Ja 205 The Story about the Ganges (Fish)

In the present two young monks are unsure which one of them is the most handsome, so they ask an old monk, who declares he is more handsome than they are. The Buddha tells a story of two fish who similarly asked a tortoise to decide which of them was more handsome, only for him to declare that he was the most handsome of all!

1. Sobhati maccho Gaṅgeyyo, atho sobhati Yāmuno,
Catuppadoyaṁ puriso, nigrodhaparimaṇḍalo,
Īsakāyata gīvo ca, sabbeva atirocatī ti.

The Ganges’ fish are lovely, and lovely those of the Yamuna, Yamunā is a feminine noun, as all rivers normally are, but here it is declined like it was Yamuna, masculine, maybe for concinnity. this four-footed individual, well-proportioned like a banyan, with a neck like a carriage pole, is more lovely than all of them.

In this connection, individual, he says this in regard to himself.

Well-proportioned like a banyan means well-proportioned like a well-grown banyan tree.

With a neck like a carriage pole means with a long neck like a carriage pole.

Is more lovely than all of them, thus endowed with the appearance of a tortoise he is more lovely than all of them, having surpassed you all, I am the most lovely, this is what is said.

2. Yaṁ pucchito na taṁ akkhāsi, aññaṁ akkhāsi pucchito,
Attappasaṁsako poso, nāyaṁ asmāka’ ruccatī ti.

Questioned he does not make answer, or questioned he answers other, that person does praise himself, but our delight is not in this.

In this connection, that person does praise himself, that person has a character of praising himself, elevating himself.

Our delight is not in this, our delight, our pleasure, in not in this wicked tortoise. Having thrown water on the tortoise, they went to their own places.