Ja 288 The Story about a String of Fish

In the present one merchant tries to cheat his partner out of the proceeds of their joint partnership. When the Buddha hears of it he tells a story of how one brother tried to cheat another, and how a Devatā helped the first regain his fortune, which had been swallowed by a fish.

1. Agghanti macchā adhikaṁ sahassaṁ,
Na atthi so Cst reads: Na so atthi, spoiling the metre. yo imaṁ saddaheyya!
Mayhañ-ca assu idha satta māsā,
Aham-pi taṁ macchuddānaṁ kiṇeyyan-ti.

Fish valued in excess of a thousand, there is no person who would believe it! To me they were just seven farthings Māsā here is m.c. for māsakā, a bean, or very small amount of money. Compare the English hill of beans, having roughly the same meaning. here, I could even buy a whole string of fish.

In this connection, in excess means when asking others, the fishermen say: “The value is one thousand, and seven farthings in excess.”

There is no person who would believe it! There is no person who, not knowing this fact from witnessing it himself, would believe my word, or would value fish at so much, there is no one who would believe it, therefore they did not accept it from others, this is the meaning.

To me they were means but to me they were seven farthings.

String of fish means a series of fish, other fish were bound together with that fish as one this is said in reference to this whole string of fish.

Could buy means bought, This is interesting as it defines the optative by an aorist, perhaps thinking the optative is only used m.c. having given seven farthings, I took so much of a series of fish, this is the meaning.

2. Macchānaṁ bhojanaṁ datvā, mama dakkhiṇam-ādisi,
Taṁ dakkhiṇaṁ sarantiyā, kataṁ apacitiṁ tayā ti.

Having given food to the fish, to me you gave an offering, through remembering this offering, that respect was paid by you.

In this connection, offering, transferring merits in this place is known as an offering.

Through remembering this offering, that respect was paid by you, through remembering that respect paid by you to me, this your wealth is protected by me, this is the meaning.

3. Paduṭṭhacittassa na phāti hoti,
Na cāpi taṁ Devatā pūjayanti,
Yo bhātaraṁ pettikaṁ sāpateyyaṁ
Avañcayī dukkaṭakammakārī ti.

There is no growth for one corrupt at heart, also Devatās do not respect him, he who cheats his brother of paternal property is one who performs wrong deeds.

In this connection, there is no growth, for such a person in this world or in the next world there is certainly no development.

Also Devatās do not respect him, the Devatās who are protecting his property do not respect that person.