than a friend who is lacking in wisdom, thinking: ‘I will kill a mosquito,’ the foolish son split his father’s head open. Lit: supreme limb = head.

In this connection, better means distinguished, supreme.

Foolish means a fool who dribbles at the mouth.

The ... son split his father’s head open, through his own foolishness the son, thinking: “I will give a blow to the mosquito,” split his father’s head, his crown, in two. Therefore a wise enemy is better than a foolish friend.